GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Hunter Mills of Mayfield, Kentucky, and Don Beckley of Paducah, Kentucky, each brought five bass weighing 21 pounds, 12 ounces, to the scale Saturday to tie for the win at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) LBL Division tournament on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For their limits, Mills earned $5,462 after contingency bonuses, while Beckley took home $3,462.
“I fished north of Jonathan Creek on the east side of the main-river channel,” said Beckley, who notched his first career-win in BFL competition. “I sat in 25 to 30 feet of water, which is a lot deeper than most people go. When I got to my area, I stayed there all day because there was a lot of wind and boat traffic.”
Beckley said he was able to catch 12 to 15 keepers throughout the tournament.
“I stayed south of the sweet spot about 50 yards, and every hour I’d ease in there and catch a 4-pounder,” said Beckley. “It was important that I let the fish rest. I used a ¾-ounce football-head jig with a green pumpkin-colored (Strike King Rage Tail) Craw trailer and dragged it as slow as I possibly could.”
“I did a lot of cranking, mostly in 25 to 27 feet of water,” said Mills, a current FLW College Fishing Murray State University angler who also earned his first career-win on the BFL circuit. “The Tennessee Valley Authority was pulling water which created a lot of current and that was a big factor for the crankbait bite.”
Mills said he spent his morning on the north side of Eggner’s Ferry Bridge, and after 9:30 a.m. he moved south. Mills said he fished around eight areas throughout the event, and used a Profound Outdoors Randy Haynes’ Azuma Z Boss 25 crankbait to catch his fish.
“Some of the bass were on top of the ledges, and some were hanging right off of the lip,” said Mills. “There was a north wind that impacted how I fished. Normally the wind is from the south and I have to face it and cast into it, but on Saturday, I had to reposition the boat a few times because they would only bite the bait if it was coming from a certain direction.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Hunter Mills, Mayfield, Ky., five bass, 21-12, $3,462 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
1st: Don Beckley, Paducah, Ky., five bass, 21-12, $3,462
3rd: Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, five bass, 21-11, $1,551
4th: Brent Anderson, Kingston Springs, Tenn., five bass, 21-5, $942
4th: Stuart Eversole, Middletown, Ohio, five bass, 21-5, $942
6th: Jordan Hartman, Murray, Ky., five bass, 20-12, $798
7th: David Young, Mayfield, Ky., five bass, 20-6, $725
8th: Tommy Williams, Shepherdsville, Ky., five bass, 19-4, $653
9th: Thomas O'Bryant, Cedar Grove, Tenn., five bass, 17-11, $515
9th: Sam White, Gilbertsville, Ky., five bass, 17-11, $515
9th: Keith Amerson, Bethel Springs, Tenn., five bass, 17-11, $515
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Rob Vannerson of Benton, Kentucky, caught a fish weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $615.
Dan Basham of Taylorsville, Kentucky, won the Co-angler Division and $2,375 Saturday after weighing five bass totaling 18 pounds, 2 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Dan Basham, Taylorsville, Ky., five bass, 18-2, $2,375
2nd: Bryce Morrison, Collierville, Tenn., five bass, 17-12, $1,138
3rd: Mike Beasley, Cookeville, Tenn., five bass, 17-2, $726
4th: Taylor Genz, Indian Mound, Tenn., five bass, 16-8, $507
5th: Benton Peoples, Bardstown, Ky., five bass, 16-3, $742
6th: Craig Middleton, Harrodsburg, Ky., five bass, 15-8, $399
7th: Jake Steinkuhl, Evansville, Ind., five bass, 15-6, $363
8th: Scott Sims, Morgantown, Ind., five bass, 15-3, $326
9th: Dean Dearwester, Cincinnati, Ohio, four bass, 14-2, $290
10th: Colby Shaver, Owensboro, Ky., five bass, 13-8, $254
Peoples caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a fish weighing 5 pounds, 10 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $307.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 12-14 BFL Regional Championship on the Barren River in Scottsville, Kentucky. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.
The 2017 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they 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 performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.
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 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa 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 FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.
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