GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – Ryan Salzman of Huntsville, Alabama, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 31 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Choo Choo Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Guntersville. For his victory, Salzman earned $4,948.
“I feel blessed,” said Salzman. “I never fish my two best spots during a tournament but I did on Saturday because I figured I’d need all the weight I can get.”
In order to catch his winning stringer, Salzman said he focused on mid-lake shell beds and stumps.
“Ten minutes into the day I caught a 7-pound fish,” said Salzman. “About 15 minutes later I netted another 7-pounder and from there we went to work.
“Around 9 a.m. I went to another spot and fired up a school and got them eating. At that point my co-angler and I were both doing well,” said Salzman.
The Alabama angler said he caught the majority of his fish on a R2-D2-colored True Bass Little Head 4.5 swimbait in 8 to 10 feet of water.
“Around 2 p.m. I stopped at a spot I found in practice and culled out a 4½-pounder with a 6-pounder,” Salzman said. “I knew then that I had a chance at a top-three finish.”
Salzman said he caught around 20 fish during the tournament.
“I was nervous about weigh-in because I knew someone else would be catching 30 pounds. The big ones were biting,” Salzman said. “I don’t think I would’ve won if I hadn’t culled at that final spot.”
The top 10 boaters:
1st: Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., five bass, 31-15, $4,948
2nd: Benjie Allen, Scottsboro, Ala., five bass, 31-6, $2,474
3rd: Wayne Boyd, Rome, Ga., five bass, 22-3, $1,649
4th: David Allen, Florence, Ala., five bass, 21-7, $1,155
5th: Shane Moss, Jasper, Tenn., five bass, 21-5, $990
6th: Freddy Palmer, Estill Springs, Tenn., five bass, 21-0, $907
7th: Josh Butler, Huntsville, Ala., five bass, 20-12, $783
7th: Wayne Christopher, Huntsville, Ala., five bass, 20-12, $783
9th: Tyler Kiker, Alexandria, Ala., five bass, 20-9, $660
10th: Brian Horton, Fort Payne, Ala., five bass, 18-13, $548
10th: Cole Wade, Scottsboro, Ala., five bass, 18-13, $548
Complete results can be found here.
Allen caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division, a fish weighing 7 pounds, 15 ounces and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $755.
Miller wins co-angler title
The top 10 co-anglers:
1st: Randy Miller, Huntsville, Ala., five bass, 17-15, $2,474
2nd: Marcus Corbett, Heflin, Ala., five bass, 17-3, $1,237
3rd: Daniel McGhee, Cumming, Ga., five bass, 16-13, $824
4th: Wesley Smith, Vinemont, Ala., five bass, 16-5, $577
5th: Craig Pletcher, Ringgold, Ga., five bass, 15-13, $495
6th: Devereaux Adams, Powder Springs, Ga., five bass, 15-12, $454
7th: Allan Garner, Estill Springs, Tenn., five bass, 15-9, $391
7th: Jerry Nydam, Arab, Ala., five bass, 15-9, $391
9th: Jody Evans, Toney, Ala., five bass, 15-7, $330
10th: Devin O'Dell, Trenton, Ga., five bass, 15-5, $289
Garner caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $377.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 22-24 Regional Championship on Neely Henry Lake in Gadsden, Alabama. 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.