Benfield Looks at 'Em on Hartwell - Major League Fishing

Benfield Looks at ‘Em on Hartwell

Waldon wins co-angler title
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Brad Benfield
April 8, 2019 • MLF • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

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

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.


Co-angler Stephen Waldon

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.