BROOKELAND, Texas – Phil Marks of Dallas, Texas, caught a five-bass limit weighing 27 pounds, 8 ounces, Saturday to earn top honors at the first T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) event of the 2018 tournament season on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. For his efforts, Marks pocketed $8,143.
Marks said he caught the majority his fish on the main lake, specifically on the tips of ridges with isolated stumps. He said he fished through a dozen areas and was able to put 10 keepers in the boat throughout the day.
“I don’t think the water temperature on Sam Rayburn has been below 55 degrees in a few years, so the fish were really lethargic,” said Marks, an FLW Tour winner who had earned eight prior top-10 finishes on Sam Rayburn in FLW competition. “I caught three or four good ones in the first hour which allowed me to focus on catching the big ones. It was a grind out there, but I knew when I got one it’d be a good one.”
Marks said he used a Powder Blue Back Chartreuse-colored Strike King 8XD crankbait to fish in 16 to 19 feet of water, and switched to a 10XD for deeper casts in the 18- to 24-foot range.
“It’s funny – just about every bite was on the initial descent or when the bait was up under the boat,” said Marks. “I started making shorter casts so I could maximize my time in those strike zones.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Phil Marks, Dallas, Texas, five bass, 27-8, $6,143 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Richard Ballard, Sulphur, La., four bass, 19-12, $4,081
3rd: Terry Hawkins, Corsicana, Texas, five bass, 17-2, $2,048
4th: Kevin Lasyone, Dry Prong, La., five bass, 16-8, $1,363
5th: Anthony Jones, Irving, Texas, five bass, 15-13, $1,169
6th: Coy Riggins, Georgetown, Texas, five bass, 15-12, $1,071
7th: Chris Lewis, Longview, Texas, three bass, 15-11, $925
7th: Darold Gleason, Many, La., five bass, 15-11, $925
9th: Todd Castledine, Nacogdoches, Texas, five bass, 15-9, $779
10th: Brandon Thrash, Downsville, La., five bass, 15-8, $682
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Ballard caught a bass weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $960.
Michael Cotter of Arlington, Texas, won the Co-angler Division and $3,006 Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 10 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Michael Cotter, Arlington, Texas, five bass, 20-10, $3,006
2nd: Jacob Dupree, Haughton, La., four bass, 18-3, $1,453
3rd: Lindy Hadley, Sam Rayburn, Texas, five bass, 16-10, $971
4th: Richard Hooter, Natchitoches, La., five bass, 14-4, $678
5th: Fred Martin, North Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 13-10, $631
6th: Logan Slaughter, Dallas, Texas, five bass, 13-4, $533
7th: Taylor Hardin, Fort Worth, Texas, five bass, 13-1, $484
8th: Jimmy Brumfield, Madison, Miss., five bass, 12-3, $436
9th: Eric Lacroix, Ball, La., four bass, 11-13, $387
10th: Brian Allen, Katy, Texas, five bass, 11-8, $339
James Spell of Sulphur, Louisiana, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a fish weighing 8 pounds, 2 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $477.
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. 25-27 BFL Regional Championship on Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. 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 2018 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. The 2018 BFL All-American will be held May 31-June 2 at Cross Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.
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 2018 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct 286 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, and South Africa. 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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