Murray Wins on Watts Bar - Major League Fishing

Murray Wins on Watts Bar

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John Murray Angler: John Murray.
Crooke wins co-angler title in Volunteer Division Super Tournament
September 16, 2019 • MLF • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

John Murray of Spring City, Tennessee, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 28 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Volunteer Division super-tournament on Watts Bar Lake Sunday. Murray earned $7,334 for his efforts.

“I fished in the lower end of the lake, main-lake near the dam,” says Murray, a West Coast fishing legend who has accumulated more than $1.2 million dollars in career earnings as a professional angler. “I felt pretty good about this tournament, because I had a good shallow-water pattern and also a couple of deep areas for when the weather cleared up and got sunny.

“Saturday was awesome – I think I caught around 15 to 20 keepers,” Murray continues. “Both my co-angler and I had great days – he ended up winning as well. Sunday was tough, though. I only boated five keepers, and my co-angler only boated two. Luckily, it was enough for us to both get the wins.”

Murray says that of the 10 fish that he weighed in, seven – including his big ones – came from his shallow-water pattern while three came from out deep. Murray threw a Z-Man ChatterBait Jack Hammer with a clear-sparkle-colored shad-shaped fluke-type bait while fishing shallow and drop-shotted a red bug-colored Gene Larew TattleTail Worm out deep.

“The key was having my deep spots for when the sun got up,” Murray says. “A couple of the deep areas were loaded up, and I was able to find them using my Garmin electronics to key in on the right spots.”


The top 10 boaters:

 1st: John Murray, Spring City, Tenn., 10 bass, 28-11, $5,334 + $2,000 Ranger Cup

 2nd: Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., 10 bass, 27-1, $2,667

 3rd: Lance Doughty, Sweetwater, Tenn., nine bass, 24-12, $1,444

 4th: Tyler Meredith, Oliver Springs, Tenn., 10 bass, 24-0, $1,111

 5th: Jonathan Bowling, Harriman, Tenn., nine bass, 23-0, $1,117

 6th: Derek Lehtonen, Woodruff, S.C., nine bass, 21-12, $795

 7th: Joseph Tallent, Madisonville, Tenn., eight bass, 21-0, $1,217

 8th: Alex Hester, Crossville, Tenn., 10 bass, 19-8, $650

 9th: Tee Watkins, East Point, Ky., seven bass, 16-15, $728

 10th: Archie Wilson Jr., Corryton, Tenn., nine bass, 16-9, $506

Complete results can be found at

Tallent caught a 5-pound, 11-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the event’s Boater Big Bass award of $495.


Co-angler Curtis Crooke

Crooke wins co-angler title

Curtis Crooke of Washburn, Tennessee, won the Co-angler Division and $2,312 Sunday after catching a two-day total of seven bass weighing 16 pounds, 7 ounces.


The top 10 co-anglers:

 1st: Curtis Crooke, Washburn, Tenn., seven bass, 16-7, $2,312

 2nd: Marty Barnes, Crossville, Tenn., six bass, 14-11, $1,181

 3rd: William Kissinger, Knoxville, Tenn., four bass, 11-15, $963

 4th: Eric Moore, Union, Ky., four bass, 10-1, $505

 5th: Brandon Harris, Spring City, Tenn., six bass, 9-15, $482

 6th: Brandon Garrison, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 9-5, $396

 7th: Bill King, Greenback, Tenn., seven bass, 9-3, $360

 8th: Chris Frazier, Gate City, Va., five bass, 8-15, $324

 9th: Larry Brumett Jr., Bristol, Tenn., four bass, 8-8, $388

 10th: Tom Godsey, Chickamauga, Ga., four bass, 6-6, $252

Kissinger caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 6 ounces. The catch earned him the event’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $240.


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 presented by Navionics in Seneca, 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.