Casey Martin of New Hope, Alabama, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division tournament on Lake Guntersville Sunday with a two-day cumulative catch of 10 bass weighing 36 pounds, 5 ounces. Martin earned $8,174 for his win.
Martin says he spent his weekend fishing the Goose Pond area of Lake Guntersville.
“I fished mid- to upper-lake, just junk-fishing,” says Martin, who earned his seventh career win – third on Lake Guntersville – in FLW competition. “I caught a couple of fish deep with a swimbait at a depression on a shell bed, and a couple schooling with a topwater bait. For the schooling fish I sat in 7 to 8 feet of water and threw into 3 to 5 feet. You could see the grass right under the surface.”
Martin says he used a 99 problems-colored True Bass Perfect Head Swimbait rigged on a ¾-ounce Picasso Smart Mouth Jig Head out deep, and a sexy shad-colored Bill Lewis StutterStep and a green-pumpkin-colored Z-Man ChatterBait with a Z-Man Razor ShadZ trailer for a one-two punch up shallow. He logged about nine keepers total Saturday.
“I’d run the StutterStep and then the ChatterBait after to get ones that wouldn’t commit to the StutterStep,” says Martin.
On Sunday, strong winds forced Martin to switch patterns. He opted to flip main-lake grass mats with a Z-Man Palmetto BugZ rigged with a 1½-ounce Picasso tungsten weight and ended up catching around eight keepers.
“The key for me was knowing how to adjust to the conditions,” says Martin. “Having confidence in my areas was important as well. It can be tough out there this time of year.”
Top 10 boaters
1st: Casey Martin, New Hope, Ala., 10 bass, 36-5, $6,174 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., 10 bass, 34-3, $3,137
3rd: Jason Grape, Attalla, Ala., 10 bass, 31-9, $2,057
4th: Casey O'Donnell, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 31-4, $1,371
5th: Alex Davis, Albertville, Ala., 10 bass, 31-3, $1,175
6th: Paul Tidwell, Horton, Ala., 10 bass, 29-4, $1,077
7th: Laker Howell, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 28-12, $979
8th: Derek Remitz, Grant, Ala., eight bass, 27-14, $881
9th: Bryan Dowdy, Florence, Ala., 10 bass, 27-14, $783
10th: Jake Gipson, Birmingham, Ala., 10 bass, 27-8, $685
Douglas Webster of Pinson, Alabama, caught a bass weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division. The catch earned him the Boater Big Bass award of $780.
Hill takes co-angler title
Randy Hill of Athens, Alabama, caught a two-day total of eight bass weighing 23 pounds, 1 ounce, to win the Co-angler Division and $3,080.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Randy Hill, Athens, Ala., eight bass, 23-1, $3,080
2nd: Alex Pruitt, Bessemer, Ala., eight bass, 22-13, $1,440
3rd: Ron Montgomery, Rome, Ga., six bass, 17-4, $1,012
4th: Colby Hester, Russellville, Ala., five bass, 16-12, $672
5th: Marcus Corbett, Anniston, Ala., five bass, 15-12, $576
6th: Paul Clayton, Cohutta, Ga., six bass, 15-4, $528
7th: Cameron Gatlin, Chattanooga, Tenn., seven bass, 14-15, $480
8th: Tony Hill, Chatsworth, Ga., seven bass, 14-12, $432
9th: Steven Jacques, Addison, Ala., five bass, 12-9, $384
10th: Chris Smith, Resaca, Ga., five bass, 11-11, $336
David Marr of Cleveland, Tennessee, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a fish weighing 5 pounds, 12 ounces – and earned the Co-angler Big Bass award of $382.
The 2018 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division finale on Lake Guntersville was hosted by the Marshall County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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 Chickamauga in Dayton, Tennessee. 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.