Hunter Sales of Blaine, Tennessee, caught five bass Saturday weighing 14 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Volunteer Division event on Lake Cherokee. Sales earned $3,455 for his efforts.
“At blast off I made a 15 minute run in my Nitro to the lower end of the lake, near the dam, and started the day on smallmouth,” says Sales, an FLW College Fishing angler who was fishing in his first career BFL tournament. “I caught probably 30 to 40 smallmouth in that first hour on a blue and chartreuse-colored Keitech 2.8 swimbait. I had around 12 pounds by 10 a.m., so I left and spent the rest of the day looking for big largemouth.
“I ended up catching around 15 largemouth, and brought a limit in consisting of two smallmouth and three largemouth,” Sales continues. “I was fishing in the backs of any pocket that I could find on the lake with a swim jig and a Big Bite Baits paddletail swimbait trailer, skipping it underneath overhangs and docks.”
Although Sales weighed in just two smallmouth, he credited the brown fish as being the key to his victory.
“The key for me was really that limit of smallmouth early,” Sales went on to say. “It helped to settle me down and allowed me to fish shallow the rest of the day, just searching for those big bites. It took the pressure off and I was able to fish relaxed.”
The top 10 boaters:
1st: Hunter Sales, Blaine, Tenn., five bass, 14-12, $3,455
2nd: John Napier, Middlesboro, Ky., five bass, 14-4, $1,728
3rd: Bill Humbard, New Market, Tenn., five bass, 13-13, $1,084
4th: Jason Sosebee, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 13-2, $705
4th: Jonathan Bowling, Harriman, Tenn., five bass, 13-2, $955
6th: Griffin Heffington, Dayton, Ga., five bass, 13-0, $597
7th: Corey Neece, Bristol, Tenn., five bass, 12-14, $543
8th: Derrick Blake, Rockwood, Tenn., five bass, 12-11, $788
9th: Colton Bryan, Sevierville, Tenn., five bass, 12-8, $434
10th: Nick Huff, Bean Station, Tenn., five bass, 12-4, $380
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Kevin Edwards of Knoxville, Tennessee, caught a 4-pound, 7-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $400.
Harris wins co-angler title
Brandon Harris of Spring City, Tennessee, won the Co-angler Division and $1,895 Saturday after catching four bass weighing 11 pounds, 11 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Brandon Harris, Spring City, Tenn., four bass, 11-11, $1,895
2nd: Bill King, Greenback, Tenn., five bass, 11-3, $717
2nd: Alex Perez, Chattanooga, Tenn., five bass, 11-3, $817
4th: David Shreve, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 11-0, $347
4th: Bobby Smith, Asheville, N.C., five bass, 11-0, $347
6th: Brandon Garrison, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 10-1, $294
7th: Don Bible, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 9-12, $267
8th: Chris Frazier, Gate City, Va., four bass, 9-7, $240
9th: Samuel Smith, Girdler, Ky., four bass, 8-13, $214
10th: Larry Brumett Jr., Bristol, Va., three bass, 7-12, $287
Harris also caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 3 pounds, 14 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $192.
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. 3-5 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Hartwell in Walhalla, South Carolina. 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.