Hunter Mills of Mayfield, Kentucky, and Don Beckley of Paducah, Kentucky, each brought five bass weighing 21 pounds, 12 ounces, to the scale Saturday to tie for the win at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) LBL Division tournament on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For their limits, Mills earned $5,462 after contingency bonuses, while Beckley took home $3,462.
“I fished north of Jonathan Creek on the east side of the main-river channel,” says Beckley, who notched his first career-win in BFL competition. “I sat in 25 to 30 feet of water, which is a lot deeper than most people go. When I got to my area, I stayed there all day because there was a lot of wind and boat traffic.”
Beckley was able to catch 12 to 15 keepers throughout the tournament.
“I stayed south of the sweet spot about 50 yards, and every hour I’d ease in there and catch a 4-pounder,” says Beckley. “It was important that I let the fish rest. I used a ¾-ounce football-head jig with a green pumpkin-colored (Strike King Rage Craw) trailer and dragged it as slow as I possibly could.”
“I did a lot of cranking, mostly in 25 to 27 feet of water,” said Mills, a current FLW College Fishing Murray State University angler who also earned his first career-win on the BFL circuit. “The Tennessee Valley Authority was pulling water which created a lot of current and that was a big factor for the crankbait bite.”
Mills says he spent his morning on the north side of Eggner’s Ferry Bridge, and after 9:30 a.m. he moved south. He fished around eight areas throughout the event, and used a Profound Outdoors Randy Haynes’ Azuma Z Boss 25 crankbait to catch his fish.
“Some of the bass were on top of the ledges, and some were hanging right off of the lip,” says Mills. “There was a north wind that impacted how I fished. Normally the wind is from the south and I have to face it and cast into it, but on Saturday, I had to reposition the boat a few times because they would only bite the bait if it was coming from a certain direction.”
The top 10 boaters:
1st: Hunter Mills, Mayfield, Ky., five bass, 21-12, $3,462 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
1st: Don Beckley, Paducah, Ky., five bass, 21-12, $3,462
3rd: Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, five bass, 21-11, $1,551
4th: Brent Anderson, Kingston Springs, Tenn., five bass, 21-5, $942
4th: Stuart Eversole, Middletown, Ohio, five bass, 21-5, $942
6th: Jordan Hartman, Murray, Ky., five bass, 20-12, $798
7th: David Young, Mayfield, Ky., five bass, 20-6, $725
8th: Tommy Williams, Shepherdsville, Ky., five bass, 19-4, $653
9th: Thomas O'Bryant, Cedar Grove, Tenn., five bass, 17-11, $515
9th: Sam White, Gilbertsville, Ky., five bass, 17-11, $515
9th: Keith Amerson, Bethel Springs, Tenn., five bass, 17-11, $515
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Rob Vannerson of Benton, Kentucky, caught a fish weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $615.
Basham wins co-angler title
Dan Basham of Taylorsville, Kentucky, won the Co-angler Division and $2,375 Saturday after weighing five bass totaling 18 pounds, 2 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers:
1st: Dan Basham, Taylorsville, Ky., five bass, 18-2, $2,375
2nd: Bryce Morrison, Collierville, Tenn., five bass, 17-12, $1,138
3rd: Mike Beasley, Cookeville, Tenn., five bass, 17-2, $726
4th: Taylor Genz, Indian Mound, Tenn., five bass, 16-8, $507
5th: Benton Peoples, Bardstown, Ky., five bass, 16-3, $742
6th: Craig Middleton, Harrodsburg, Ky., five bass, 15-8, $399
7th: Jake Steinkuhl, Evansville, Ind., five bass, 15-6, $363
8th: Scott Sims, Morgantown, Ind., five bass, 15-3, $326
9th: Dean Dearwester, Cincinnati, Ohio, four bass, 14-2, $290
10th: Colby Shaver, Owensboro, Ky., five bass, 13-8, $254
Peoples caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a fish weighing 5 pounds, 10 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $307.
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. 12-14 BFL Regional Championship on the Barren River in Scottsville, Kentucky. 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.