MORRISTOWN, Tenn. – Jason Bridwell of Gray, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Volunteer Division tournament of 2015 on Cherokee Lake. For his victory, Bridwell earned $5,127.
“It feels good to grab a check,” said Bridwell. “There are a lot of solid anglers around here so when I can finish strong it feels great.”
Due to recent cold-weather fronts and sporadic warm-ups around Cherokee Lake, Bridwell sought out the warmest water possible in order to find the largemouth bite. He settled into the Three Springs area where the water was hovering around 50 degrees and used an orange Rapala Shad Rap and a Brownback Chartreuse-colored Bandit 200 Series crankbait to catch his first two keepers.
“I also fished the midsection down by the berry farm area,” Bridwell said. “I worked between there and Three Springs creek in 90 minute intervals.”
Bridwell said he caught seven of his nine keepers between noon and 3 p.m.
“I was fishing shallow depths, from 0 to 4 feet of water,” Bridwell said. “The smaller Shad Rap did its job well.”
Bridwell said his immediate goals are to now qualify for the Volunteer Division Regional tournament.
“Of course, I’d like to win another one of these Saturday tournaments, but fishing the regional event would awesome.”
The top 10 boaters:
1st: Jason Bridwell, Gray, Tenn., five bass, 17-7, $4,127 + Mercury Bonus: $1,000
2nd: Jack Faulkner II, Jacksboro, Tenn., five bass, 15-14, $2,064
3rd: Brad Burkhart, Speedwell, Tenn., five bass, 14-6, $1,377
4th: Ken Vicchio, Bluff City, Tenn., five bass, 12-8, $963
5th: Joey Ridings, Pennington Gap, Va., five bass, 12-5, $825
6th: Tee Watkins, East Point, Ky., five bass, 12-4, $757
7th: J.R. Adkins, Rogersville, Tenn., five bass, 11-6, $688
8th: Bryan Leonard, Blountville, Tenn., five bass, 10-8, $619
9th: Brandon Brock, Mayking, Ky., five bass, 10-1, $550
10th: Bill Humbard, New Market, Tenn., four bass, 9-13, $482
Complete results can be found here.
Burkhart caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $575.
Hughes wins co-angler title
The top 10 co-anglers:
1st: Joshua Hughes, Piney Flats, Tenn., five bass, 14-7, $2,064
2nd: Jeff Burrell, Greeneville, Tenn., four bass, 11-7, $1,032
3rd: Brandon Harris, Spring City, Tenn., three bass, 11-3, $688
4th: Rocky Morris, Strawberry Plains, Tenn., four bass, 9-1, $482
5th: Daniel Baldwin, Harrogate, Tenn., three bass, 9-0, $413
6th: Brandon Taylor, Greeneville, Tenn., three bass, 8-6, $378
7th: John Gillespie, Princeton, W.Va., three bass, 7-11, $344
8th: Jason Forsgren, Morgantown, Ky., three bass, 7-10, $310
9th: Matt Brown, Harriman, Tenn., three bass, 6-11, $275
10th: Matt Hall , Woodlawn, Va., three bass, 6-7, $241
Harris caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $287
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 15-17 Regional Championship on Lake Wateree in Camden, South Carolina. 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.