Corey Neece of Bristol, Tennessee, and Bill Humbard of New Market, Tennessee, each weighed a five-bass limit Saturday totaling 15 pounds, 12 ounces to tie for the win at the 2018 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Volunteer Division event on Cherokee Lake. Each angler took home $2,665, while Humbard also earned an additional $1,000 in contingency prize bonuses.
Both winning anglers say that they fished the lower end of the lake, targeting and rotating through humps and points near the dam. Both estimated that they caught around 30 keepers and both weighed in limits consisting entirely of smallmouth.
“I was fishing with a swimbait and a finesse worm,” Humbard says. “They really wanted a slower presentation. My co-angler would grab the net for me and let his swimbait just lay on the bottom. When he picked it up, there was a few times that he had a fish on it.”
Humbard’s swimbait was a blue and chartreuse-colored Keitech Swing Impact FAT 2.8, fished on a ¼ ounce swimbait head. His finesse worm was a watermelon red-colored Zoom Finesse worm, rigged on a 1/8-ounce Buckeye Lures Spot Remover jig. He estimated that he caught half of his fish on each bait.
“I think the key for me was the bottom – the smallmouth were really relating to the pea gravel,” Neece says. “I had four places that I just rotated through all day long and every time I would come back through more fish had pulled up.”
Neece said his bait of choice was a 5-inch Carolina-rigged green-pumpkin Zoom Lizard.
The top 10 boaters:
1st: Bill Humbard, New Market, Tenn., five bass, 15-12, $3,665
1st: Corey Neece, Bristol, Tenn., five bass, 15-12, $2,665
3rd: Kyle Smith, Elizabethton, Tenn., five bass, 15-2, $1,185
4th: Tate Rice, Newport, Tenn., five bass, 14-10, $1,284
5th: Tyler Duckworth, Gray, Tenn., five bass, 14-3, $711
6th: Jeremy Gordon, Rutledge, Tenn., five bass, 14-0, $851
7th: J.R. Henard, Rogersville, Tenn., five bass, 13-8, $592
8th: Hermilo Salgado, Artemus, Ky., five bass, 13-7, $633
9th: Lukas Phillips, Athens, Tenn., five bass, 12-10, $474
10th: Matt Brown, Corbin, Ky., five bass, 12-9, $415
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Rice caught a bass weighing 5 pounds, 3 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $455.
Johnson wins co-angler title
Dustin Johnson of Elizabethton, Tennessee, won the Co-angler Division and $2,004 Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 14 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers:
1st: Dustin Johnson, Elizabethton, Tenn., five bass, 14-14, $2,004
2nd: Jason Bridwell, Kingsport, Tenn., five bass, 13-3, $1,088
3rd: David Blakely, Kingsport, Tenn., five bass, 13-0, $642
4th: Brandon Harris, Spring City, Tenn., four bass, 12-12, $415
5th: Mark Dillard, Bluff City, Tenn., five bass, 12-6, $355
6th: Greg Ray, Bandy, Va., five bass, 12-0, $311
6th: Lester Botts, Blountville, Tenn., five bass, 12-0, $311
8th: Dennis Lewis, Powell, Tenn., five bass, 11-15, $267
9th: Bradley Watts, Afton, Tenn., five bass, 11-14, $237
10th: Darren Miller, Bristol, Tenn., five bass, 11-13, $207
Johnson also caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a 4-pound, 1-ounce fish that earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $227.
The T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Volunteer Division event at Lake Cherokee was hosted by the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce.
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. 18-20 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Norman in Huntersville, North Carolina. 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.