BROOKELAND, Texas – Gary Caruso of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, weighed four bass totaling 19 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Cowboy Division tournament of 2015 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. For his victory, Caruso earned $5,273.
“I just picked up a new boat, I had my girlfriend with me at the tournament and I got the win,” said Caruso. “I can’t think of a better weekend.”
Caruso caught nearly 20 pounds of fish by heading south to a cove and targeting two shallow spawning flats with a creek channel running between them. He said he knew the fish would be active in the grass and Cypress trees that flourish there.
“I got into about three feet of water and started working down the bank and caught a 4-pounder on my fourth cast of the day,” said Caruso.
After a lull in the bite, Caruso explored deeper water near the flat using a Rayburn Red-colored Rat-L-Trap to feel out the grass and hydrilla. When he found a suitable patch, he switched to a black and red flake-colored Mister Twister Flip ‘n OUT and said that he had more success.
Caruso eventually moved to the edge of the spawning flat and caught a 9-pound monster around 11:30 a.m. Although he wasn’t able to catch a limit, Caruso caught a fourth fish late in the day that turned out to be the difference maker.
“I caught a 4-pound fish within the last fifteen minutes of the tournament and that’s the one that put me over the top,” said Caruso. “It was amazing.”
The top 10 boaters:
1st: Gary Caruso, Baton Rouge, La., four bass, 19-6, $5,273
2nd: Rusty Grantham, Benton, La., five bass, 17-5, $2,636
3rd: Stephen Johnston, Hemphill, Texas, four bass, 16-15, $1,756
4th: Dicky Newberry, Houston, Texas, five bass, 16-8, $1,230
5th: Shane Williams, Keithville, La., five bass, 13-12, $1,011
5th : Bryan Trahan, Orange, Texas, three bass, 13-12, $1,011
7th: Corey Harris, Chatham, La., four bass, 13-8, $879
8th: Michael Freck, Sam Rayburn, Texas, five bass, 13-7, $747
8th: TJ Goodwyn, Center, Texas, four bass, 13-7, $747
10th: Rusty Harvey, Nederland, Texas, five bass, 13-3, $615
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com .
Trahan caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $830.
West wins co-angler division
The top 10 co-anglers:
1st: Jared West, Mont Belvieu, Texas, four bass, 21-6, $2,636
2nd: John Semken, Shreveport, La., three bass, 16-4, $1,318
3rd: Matthew Derr, Tyler, Texas, four bass, 12-15, $879
4th: Doug Odom, Huntsville, Texas, five bass, 12-7, $615
5th: Joe Marino, Bryan, Texas, five bass , 11-9, $527
6th: Chad Poulsen, Bossier City, La., four bass, 11-0, $483
7th: Tony Irby, Mont Belvieu, Texas, four bass, 10-11, $439
8th: Michael Conaway , Magnolia, Texas, five bass, 10-10, $395
9th: Cody Canerday, Welsh, La., five bass, 10-9, $352
10th: Kevin Carter, Spring, Texas, five bass, 10-8, $308
Semken caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $415.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 22-24 Regional Championship on Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 120 tournaments throughout the season, five in each division. The top 50 boaters and co-anglers from each division qualify for a regional tournament and compete to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Walmart BFL All-American. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the Rayovac FLW Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.