FLORENCE, Ala. – J.R. Henard of Rogersville, Tenn., won the Walmart Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional on Pickwick Lake with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 47 pounds, 3 ounces. For his victory, Henard 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 Bulldog, LBL, North Carolina and Volunteer divisions.
“It feels so good to finally get my first tournament win,” said Henard. “It means everything to me to get to fish the All-American. I got to compete in that event in a few years ago, and once you get there it makes you fish that much harder to get back to it. To win that tournament is a life-changing moment.”
Henard qualified for the All-American by fishing the famed Pickwick ledges throwing a Mann’s original Alabama Rig.
“The Alabama Rig was the key for me in this tournament,” Henard said. “Every fish that I weighed in came on that rig. I have a lot of family in the area, and I got in a lot of practice time. I practiced more for this event than any other tournament in my life. I was only catching big fish when I threw the A-rig, and I knew that I was going to have to throw it in order to win it.
“I was fishing from Wilson Dam down to Waterloo,” Henard continued. “I would start each day fishing the deep ledges in the lake, then in the afternoons I would move to the river and fish the river ledges and find the current.
Although all of Henard’s fish came on the rig, he did use different-sized weights and swimbaits to target different depths each day.
“The bite was very good every day,” Henard went on to say. “I was catching 20 to 25 fish every day. I lost a 6-pounder on day one that really messed with my head, but I decided that I was on the right pattern and told myself to just keep fishing. On the final day, I caught two 5-pounders on one of my first casts. I knew then that I was going to have a great day.”
The top six boaters that qualified for the BFL All-American:
1st: J.R. Henard, Rogersville, Tenn., 15 bass, 47-3, Ranger Z518 with 200-horsepower outboard + Chevy 1500 Silverado
2nd: Lloyd Pickett Jr., Bartlett, Tenn., 15 bass, 42-13, $1,500
3rd: David Williams, Maiden, N.C., 15 bass, 42-7, $1,100
4th: Daniel Langston, Haubstadt, Ind., 13 bass, 42-5, $1,000
5th: David Wright, Lexington, N.C., 14 bass, 40-1, $900
6th: Joey Henderson, Mayfield, Ky., 13 bass, 39-8, $800
Rounding out the top 10 pros:
7th: Bobby Padgett, LaGrange, Ga., 15 bass, 37-7, $700
8th: Jeff Knight, Cleveland, Tenn., 14 bass, 37-4, $650
9th: Tim Saylor, Johnson City, Tenn., 12 bass, 34-12, $600
10th: Richard Bradford, Hoffman, N.C., 15 bass, 34-9, $550
Complete results can be found here.
Rupe captures co-angler title
Bryan Rupe of Mayfield, Ky., won the Co-angler Division with a three-day total of 10 bass totaling 29 pounds, 9 ounces. For his efforts, Rupe 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: Bryan Rupe, Mayfield, Ky., 10 bass, 29-9, Ranger Z518 with 200-horsepower outboard
2nd: Daniel Buswell, Newnan, Ga., 12 bass, 28-11, $750
3rd: Tim Cales, Sandstone, W. Va., 14 bass, 25-9, $550
4th: James Lee, Connelly Springs, N.C., 11 bass, 25-6, $500
5th: Kevin Hughes, Bristol, Va., 13 bass, 25-3, $450
6th: Jim Neece, Bristol, Va., 13 bass, 24-7, $400
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers:
7th: Carl Schoubye, Cottage Grove, Tenn., 13 bass, 23-10, $350
8th: Tommy Fraiser, Booneville, Miss., 11 bass, 22-7, $325
9th: Charles Ellis, Knoxville, Tenn., 10 bass, 20-7, $300
10th: Tim Cummings, Waynesboro, Tenn., 11 bass, 20-6, $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.