Brad Benfield of Cornelia, Georgia, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River Division tournament on Lake Hartwell with a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 15 ounces. For his day on the water, Benfield took home $2,977.
Benfield says he sight-fished for bass on the lower end of the lake near the dam on the Georgia side. He targeted main-lake pockets, and had about 20 different pockets at his disposal.
“The fish were kind of behind the grass that had been on the bank before the lake had come up – I think its dogfennel grass – in 2 feet or less of water,” says Benfield, who grabbed his first win in FLW competition. “I probably caught eight keepers. It was slow until midday, but when it warmed about 1:30 [p.m.] until weigh-in is when I caught most of them.”
Benfield used two different baits – a 5-inch, Texas-rigged Pumpkin Chartreuse-colored Zoom Lizard with a ¼-ounce tungsten sinker weight and a 3/8-ounce, green-pumpkin-colored 706 Fishing Lures shaky head with a Watermelon Candy-colored Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw.
“I just flipped to the beds to get them agitated,” says Benfield. “All the fish I weighed were largemouth. I did catch a couple spotted bass, but culled those out.”
The top 10 boaters:
1st: Brad Benfield, Cornelia, Ga., five bass, 14-15, $2,977
2nd: Derrick Bridges, Greenville, S.C., five bass, 14-7, $1,489
3rd: Carl Zoellner, Highlands, N.C., five bass, 13-10, $992
4th: Sean Skey, Sumter, S.C., five bass, 13-8, $895
5th: Randy Childers, Anderson, S.C., five bass, 13-2, $845
6th: Jeremy Strong, Elberton, Ga., five bass, 12-15, $846
7th: Justin Raines, Easley, S.C., five bass, 12-14, $596
8th: Joe Eubanks, Marietta, Ga., five bass, 12-5, $447
9th: Baylor Ronemus, Clarkesville, Ga., five bass, 12-2, $397
10th: Justin Singleton, Milledgeville, Ga., five bass, 11-15, $347
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Michael Molenaar of Grovetown, Georgia, caught a 4-pound, 15-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $340.
Waldon wins co-angler title
Stephen Waldon of Ellenwood, Georgia, won the Co-angler Division and $1,839 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 15 pounds, 1 ounce.
The top 10 co-anglers:
1st: Stephen Waldon, Ellenwood, Ga., five bass 15-1, $1,839
2nd: Corey Bryson, Mount Airy, Ga., five bass, 13-6, $744
3rd: Roger Coggins, Greenville, S.C., five bass, 11-7, $497
4th: Keith Horton, Anderson, S.C., four bass, 10-2, $347
5th: Eric Cerny, Cumming, Ga., five bass, 10-0, $298
6th: Bill Hawkins, Piedmont, S.C., five bass, 9-13, $323
7th: Keith Lewis, Franklin, N.C., five bass, 9-11, $235
7th: Tucker Souther, Brevard, N.C., five bass, 9-11, $235
9th: Mark Johnson, Martinez, Ga., five bass, 9-9, $198
10th: Nathan McClure, Hiawassee, Ga., five bass, 9-8, $174
Mario Hill of Thomson, Georgia, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 5 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $170.
The tournament 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. 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.