Mitch Crane of Columbus, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mississippi Division tournament of 2016 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Crane took home $5,582.
“I started my day targeting bass in a pocket right off of the main channel in the Pearl River,” says Crane, who took top honors in his first-ever FLW event. “I caught three keepers along a point within 30 minutes using a white Z-Man ChatterBait rigged with a Gambler Little EZ Swimbait.”
Crane says that a key to his pattern was dialing in on bedding fish.
“Around noon, I went to a bedding area where a couple of canals came off of an old channel swing,” says Crane. “I flipped a Blueberry-colored Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw and caught two bass – a 4- and 5-pounder – that were settled in clear water. After I got them in the boat I was feeling pretty confident.”
Crane went on to say that the competition likely overlooked bedding fish due to colder water temperatures.
“The water temperature was only around 58 degrees, but I went looking for the big bedding fish and they were there,” says Crane. “They ended up sealing the deal.”
The top 10 boaters:
1st: Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., five bass, 19-1, $5,582
2nd: Teddy Cranford, Seminary, Miss., five bass, 16-15, $2,791
3rd: Matt Allen, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 15-2, $1,861
4th: Rick Mcklemurry, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 14-12, $1,302
5th: Bradley Burns, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 14-6, $1,116
6th: Jeffery Davis, Steens, Miss., four bass, 14-0, $1,023
7th: Kevin Daigle, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 13-15, $930
8th: Joel Barber, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 13-14, $837
9th: Justin Leet, Bartlett, Tenn., five bass, 13-13, $744
10th: Dalton Laster, Morton, Miss., four bass, 13-10, $618
10th: Michael Savell, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 13-10, $618
Complete results can be found here.
Philip Atkins of Columbus, Mississippi, caught a fish weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces – the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $895.
Willins wins co-angler title
Mark Willins of Bartlett, Tennessee, weighed in five bass totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to earn $2,791 and win the co-angler division.
The top 10 co-anglers:
1st: Mark Willins, Bartlett, Tenn., five bass, 19-11, $2,791
2nd: Mike Allen, Crystal Springs, Miss., five bass, 15-1, $1,395
3rd: Jesse Steadham, Florence, Miss., five bass 14-15, $931
4th: Noel Allen Jr., Brandon, Miss., five bass, 14-3, $651
5th: Glen Mire, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 13-9, $558
6th: Richard Hitt, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 13-3, $512
7th: Hunter Ketteringham, Philadelphia, Miss., three bass, 11-12, $465
8th: Frank Parker, McHenry, Miss., three bass, 11-8, $419
9th: Marian Hall, Hattiesburg, Miss., five bass, 11-5, $372
10th: Todd Fowlkes, Collierville, Tenn., five bass, 10-7, $326
James Brauer caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 6 pounds, 15 ounces and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $447.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 27-29 Regional Championship on Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Arkansas. 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.