PALATKA, Fla. – Robert Crosnoe of Inverness, Florida, weighed a three-day total of 14 bass totaling 47 pounds, 6 ounces to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on the St. Johns River Saturday. For his victory, Crosnoe took home a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and a Chevy 1500 Silverado as well as entry into the 2015 BFL All-American presented by Chevy. This regional tournament featured the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers from each of the Bama, Bulldog, Choo Choo and Gator divisions.
Crosnoe spent all of his practice time over 50 miles south of Palatka, fishing in Lake Dexter and Lake Woodruff, and made a breakthrough just before the tournament when he discovered a horde of fish in some recently-sprayed hyacinth mats in Dexter.
“Most of the mats were around 3-feet deep,” said Crosnoe. “There was some sort of viny, green plant, and where that was mixed in with the dead hyacinths is where I would get most of my bites. Practice was unbelievable. I went through that area and got 25 bites and set the hook twice and caught a 7-pounder and a 4-pounder.
“The Wednesday before the tournament, the St. Johns rose to flood stage and the state made a big stretch of river an idle zone,” Crosnoe detailed. “It took me an hour and a half to get to my spot. Once I got there, I was just flipping and punching heavy mats with a 1½-ounce weight.”
Crosnoe boxed 18-12 on day one, but lost a fish he estimated to be 7-pounds on the second day and failed to catch a five-bass limit.
“The third day I had no choice but to go back,” said Crosnoe. “I knew in my heart that the fish were there. I told my co-angler while we were in the idle zone that I could bust a 28-pound bag. In the first hour I caught a 9-pounder and two 4-pounders. Then I went and fished some new water, just like it was a practice day. I found one stretch that had a lot of bream and I caught another 4-pounder and lost one that looked like it was 8 or 9 pounds. Fortunately, I’d already caught enough to win.
“I made the right decisions, it was awesome and it feels great to get the win,” said Crosnoe, whose 22-pound, 14-ounce catch on the final day vaulted him from 10th to first.
Crosnoe said that he flipped a Hematoma-colored Reaction Innovations Kinky Beaver the entire time, and left the ramp on day three with just one rod on deck.
The top six boaters that qualified for the 2015 BFL All-American:
1st: Robert Crosnoe, Inverness, Fla., 14 bass, 47-6, Ranger Z518C with 200-horsepower outboard + Chevy 1500 Silverado
2nd: Wes Logan, Springville, Ala., 15 bass, 46-8, $1,500
3rd: Thadeus Ragan, North Miami Beach, Fla., 15 bass, 46-2, $1,100
4th: Adam Johnson, Sandy Springs, Ga., 12 bass, 39-5, $1,000
5th: Santos Solis, Vero Beach, Fla., 15 bass, 35-2, $900
6th: Jack Hand, St. Cloud, Fla., 13 bass, 31-8, $800
Rounding out the top 10 pros:
7th: Kip Carter, Loganville, Ga., 13 bass, 28-10, $700
8th: Kenneth Smith, Tullahoma, Tenn., 12 bass, 28-0, $650
9th: Terry Tucker, Gadsden, Ala., 12 bass, 27-6, $600
10th: Phillip Powell, Warrior, Ala., 11 bass, 27-3, $550
Complete results can be found by clicking here.
Thompson wins co-angler title
Ernie Thompson of Anthony, Florida, won the co-angler division with a three-day total of 14 bass totaling 34 pounds, 6 ounces. For his efforts, Thompson took home a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard along with a berth in the 2015 BFL All-American tournament.
The top six co-anglers that qualified for the 2015 BFL All-American:
1st: Ernie Thompson, Anthony, Fla., 14 bass, 34-6, Ranger Z518C with 200-horsepower outboard
2nd: Gant Conley, Adrian, Ga., 14 bass, 33-2, $750
3rd: James Hatch, Gainesville, Fla., 14 bass, 32-11, $550
4th: Jonathan Semento, Okahumpka, Fla., 11 bass, 21-14, $500
5th: Kenneth Hunnicutt, Jacksonville, Fla., nine bass, 21-3, $450
6th: James Sloan, Cooper City, Fla., 10 bass, 20-13, $400
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers:
7th: Joe Edwards Jr., Orlando, Fla., 11 bass, 20-12, $350
8th: Joe Wikoff, Phenix City, Ala., 10 bass, 20-10, $325
9th: Matthew O’Connell, Brooks, Ga., nine bass, 19-0, $300
10th: Robert Fleming, McDonough, Ga., eight bass, 18-11, $275
Complete co-angler results can be found by clicking here.
The BFL Regional event held on the St. Johns River was hosted by the Putnam County Tourist Development Council.
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 Rayovac FLW 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 2014 over the course of 229 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. For more information about FLW visit FLWOutdoors.com and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.