Crane Wins FLW Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division Opener on Ross Barnett Reservoir - Major League Fishing

Crane Wins FLW Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division Opener on Ross Barnett Reservoir

Willins wins co-angler title
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Mitch Crane of Columbus, Miss., won the March 5 Mississippi Division event on Ross Barnett with a 19-pound, 1-ounce limit and walked away with over $5,500 in prize money.
March 5, 2016 • FLW Communications • Archives

FLOWOOD, Miss. – Mitch Crane of Columbus, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mississippi Division tournament of 2016 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Crane took home $5,582.

“I started my day targeting bass in a pocket right off of the main channel in the Pearl River,” said Crane, who took top honors in his first-ever FLW event. “I caught three keepers along a point within 30 minutes using a white Z-Man ChatterBait rigged with a Gambler Little EZ Swimbait.”

Crane said that a key to his pattern was dialing in on bedding fish.

“Around noon, I went to a bedding area where a couple of canals came off of an old channel swing,” said Crane. “I flipped a Blueberry-colored Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw and caught two bass – a 4- and 5-pounder – that were settled in clear water. After I got them in the boat I was feeling pretty confident.”

Crane went on to say that the competition likely overlooked bedding fish due to colder water temperatures.

“The water temperature was only around 58 degrees, but I went looking for the big bedding fish and they were there,” said Crane. “They ended up sealing the deal.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

               1st:          Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., five bass, 19-1, $5,582

               2nd:         Teddy Cranford, Seminary, Miss., five bass, 16-15, $2,791

               3rd:          Matt Allen, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 15-2, $1,861

               4th:          Rick Mcklemurry, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 14-12, $1,302

               5th:          Bradley Burns, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 14-6, $1,116

               6th:          Jeffery Davis, Steens, Miss., four bass, 14-0, $1,023

               7th:          Kevin Daigle, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 13-15, $930

               8th:          Joel Barber, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 13-14, $837

               9th:          Justin Leet, Bartlett, Tenn., five bass, 13-13, $744

               10th:        Dalton Laster, Morton, Miss., four bass, 13-10, $618

               10th:        Michael Savell, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 13-10, $618

Complete results can be found at  

Philip Atkins of Columbus, Mississippi, caught a fish weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces – the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $895.

Mark Willins of Bartlett, Tennessee, weighed in five bass totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to earn $2,791 and win the co-angler division.

The top 10 co-anglers were:

               1st:          Mark Willins, Bartlett, Tenn., five bass, 19-11, $2,791

               2nd:         Mike Allen, Crystal Springs, Miss., five bass, 15-1, $1,395

               3rd:          Jesse Steadham, Florence, Miss., five bass     14-15, $931

               4th:          Noel Allen Jr., Brandon, Miss., five bass, 14-3, $651

               5th:          Glen Mire, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 13-9, $558

               6th:          Richard Hitt, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 13-3, $512

               7th:          Hunter Ketteringham, Philadelphia, Miss., three bass, 11-12, $465

               8th:          Frank Parker, McHenry, Miss., three bass, 11-8, $419

               9th:          Marian Hall, Hattiesburg, Miss., five bass, 11-5, $372

               10th:        Todd Fowlkes, Collierville, Tenn., five bass, 10-7, $326

James Brauer caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 6 pounds, 15 ounces and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $447.

The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 27-29 Regional Championship on Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Arkansas. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.

The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 120 tournaments throughout the season, five in each division. The top 50 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 BFL All-American. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.

For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the BFL on Facebook at and on Twitter at

About FLW

FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2016 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 235 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Periscope: @FLWFishing.

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