GOLCONDA, Ill. – Boater Mike Keller of Metropolis, Illinois, took top honors at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament on the Ohio River at Golconda Saturday after catching five bass weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces. For his efforts, Keller pocketed $3,083.
“I fished all the way up the Tennessee River. I worked rock piles along a 30-yard stretch, and the fish were in about 7 feet of water,” said Keller, who notched his second win on the Ohio River in BFL competition. “My Bass Cat helped me beat everyone to my first spot and I ended up staying there all day.”
Keller said he used a ½-ounce, War Eagle spinnerbait and a Neko-rigged 5-inch, green-pumpkin Yamamoto Senko to catch his fish. He said he caught around eight keepers on the day, and weighed all largemouth.
“I worked the spinnerbait slow. The bite got better around 9 a.m. when the sun came up,” said Keller. “I caught my biggest fish – a 4-pounder – on a Neko rig at about 9:30 (a.m.).
“My MotorGuide X5 trolling motor kept me locked on my spot which ended up being huge for me,” Keller went on to say. “I didn’t have to worry about drifting off or losing my spot when I retied. I had a lot of boats around me, but I could relax and just fish when it was on.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Mike Keller, Metropolis, Ill., five bass, 16-14, $3,083
2nd: Nathan Murphy, Harrisburg, Ill., five bass, 13-5, $1,442
3rd: Jeremy Mull, Pawnee, Ill., five bass, 12-2, $1,310
4th: Brennon McCord, West Frankfort, Ill., five bass, 11-15, $673
5th: Riley Walk, Neoga, Ill., five bass, 11-9, $577
6th: Toby Corn, Calvert City, Ky., five bass, 10-7, $679
7th: Hilton Jones, Westfield, Ill., five bass, 9-12, $481
8th: Robert Neff, Roodhouse, Ill., five bass, 9-11, $408
8th: Matt Weber, Glen Carbon, Ill., four bass, 9-11, $408
10th: Mike Barnes, Mackinaw, Ill., five bass, 9-6, $636
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Terry Marucco of Sullivan, Illinois, caught a bass weighing 5 pounds even – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $320.
Aaron Arning of Walnut Hill, Illinois, won the Co-angler Division and $1,642 Saturday after catching four bass weighing 11 pounds, 5 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Aaron Arning, Walnut Hill, Ill., four bass, 11-5, $1,642
2nd: Lewis Mallory, Martinsville, Ind., five bass, 10-15, $721
3rd: Nathan Day, Jewett, Ill., four bass, 8-13, $409
3rd: Dale Renth, Mascoutah, Ill., five bass, 8-13, $459
5th: Jacob Greco, Edwardsville, Ill., three bass, 6-14, $288
6th: Matt Chumbler, Carbondale, Ill., three bass, 6-12, $264
7th: Jason Piper, Collinsville, Ill., four bass, 6-9, $240
8th: Dave Dobill, Royalton, Ill., three bass, 5-13, $216
9th: Ryan Fancher, Olney, Ill., four bass, 5-4, $192
10th: Ryan Cain, Decatur, Ill., one bass, 5-3, $328
Cain caught the heaviest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 3 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $160.
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 2020 BFL All-American will be held April 30-May 2 at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina, and is hosted by Visit Anderson. 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, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Zimbabwe. 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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