RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Boater Kelly Keith of Shreveport, Louisiana, brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 21 pounds, 3 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Arkie Division tournament on Lake Dardanelle presented by Navionics. For his catch, Keith took home $3,963.
Keith said he spent his day fishing a 100-yard long stretch around the Strip Pits and Illinois Bayou areas of the lake.
“I had an area that I didn’t think would be pressured, and a secondary area that I knew I would be pressured,” said Keith, who notched his first win in FLW competition. “I drew boat No. 3, so I decided to fish the secondary area and I got a limit. I ended up staying there all day because I was catching 3 to 5 pounders.
“I fished a grassy ridge in 2 to 3 feet of water, with a drop off into 10 feet of water right next to it. The fish were in coming out of the deeper water, up over the ridge and in toward spawning flats,” continued Keith. “I would cast toward the ridge and work it toward the deeper water, and other times I’d cast to the middle of the deeper channel and work it back toward me.”
Keith said he used a green-pumpkin with blue flake-colored Z-Man FattyZ worm on a 3/16-ounce Gamakatsu Skip Gap shaky-head with a Daiwa Tatula SV TWS casting reel and a 7-foot, 1-inch Daiwa Tatula casting rod. He credited his Breakline Optics Cahaba sunglasses as being a crucial part of his day, helping him see the deeper grass and fish.
“I caught around 12 keepers and probably culled around 4 times,” said Keith. “During practice they ate everything I threw at them, but during the tournament they were picky. I had to fish super slow – that was the key to the whole deal.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Kelly Keith, Shreveport, La., five bass, 21-3, $3,963
2nd: Michael Andrus, Greenbrier, Ark., five bass, 18-14, $1,981
3rd: Chris Darby, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 18-7, $1,522
4th: Shawn Gordon, Russellville, Ark., five bass, 18-2, $1,025
5th: Christopher Jones, Bokoshe, Okla., five bass, 17-8, $793
6th: Von Kinsey, Clarksville, Ark., five bass, 17-0, $727
7th: Brad Morgan, Ashdown, Ark., five bass, 16-14, $660
8th: Josh Ray, Alexander, Ark., five bass, 15-7, $594
9th: Chip Hawkins, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 15-5, $528
10th: Kevin Brown, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 15-4, $989
10th: Charles Williams, Clarksville, Ark., five bass, 15-4, $439
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Jason Lieblong of Glasgow, Kentucky, caught a 6-pound, 10-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $535.
Stan Harris of Searcy, Arkansas, won the Co-angler Division and $2,248 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 14 pounds, 15 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Stan Harris, Searcy, Ark., five bass, 14-15, $2,248
2nd: Brian Ray, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 13-3, $991
3rd: David Hardin, Bethel, Okla., five bass, 12-7, $662
4th: Elmer McBride, Dierks, Ark., four bass, 12-6, $462
5th: Andrew Wooley, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 12-3, $379
5th: James Grant, Cherry Valley, Ark., five bass, 12-3, $379
7th: Tony Smith, Bryant, Ark., five bass, 12-1, $430
8th: Jody Jones, Harvey, Ark., three bass, 10-7, $347
9th: Cornelius Branch, Arkadelphia, Ark., five bass, 10-5, $264
10th: Jeff Eckhart, Blevins, Ark., four bass, 10-4, $219
10th: Blake Smith, Benton, Ark., five bass, 10-4, $219
Harris also caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 12 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $267.
The tournament was hosted by Russellville Advertising and Promotions.
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. 24-26 BFL Regional Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma. 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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