LAVONIA, Ga. – Brad Fowler of Pendleton, S.C., won the Walmart Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional on Lake Hartwell with a three-day total of 15 bass totaling 34 pounds, 15 ounces. For his victory, Fowler 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 Bama, Bulldog, Piedmont and Volunteer divisions.
Fowler picked up his first BFL win and qualified for the All-American by eschewing the temptation of fishing for numbers and instead choosing to search for individual, kicker-quality fish.
“I caught some on topwater baits and swimbaits, and the rest of them I caught drop-shotting Wackem Crazy Baits soft plastics,” said Fowler.
“I had a little pattern of the depth they were in, and there had to be some baitfish in the area,” added Fowler. “It was mainly the depth. It could be on a point or a hump, it just had to have some of those ingredients.
“All the drop-shot fish I caught I singled out. I would move around in 20 to 25 feet of water until I found one on my electronics. They were usually the big fish,” continued Fowler. “A lot of people weren’t doing that. If I pulled up to a spot and saw a school of fish I would leave.
“The third day the wind blew pretty hard and it got tougher to do what I was doing. I actually caught my best fish on a swimbait that day.
“If feels pretty good. It’s a long time coming I guess,” Fowler said of his win. “I’m looking forward to the All-American. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it.”
Fowler said he caught most of his fish on a Wackem Crazy Baits Big Sissy worm in a variety of colors.
The top six boaters that qualified for the BFL All-American were:
1st: Brad Fowler, Pendleton, S.C., 15 bass, 34-15, Ranger Z518 with 200-horsepower outboard + Chevy 1500 Silverado
2nd: Brandon Cobb, Greenwood, S.C., 15 bass, 33-13, $1,500 + $300 Evinrude Bonus
3rd: Rick Steckelberg, Eastanollee, Ga., 15 bass, 33-9, $1,100
4th: Jayme Rampey, Liberty, S.C., 15 bass, 32-3, $1,000 + $300 Evinrude Bonus
5th: Conrad Bolt, Seneca, S.C., 15 bass, 32-1, $900
6th: Dan Treadway, Rocky Mount, N.C., 15 bass, 28-12, $800
Rounding out the top 10 pros:
7th: Kevin Edwards, Knoxville, Tenn., 15 bass, 28-10, $700
8th: Steve Coleman, Clayton, Ga., 15 bass, 28-5, $650
9th: Kerry Partain, Elberton, Ga., 15 bass, 27-15, $600
10th: Greg Glouse, Liberty, S.C., 15 bass, 27-0, $550
Complete boater results can be found here.
Kimmel claims co-angler crown
Justin Kimmel of Watkinsville, Ga., won the co-angler division with a three-day total of 13 bass totaling 27 pounds, 7 ounces. For his efforts, Kimmel took home a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard along with a berth in the BFL All-American tournament.
The top six co-anglers that qualified for the BFL All-American were:
1st: Justin Kimmel, Watkinsville, Ga., 13 bass, 27-7, Ranger Z518 with 200-horsepower outboard
2nd: Ty Story, Prattville, Ala., 14 bass, 24-11, $750
3rd: Wayne Smelser, Rural Retreat, Va., 15 bass, 24-9, $550
4th: James Sharp, Leesburg, Ga., 14 bass, 23-15, $500
5th: Sam Overton, Heiskell, Tenn., 15 bass, 22-12, $450
6th: Kristopher Queen, Catawba, N.C., 13 bass, 22-8, $400
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers:
7th: George Boyce, Fuquay Varina, N.C., 13 bass, 22-5, $350
8th: Kerry Coppock, Ohatchee, Ala, 15 bass, 22-5, $325
9th: John Wilson, Six Mile, S.C., 14 bass, 20-11, $300
10th: Junior Roberts, Hendersonville, Tenn., 12 bass, 17-15, $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 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.
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 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.