Michael Harlin of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, caught five bass Saturday weighing 24 pounds, 9 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake of the Ozarks. Harlin pocketed $4,463 for his win in the event and 250 points in the Ozark Division presented by Bassing Bob standings. The winner of the division’s Angler of the Year title after five tournaments will win $3,000.
“I basically fished from the dam to the mouth of the Gravois arm,” says Harlin, who earned his first career win in FLW competition. “I had spent my practice mainly idling around and graphing, looking for schools that were off the beaten path. I had found five or six good spots that had fish on them and weren’t getting pressured, and Saturday they were there.
“I had around 15 keepers and was pretty much done fishing by 10:30 (a.m.),” Harlin continues. “I was throwing back 3-pounders like they were nothing. I lost a couple of big ones, too. I’m very confident I could have weighed in 26 pounds if everything had stayed buttoned up.”
Harlin says that all of his fish came on a chartreuse and powder blue-colored Strike King 6XD crankbait.
“The key was really my electronics and throwing a specific line,” Harlin adds. “I wasn’t fishing around spots – I was making exact casts and bringing my crankbait right through the school. I was catching them every single cast.”
The top 10 boaters:
1st: Michael Harlin, Sunrise Beach, Mo., five bass, 24-9, $4,463
2nd: Brad Jelinek, Deepwater, Mo., five bass, 21-3, $2,232
3rd: Austin Lowrey, Webb City, Mo., five bass, 20-15, $1,489
4th: Kirk Smith, Edmond, Okla., five bass, 20-13, $1,041
5th: Rick Johnston, Webb City, Mo., five bass, 20-4, $893
6th: Chuck Austin, Saint Peters, Mo., five bass, 19-14, $818
6th: Mike Roller, Purdy, Mo., five bass, 19-9, $944
8th: Larry Stoafer, Leavenworth, Kan., five bass, 19-8, $1,019
9th: Brett Govreau, House Springs, Mo., five bass, 18-15, $595
10th: Rob Bueltmann, Osage Beach, Mo., five bass, 18-10, $473
10th: Cory Steckler, Rocky Mount, Mo., five bass, 18-10, $473
10th: Mark Wiese, High Ridge, Mo., five bass, 18-10, $473
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Raymond Bates of Lake Quivira, Kansas, caught a 6-pound, 10-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $640.
McKnight wins co-angler title
Kevin McKnight of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, won the Co-angler Division and $2,232 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 19 pounds, 8 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers:
1st: Kevin McKnight, Sunrise Beach, Mo., five bass, 19-8, $2,232
2nd: Andrew Messina, Valley Park, Mo., five bass, 17-8, $1,116
3rd: Anthony Johnson, Excelsior Springs, Mo., five bass, 16-14, $743
4th: Matthew Hargarten, Bolivar, Mo., five bass, 16-10, $841
5th: Dillon Saffle, Ballwin, Mo., five bass, 16-9, $446
6th: Dennis Young, Olathe, Kan., five bass, 16-6, $659
7th: Ralph Laney, Rogersville, Mo., five bass, 16-0, $372
8th: Bruce Lyford, Liberty, Mo., five bass, 15-15, $366
9th: Dewey Lewis, Asbury, Mo., five bass, 15-15, $316
10th: Michael Fey Sr., Cuba, Mo., five bass, 15-8, $260
Hargarten caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 6 pounds, 10 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $320.
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. 24-26 BFL Regional Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma. 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.