Bradley Smith of Saint Jacob, Illinois, took home the win at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament on Lake Shelbyville Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 23 pounds, 7 ounces. For his win, Smith pocketed $7,310.
“I took off each morning with one rod on the deck,” says Smith, who notched his first win as a boater in BFL competition. “I was pitching to shallow wood, mid-lake. I fished a 3-mile section, anywhere from 2 to 10 feet of water. The first day was sunny, with no wind. The second day we had clouds and rain. I was pretty worried the wood pattern wouldn’t hold up but it ended up working out.”
“The fish were in transition from summer to fall patterns – the bites were hard to come by,” says Smith. “It was sporadic each day. I was able to get a lot in practice that I ended up shaking off. Fortunately, a lot of those fish bit during the tournament.”
Smith caught five keepers Saturday and seven on Sunday.
“The best anglers in Illinois compete in this division, so to get a win – especially at a two-day event – was pretty special for me.”
The top 10 boaters:
1st: Bradley Smith, Saint Jacob, Ill., 10 bass, 23-7, $5,310 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Daniel Nussmeyer, Cisne, Ill., eight bass, 22-15, $2,155
3rd: Andrew Harper, Shelbyville, Ill., 10 bass, 20-5, $1,669
4th: Jeremy Mull, Pawnee, Ill., nine bass, 19-2, $1,209
5th: John Wright, Windsor, Ill., eight bass, 18-12, $822
6th: Garrett McDowell, Mattoon, Ill., nine bass, 17-4, $754
7th: Bobby McMullin, Pevely, Mo., eight bass, 16-15, $685
8th: Travis Wilson, La Harpe, Ill., four bass, 14-2, $1,059
9th: James Williams, Neoga, Ill., seven bass, 12-8, $548
10th: Chad Diedrich, Nashville, Ill., seven bass, 12-2, $480
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Wilson caught a bass weighing 4 pounds, 10 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $442.
Murphy wins co-angler title
Ryan Murphy of Paris, Illinois, won the Co-angler Division and $2,055 Sunday after catching a two-day total of seven bass weighing 21 pounds, 15 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers:
1st: Ryan Murphy, Paris, Ill., seven bass , 21-15, $2,055
2nd: Dave Dobill, Royalton, Ill., eight bass, 14-10, $1,028
3rd: Aaron Arning, Walnut Hill, Ill., six bass, 11-13, $884
4th: Drew Coleman, Jackson, Mo., four bass, 9-14, $480
5th: Ryan Fancher, Olney, Ill., five bass, 8-15, $461
6th: Mike Swetland, Tamaroa, Ill., three bass, 7-9, $527
7th: Eugene Kim, Lindenhurst, Ill., three bass, 6-4, $343
8th: Dillon Saffle, Ballwin, Mo., two bass, 6-3, $308
9th: Jeff Kirby, Philo, Ill., two bass, 4-15, $274
10th: Ross Davis, St. Elmo, Ill., one bass, 4-13, $461
Davis caught the heaviest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 13 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $221.
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.