BUCKHEAD, Ga. – Boater Barry Stokes of Covington, Georgia, caught five bass Saturday weighing 21 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament on Lake Oconee presented by Navionics. Stokes pocketed $6,385 for his efforts.
“I decided to go into the tournament with an open mind and follow the first bite," said Stokes, who earned his first career win in FLW competition. “My co-angler caught a 3½-pounder deep on a seawall. From that, I started learning what I needed to do. I picked up my jig and started flipping and within 30 minutes I got my first bite – also a 3½-pounder. I figured out that I needed to work the rocks where shallow and deep water met.”
Stokes said most of his fish were caught in 3- to 4-feet-of-water, mid-lake, around the Highway 44 bridge. He said that he caught nine keepers during the tournament with a ¼- and 3/8-ounce, black and blue-colored Underground Tackle jig. He paired each with different colored trailers depending on water clarity – green-pumpkin for clearer water and black and blue for stained.
“I caught some around seawalls that had wood adjacent to them, and some around docks,” said Stokes. “I also caught one on a [Carolina-rigged, green-pumpkin-colored] Zoom Lizard, about seven feet down, around pea gravel and rock mix – that was my deepest.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Barry Stokes, Covington, Ga., five bass, 21-11, $4,385 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Frank Kitchens III, Oxford, Ga., five bass, 19-7, $2,393
3rd: Ben Brisbois, Gainesville, Ga., five bass, 16-2, $1,463
4th: Lee Nunnally, Social Circle, Ga., five bass, 15-2, $1,123
5th: Kip Carter, Mansfield, Ga., five bass, 14-14, $1,127
6th: Girard Jones, Macon, Ga., five bass, 14-9, $1,424
7th: Dylan Peppers, Good Hope, Ga., five bass, 14-5, $731
8th: Terry Adams, Mansfield, Ga., five bass, 13-9, $658
9th: Bill Burns, Fernandina Beach, Fla., five bass, 13-0, $585
10th: Mike Cleveland, Monticello, Ga., five bass, 12-12, $512
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Jones caught a 6-pound, 1-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $620.
Wesley Bennett of Monroe, Georgia, won the Co-angler Division and $2,193 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Wesley Bennett, Monroe, Ga., five bass, 11-4, $2,193
2nd: Conery Williams, Macon, Ga., four bass, 10-5, $1,096
3rd: Hector Vasquez, Columbus, Ga., two bass, 9-14, $1,140
4th: Mike Thornton, Jonesboro, Ga., four bass, 9-12, $562
5th: Justin Kimmel, Athens, Ga., five bass, 9-1, $439
6th: Wendell Grantham, Athens, Ga., four bass, 8-15, $383
6th: Kiwanas Andrews, Atlanta, Ga., three bass, 8-15, $383
8th: Kenneth Flowers, Snellville, Ga., five bass, 8-14, $329
9th: Don Griffin, Roswell, Ga., three bass, 8-5, $274
9th: Keith Lynch, Griffin, Ga., three bass, 8-5, $274
Vasquez caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 8 pounds, 1 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $310.
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. 10-12 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Georgia. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard.
The 2019 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 2019 BFL All-American will be held May 30-June 1 at the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland, and is hosted by the Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism and the Commissioners of Charles County. 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, and YouTube.
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 2019 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show 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, and YouTube.
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