APPLING, Ga. – Tim Staley of Dowelltown, Tenn., won the Walmart Bass Fishing League Clarks Hill Lake Regional Championship Saturday with a three-day 14-bass catch weighing 29 pounds, 15 ounces. The victory earned Staley a Ranger 198VX boat with a choice of a 200 horsepower Evinrude or Yamaha motor and a Chevrolet 1500 Silverado.
The win also helped him qualify for the 2010 BFL All-American to be held in Davenport, Iowa, May 27-30, 2010, on the Mississippi River where he could ultimately win a top prize of $140,000 and a trip to the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and this is the first time I’ve qualified for the All-American,” said Staley, who said he has been tournament fishing for 25 years. “That’s what my goal was.”
Staley said Clarks Hill fishes similar to his home lake, Center Hill Lake in Tennessee.
“It’s deep and it’s got grass and the first days I fished grass in clear water on the lower end,” Staley said. “With all of the recent rain, the water was rising, so I went and looked for colored water.”
Staley said he found an area where a river was emptying colored water into Clarks Hill. Staley targeted points in the areas where the muddy water and clear water mixed.
“I caught fish early on a jig in 2 to 3 feet of water up on the bank as well as on spinnerbaits in pockets,” Staley said. “When I targeted the points, I threw a chartreuse shad Strike King Series 5 crankbait on points that dropped from 10 to 25 feet. I was actually targeting suspending fish. And that’s where I caught my bigger fish.”
Staley said he caught a quick limit on a spinnerbait and began culling with the jig and crankbait on the second day of competition. On the final day of the event, Staley spun the hub on his prop and was dead in the water.
“A friend of mine who failed to make the cut decided to turn around and help me out,” Staley said. “He was already headed home. I fished around and caught a limit while I was waiting on him. After I got the hub changed out I made about a 30-mile run and culled nearly every fish I had caught. I got lucky and the Lord blessed me.”
Rounding out the top five boaters are Denny Strunk of La Vergne, Tenn. (15 bass, 28-13, $3,000); Greg Rikard of Leesville, S.C. (15 bass, 26-9, $1,500); Jason Threadgill of Norwood, N.C. (12 bass, 26-3, $1,200); and Dustin Clontz of Albermarle, N.C. (15 bass, 26-2, $1,100).
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are William Meadows of Hinton, W.V. (12 bass, 21-2, $1,500); Marvin Blevins of Brooksville, Fla. (12 bass, 20-7, $750); Darren Smith of Gordonsville, Tenn. (13 bass, 16-8, $600); and Keith Fels of Ocala, Fla. (11 bass, 15-11, $550).
The top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers in BFL’s North Carolina, Choo Choo, Gator and Music City divisions advanced to this no-entry-fee Clarks Hill Lake Regional Championship. All seven of the BFL regional championships will each send six boaters and six co-anglers to the no-entry-fee Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy. Anglers who compete in all five regular-season events within a division but do not advance to a Regional Championship are eligible to compete in the Chevy Wild Card, which will also send six boaters and six co-anglers to the All-American for a total of 48 boaters and 48 co-anglers advancing through BFL competition.
The winning boater and winning co-angler at the All-American will advance to the no-entry-fee Forrest Wood Cup in Atlanta in 2010. This event is the most lucrative tournament in all of competitive bass fishing. In all, the BFL offers weekend anglers the opportunity to qualify for three no-entry-fee championships. Plus, the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers from each BFL division may move up to the Stren Series for 2010 while All-American champions have the option to advance directly to the Walmart FLW Tour.
In BFL competition, boaters supply the boat and compete from the front deck against other boaters. Co-anglers compete from the back deck against other co-anglers.
As the nation’s leading provider of affordable, close-to-home weekend tournaments, the BFL is widely credited with opening competitive bass fishing to the masses. It also serves as a steppingstone for anglers who wish to advance to the Stren Series and ultimately the FLW Tour – bass fishing’s most lucrative tournament circuit.
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For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.