Justin Tingen of Moore, South Carolina, fishing in his first ever tournament with FLW, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River Division tournament on Lake Hartwell Sunday with a two-day cumulative catch of 10 bass weighing 23 pounds, 14 ounces. For his win, Tingen earned $4,465.
“Fishing in my first ever BFL event and getting a win – the joke now is that I’m going to retire undefeated,” says Tingen, a 28-year old who grew up fishing on Lake Hartwell. “I had a great time, though, and I can’t wait to fish another one. I didn’t catch a whole lot of fish – just 8 or 9 keepers a day – but they were the right size.”
Tingen says he started his day Saturday with a 25-mile run up the Seneca River, catching a few fish early on a Shooter Lures buzzbait with a Zoom Horny Toad before working his way back down towards the Tugaloo River to finish his limit. Sunday, he started his day fishing the mid-lake area with a Roboworm Straight Tail Worm on a drop-shot rig before working his way back up the Tugaloo.
“The key for me was covering a lot of water,” Tingen says. “I burned ¾ of a tank of gas both days.”
Top 10 boaters
1st: Justin Tingen, Moore, S.C., 10 bass, 23-14, $4,465
2nd: Chris Nelson, Social Circle, Ga., 10 bass, 22-2, $2,233
3rd: Matthew Justice, Fair Play, S.C., 10 bass, 21-11, $1,688
4th: Tra Dumit, Greenville, S.C., 10 bass, 21-2, $1,142
5th: Thomas Guthke, Anderson, S.C., 10 bass, 19-3, $893
6th: Derek Freeman, Anderson, S.C., 10 bass, 19-2, $819
7th: Brad Benfield, Cornelia, Ga., 10 bass, 18-14, $744
8th: William Fordree, Six Mile, S.C., 10 bass, 18-0, $670
9th: Michael Mengeling, Cumming, Ga., 10 bass, 16-11, $595
10th: Carl Zoellner, Highlands, N.C., eight bass, 15-8, $1,031
Zoellner caught a bass weighing 5 pounds, 13 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division. The catch earned him the Boater Big Bass award of $510.
Watson tops co-anglers
Tim Watson of Martin, Georgia, caught a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 16 pounds even to win the Co-angler Division and $2,333.
Top 10 co-anglers
1st: Tim Watson, Martin, Ga., 10 bass, 16-0, $2,333
2nd: Stephen Burress, Mills River, N.C., 10 bass, 14-8, $1,421
3rd: Michael Smith, Piedmont, S.C., 10 bass, 13-0, $744
4th: Jeremy Winn, Seneca, S.C., eight bass, 11-7, $521
5th: Peter Adames, Statesboro, Ga., seven bass, 11-2, $447
6th: Brandon Lawson, Union, S.C., four bass, 10-5, $409
7th: Bobby Smith, Asheville, N.C., six bass, 9-10, $372
8th: Matt Redd, Belton, S.C., eight bass, 9-7, $335
9th: Bobby Wade, Gaffney, S.C., five bass, 8-14, $298
10th: Thomas Morris, Walhalla, S.C., seven bass, 8-12, $260
Burress caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a fish weighing 4 pounds, 2 ounces – and earned the Co-angler Big Bass award of $255.
The 2018 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River Division finale on Lake Hartwell was hosted by Tugaloo State Park.
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. 11-13 BFL Regional Championship on the St. Johns River in Palatka, Florida. 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.