HENDERSON, N.C. – Chris Marshall of Forest City, N.C., won the Walmart Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional on Kerr Lake with a three-day total of 14 bass weighing 37 pounds, 8 ounces. For his victory, Marshall won a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard plus a Chevy 1500 Silverado and entry into the BFL All-American presented by Chevy. This regional tournament featured the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers from each of the Mountain, Northeast, Shenandoah and South Carolina divisions.
“I’m just so extremely excited,” said Marshall. “It has been one of my life-long goals to take that next step and move up the ladder in my fishing career. I can’t wait for the All-American. I’m going to put every ounce of effort that I can into that tournament. I want to fish in the Forrest Wood Cup.”
Marshall qualified for the BFL All-American by fishing shallow in the northern end of Kerr Lake. Each day he would run 35 minutes from the takeoff site and fish one main area and target a two-mile stretch of water near the Rolling Oak and Dan Rivers. Marshall targeted boat docks and log-jams he had located during his practice period.
“I had three days of practice coming into this event, and the fishing was just awesome,” Marshall said. “Then the day before the tournament we had a major cold front and high pressure system come through. The fishing went from really good to really tough.
“I was getting 15 bites a day in practice,” Marshall continued. “But once the tournament started, I was only averaging about eight bites a day. The bite was definitely better in the afternoon. Every day, I would only have two fish at noon and I would start to get nervous. Then the bite picked up, and from noon to 2 p.m. I would usually fill out my limit.”
Marshall threw a homemade 1/2-ounce brown and orange-colored jig, trailered with an Alabama craw-colored Netbait Kickin B Chunk for the first two days of competition, but switched to a chatterbait on the final day because of the tough conditions.
“Saturday was by far the toughest day on the water,” Marshall said. “I had to switch to the chatterbait to look for that reaction bite. They wanted nothing to do with my jig. I only had four fish on Saturday, and I lost a 21/2-pounder late in the afternoon. I was so scared coming to the scales; I thought that I had lost the fish that was going to win me the tournament.
“I couldn’t have been happier when I was announced the winner,” Marshall went on to say. “I knew that the winning fish were in my area. I just had to adjust and slow way down from what I was fishing in practice. I would cast 8 to 10 times to the same spot before I could get them to bite. The key for me was really just patience.”
The top six boaters that qualified for the BFL All-American:
1st: Chris Marshall, Forest City, N.C., 14 bass, 37-8, Ranger Z518 with 200-horsepower outboard + Chevy 1500 Silverado
2nd: Spencer Barrow, Snow Hill, N.C., 15 bass, 37-6, $1,500
3rd: Maurice Freeze, Concord, N.C., 15 bass, 33-12, $1,100
4th: Robert Walser, Lexington, N.C., 15 bass, 33-9, $1,000
5th: Michael Murphy, Lexington, S.C., 15 bass, 33-4, $900
6th: Dennis Reedy, Siler City, N.C., 14 bass, 32-13, $800
Rounding out the top 10 pros:
7th: Michael Belter, Reidsville, N.C., 13 bass, 29-15, $700
8th: Daniel McGinnis, Lansdowne, Ontario, 11 bass, 29-6, $650
9th: Lyn Langston, Timmonsville, S.C., 10 bass, 29-2, $600
10th: C. Shane Burns, Durham, N.C., 12 bass, 27-6, $550
Complete results can be found here.
Cook captures co-angler title
John Cook of Matthews, N.C., won the Co-angler Division with a three-day total of 13 bass totaling 27 pounds, 1 ounce. For his efforts, Cook took home a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard along with a berth in the BFL All-American.
The top six co-anglers that qualified for the BFL All-American:
1st: John Cook, Matthews, N.C., 13 bass, 27-1, Ranger Z518 with 200-horsepower outboard
2nd: Eddie Cook, Clemmons, N.C., 12 bass, 26-11, $750
3rd: David Williams, Fredericksburg, Va., 11 bass, 23-13, $550
4th: D.J. McEachern Jr., Columbia, S.C., 12 bass, 23-13, $500
5th: Tony Johnson, London, Ky., 10 bass, 22-5, $450
6th: Ronald Smith, Browns Mills, N.J., 10 bass, 20-11, $400
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers:
7th: Michael Smith, Piedmont, S.C., 10 bass, 18-13, $350
8th: Jordan Johnson, Warrenville, S.C., seven bass, 15-9, $325
9th: Stuart Toney, Raeford, N.C., six bass, 14-6, $300
10th: Mark Major, Lancaster, Ky., six bass, 13-8, $275
Complete co-angler results can be found here.
The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 120 tournaments throughout the season, five in each division. The top 40 boaters and co-anglers from each division qualify for a regional tournament and compete to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the EverStart Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the BFL on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.
FLW is the industry’s premier tournament-fishing organization, providing unparalleled fishing resources and entertainment to our sponsors, fans and host communities. FLW is offering anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2012 over the course of 191 tournaments across five tournament circuits, each providing an avenue to the sport’s richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the “Best in Fishing, On and Off the Water,” through a variety of platforms including tournaments, outdoor expos and the world’s richest fantasy sports game – FLW Fantasy Fishing. For more information about FLW and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com and look for FLW on Twitter and Facebook.