Austin Weaver of Sheffield, Alabama, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 5 ounces, Saturday to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mississippi Division event on Pickwick Lake presented by Navionics. Weaver took home $5,197 for his victory.
“We had a nearly two-hour fog delay that almost messed everything up for me,” says Weaver, who earned his first career victory in FLW competition. “I had an area up river that was a long run – 78 miles round trip. I knew that it was going to take me an hour and a half to get up there and back, so with the added fog delay I was only going to have 3 to 4 hours of fishing time.
“I have a lot of trust in my Triton boat and Mercury outboard and I knew that getting there and back in time wasn’t going to be the gamble, but whether or not the fish were still there,” Weaver says. “I had found this spot last weekend and my best five weighed more than 26 pounds. I didn’t want anyone else to find it, so I didn’t practice all week because I didn’t want anyone to see me there. I knew that if they were still there and biting, I would win. They were.”
Weaver described his area as a big flat that had a ditch running through it. On top of the flat it was 5 to 6 feet deep, but it dropped to 8 to 9 feet in the ditch. Weaver says that he focused on the ditch and caught his winning limit with a green-pumpkin-colored Johnson Lures shaky-head rig with both a Zoom Trick Worm and a Zoom Finesse Worm.
“I put seven keepers in the boat,” Weaver says. “It was fun to do well on my home lake.”
Top 10 boaters
1st: Austin Weaver, Sheffield, Ala., five bass, 20-5, $5,197
2nd: James Byrd, Florence, Ala., five bass, 19-1, $2,598
3rd: Heath Gilmore, Meridian, Miss., five bass, 17-12, $1,933
4th: Christopher Whitehead, Tupelo, Miss., five bass, 15-11, $1,313
5th: Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., five bass, 14-7, $1,039
6th: Teddy Cranford, Seminary, Miss., five bass, 14-3, $953
7th: John Bailey, Terry, Miss., five bass, 13-14, $866
8th: Brandon Perkins, Counce, Tenn., five bass, 13-9, $780
9th: Chris Quaintance, Muscle Shoals, Ala., five bass, 13-8, $693
10th: Jade Keeton, Florence, Ala., five bass, 13-3, $606
Jason Hannah of Forest, Mississippi, caught a 7-pound, 12-ounce bass, which was the heaviest of the tournament in the Boater Division. The catch earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $810.
Wray wins on the co-angler side
Marty Wray of New Albany, Mississippi, weighed in five bass totaling 14 pounds, 1 ounce Saturday to win the Co-angler Division and the top prize of $2,528.
Top 10 co-anglers
1st: Marty Wray, New Albany, Miss., five bass, 14-1, $2,528
2nd: Daniel Corkern, Florence, Miss., five bass, 13-12, $1,264
3rd: Weston Smedley, Birmingham, Ala., five bass, 12-14, $845
4th: Ryan Lecompte, Picayune, Miss., four bass, 12-10, $1,180
5th: Curtis Powell, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 12-3, $506
6th: Jeff Carter, Pontotoc, Miss., four bass, 11-14, $464
7th: Benny Brown, Corinth, Miss., five bass, 11-11, $471
8th: Brian Dodd, Florence, Ala., five bass, 11-10, $379
9th: Jason Mitchell, Hamilton, Miss., five bass, 11-8, $337
10th: Daniel Stover, Hernando, Miss., five bass, 11-5, $295
Lecompte weighed a 5-pound, 6-ounce bass which earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award and $390.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 19-21 BFL Regional Championship on the Red River in Bossier City, Louisiana. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.
The 2017 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.