NORTHEAST, Md. – Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., won the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional on the Chesapeake Bay with a three-day total of 15 bass totaling 54 pounds, 14 ounces. For his victory, Schmitt 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 Buckeye, Michigan, Northeast and Shenandoah divisions.
For the second time this year, Schmitt won an FLW event on the Chesapeake Bay. Just like his September EverStart win, Schmitt mined a key area for the bulk of his weight and won by a significant margin.
“It’s unbelievable … it couldn’t come at a better time,” said Schmitt. “This was even more gratifying than the EverStart. When you go back-to-back on the same body of water it means a lot. Things change, and I was able to get on winning fish both times.
“Each of the first two days of the event I lost some really big fish,” continued Schmitt. “The first two days could have both been 19- or 20-pound bags. Every day I would watch the tournament slipping away and then something would happen to keep me motivated.
“I had to do some finesse fishing in really thick grass. I was throwing a Senko on a spinning rod, and I would get totally taken by these big fish. That happened a lot the first two days.
“The first morning I planned to throw a swimbait on my starting spot. But my co-angler threw a Senko, and caught almost 18 pounds on the back of the boat in an hour. He didn’t do anything wrong, but he had me totally discombobulated.
“But he keyed me in even more to the pattern,” explained Schmitt. “I had a Senko rigged up, but I hadn’t planned on throwing it that first hour. I picked it up and I just wasn’t as fortunate because I lost a couple.
“The second day I was so amped up. I thought I was going to go into that spot and just destroy them,” said Schmitt. “I got three good ones out of there and lost two big ones. The final day I had a magical day. I caught a 7-pounder. There were so few bites, but they were the right ones.
“It was a dead-end canal in the middle of the grass flat,” continued Schmitt. “It was 40 feet wide by about 300 yards long. The whole edge of it was a thick algae mat. You couldn’t punch it – if you’d wanted to you would have needed a 4-ounce weight.
“The fish were right on the edge and weren’t willing to chase anything. But the slow fall of the Senko would get them to pop out and suck it in and swim right back into the mat. But they would only do it at low light. I would fish there for the first two hours in the morning, and each day I left with two to three big fish.
“Then I would go to those outside trenches in the grass like my EverStart spot and throw a swimbait and a Senko and a spinnerbait, and usually I could pick up a few others,” finished Schmitt.
Schmitt said he caught most of his weight on a black-with blue-flake 5-inch Yamamoto Senko with a 3/32-ounce bullet weight.
The top six boaters that qualified for the BFL All-American were:
1st: Bryan Schmitt, Deal, Md., 15 bass, 54-14, Ranger Z518 with 200-horsepower outboard + Chevy 1500 Silverado
2nd: John Vanore, Mullica Hill, N.J., 15 bass, 48-12, $1,500
3rd: Ronnie Baker, Providence Forge, Va., 15 bass, 45-4, $1,100
4th: Bill Barlow, West Grove, Pa., 15 bass, 44-0, $1,000
5th: Joe Hunt, Lincoln University, Pa., 15 bass, 43-6, $900
6th: Frank Ippoliti, Mercersburg, Pa., 15 bass, 43-4, $800
Rounding out the top 10 pros:
7th: Marvin Miller, Sugar Creek, Ohio, 14 bass, 41-11, $700
8th: James Hailstones, Cincinnati, Ohio, 13 bass, 40-1, $650
9th: Moo Bae, West Friendship, Md., 13 bass, 37-2, $600
10th: Steven Wiseman, Bryans Road, Md., 14 bass, 36-13, $550
For a complete list of boater results, click here.
Hansen nets co-angler crown
Carl Hansen of Nottingham, Pa., won the Co-angler Division with a three-day total of 14 bass totaling exactly 36 pounds. For his efforts, Hansen took home a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard along with a berth in the BFL All-American Championship tournament.
The top six co-anglers that qualified for the BFL All-American were:
1st: Carl Hansen, Nottingham, Pa., 14 bass, 36-0, Ranger Z518 with 200-horsepower outboard
2nd: Bill Spindler, Turnersville, N.J., 11 bass, 34-13, $750
3rd: James Wilcox, Cincinnati, Ohio, 15 bass, 34-2, $550
4th: Charles Tuite, Landing, N.J., 10 bass, 30-5, $500
5th: Ryan Rich, Eaton, Ohio, 12 bass, 28-5, $450
6th: Philip Borsa, Redford, Mich., eight bass, 24-9, $400
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers:
7th: Gary Hoffman, Stoutsville, Ohio, seven bass, 23-3, $350
8th: Ron Dopko, Plymouth, Pa., nine bass, 23-1, $325
9th: Terry Beck, Lock Haven, Pa., nine bass, 21-2, $300
10th: Robert Hockley, Annville, Pa., seven bass, 21-2, $275
For a complete list of co-angler results, click 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 are competing 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.
FLW is the industry’s premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2013 over the course of 220 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport’s richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world. FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the “Best in Fishing, On and Off the Water.” For more information about FLW visit FLWOutdoors.com and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.