Barry Stokes of Covington, Georgia, caught five bass Saturday weighing 21 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament on Lake Oconee presented by Navionics. Stokes pocketed $6,385 for his efforts.
“I decided to go into the tournament with an open mind and follow the first bite," says Stokes, who earned his first career win in FLW competition. “My co-angler caught a 3½-pounder deep on a seawall. From that, I started learning what I needed to do. I picked up my jig and started flipping and within 30 minutes I got my first bite – also a 3½-pounder. I figured out that I needed to work the rocks where shallow and deep water met.”
Stokes says most of his fish were caught in 3- to 4-feet-of-water, mid-lake, around the Highway 44 bridge. He caught nine keepers during the tournament with a ¼- and 3/8-ounce, black and blue-colored Underground Tackle jig. He paired each with different colored trailers depending on water clarity – green-pumpkin for clearer water and black and blue for stained.
“I caught some around seawalls that had wood adjacent to them, and some around docks,” said Stokes. “I also caught one on a [Carolina-rigged, green-pumpkin-colored] Zoom Lizard, about seven feet down, around pea gravel and rock mix – that was my deepest.”
The top 10 boaters:
1st: Barry Stokes, Covington, Ga., five bass, 21-11, $4,385 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Frank Kitchens III, Oxford, Ga., five bass, 19-7, $2,393
3rd: Ben Brisbois, Gainesville, Ga., five bass, 16-2, $1,463
4th: Lee Nunnally, Social Circle, Ga., five bass, 15-2, $1,123
5th: Kip Carter, Mansfield, Ga., five bass, 14-14, $1,127
6th: Girard Jones, Macon, Ga., five bass, 14-9, $1,424
7th: Dylan Peppers, Good Hope, Ga., five bass, 14-5, $731
8th: Terry Adams, Mansfield, Ga., five bass, 13-9, $658
9th: Bill Burns, Fernandina Beach, Fla., five bass, 13-0, $585
10th: Mike Cleveland, Monticello, Ga., five bass, 12-12, $512
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Jones caught a 6-pound, 1-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $620.
Bennett wins co-angler title
Wesley Bennett of Monroe, Georgia, won the Co-angler Division and $2,193 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers:
1st: Wesley Bennett, Monroe, Ga., five bass, 11-4, $2,193
2nd: Conery Williams, Macon, Ga., four bass, 10-5, $1,096
3rd: Hector Vasquez, Columbus, Ga., two bass, 9-14, $1,140
4th: Mike Thornton, Jonesboro, Ga., four bass, 9-12, $562
5th: Justin Kimmel, Athens, Ga., five bass, 9-1, $439
6th: Wendell Grantham, Athens, Ga., four bass, 8-15, $383
6th: Kiwanas Andrews, Atlanta, Ga., three bass, 8-15, $383
8th: Kenneth Flowers, Snellville, Ga., five bass, 8-14, $329
9th: Don Griffin, Roswell, Ga., three bass, 8-5, $274
9th: Keith Lynch, Griffin, Ga., three bass, 8-5, $274
Vasquez caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 8 pounds, 1 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $310.
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. 10-12 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Georgia. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard.