Boater Mark Johnson of Weleetka, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 18 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the 2018 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Okie Division event at Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,349.
“I spent my tournament fishing on the lower end of the lake, near the dam,” says Johnson, a former FLW College Fishing angler who earned his first career win in BFL competition. “At my first spot, I fished for an hour and a half but only caught one 2-pounder. I moved to my second area and within 30 minutes I had my tournament weight.”
Johnson said that he fished rock piles where the post-spawn fish were setting up, in 15- to 20-feet of water. He credited an unnamed green-pumpkin-colored football jig with a Zoom Brush Hog and a Carolina-rigged green-pumpkin Brush Hog as his key baits.
“I caught around 20 keepers, but the fish were post-spawn and not looking so good,” Johnson says. “I felt that if I kept them in my livewell much longer I would lose them. So, I decided to end my tournament around 11:30 and weigh what I had in order to keep my fish alive and avoid any penalties.
“That decision to weigh-in early ended up winning me the tournament,” Johnson continued. “If I would have waited, one or two may have been deceased and I would have gotten a dead-fish penalty, which would have cost me the win. My BassCat and Mercury were crucial to making the long run back to weigh-in and keeping my fish alive.”
Top 10 boaters
1st: Mark Johnson, Weleetka, Okla., five bass, 18-6, $5,349
2nd: Justin Phillips, Checotah, Okla., five bass, 17-15, $2,675
3rd: David Ryan, Levasy, Mo., five bass, 17-12, $1,982
4th: Chris Jones, Pocola, Okla., five bass, 17-5, $1,348
5th: Joe Erwin, Cleora, Okla., five bass, 17-0, $1,070
6th: Nick Kincaid, Coweta, Okla., five bass, 16-3, $981
7th: Thomas Canady, Collinsville, Okla., five bass, 15-14, $892
8th: George Simonof, Jacksonville, Ark., five bass, 15-13, $802
9th: Sawyer Grace, Russellville, Ark., five bass, 15-10, $668
9th: Cade Alsbury, Gentry, Ark., five bass, 15-10, $668
Josh Poirop of Canadian, Oklahoma, caught a bass weighing 5 pounds, 7 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – to earn the Boater’s Big Bass award of $850.
Weir tops co-anglers
Patrick Weir of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, won the Co-angler Division Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 5 ounces. Johnson earned $2,675 for his victory.
Top 10 co-anglers
1st: Patrick Weir, Broken Arrow, Okla., five bass, 15-5, $2,675
2nd: Daniel Cowett, Porum, Okla., five bass, 14-13, $1,337
3rd: Fred Fielder, Vian, Okla., five bass, 13-13, $891
4th: Bill Black, McAlester, Okla., five bass, 13-11, $624
5th: Garret Colwell, Pryor, Okla., five bass, 13-8, $735
6th: Zach VanKeulen, Jenks, Okla., five bass, 13-2, $490
7th: Matthew Hargarten, Bolivar, Mo., five bass, 12-15, $496
8th: Mike Silagi, Tulsa, Okla., five bass, 12-9, $401
9th: Nathan McCartney, Claremore, Okla., five bass, 12-7, $357
10th: Scott Parsons, Rogers, Ark., five bass, 12-5, $312
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. 25-27 BFL Regional Championship on Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. 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.