SHELBYVILLE, Ill. – Boater Bradley Smith of Saint Jacob, Illinois, took home the win at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament on Lake Shelbyville Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 23 pounds, 7 ounces. For his win, Smith pocketed $7,310.
“I took off each morning with one rod on the deck,” said Smith, who notched his first win as a boater in BFL competition. “I was pitching to shallow wood, mid-lake. I fished a 3-mile section, anywhere from 2 to 10 feet of water. The first day was sunny, with no wind. The second day we had clouds and rain. I was pretty worried the wood pattern wouldn’t hold up but it ended up working out.”
Smith said he flipped a Texas-rigged, green pumpkin-colored Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver with a 3/8-ounce Strike King Tour Grade tungsten weight.
“The fish were in transition from summer to fall patterns – the bites were hard to come by,” said Smith. “It was sporadic each day. I was able to get a lot in practice that I ended up shaking off. Fortunately, a lot of those fish bit during the tournament.”
Smith said he caught five keepers Saturday and seven on Sunday.
“The best anglers in Illinois compete in this division, so to get a win – especially at a two-day event – was pretty special for me.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Bradley Smith, Saint Jacob, Ill., 10 bass, 23-7, $5,310 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Daniel Nussmeyer, Cisne, Ill., eight bass, 22-15, $2,155
3rd: Andrew Harper, Shelbyville, Ill., 10 bass, 20-5, $1,669
4th: Jeremy Mull, Pawnee, Ill., nine bass, 19-2, $1,209
5th: John Wright, Windsor, Ill., eight bass, 18-12, $822
6th: Garrett McDowell, Mattoon, Ill., nine bass, 17-4, $754
7th: Bobby McMullin, Pevely, Mo., eight bass, 16-15, $685
8th: Travis Wilson, La Harpe, Ill., four bass, 14-2, $1,059
9th: James Williams, Neoga, Ill., seven bass, 12-8, $548
10th: Chad Diedrich, Nashville, Ill., seven bass, 12-2, $480
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Wilson caught a bass weighing 4 pounds, 10 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $442.
Ryan Murphy of Paris, Illinois, won the Co-angler Division and $2,055 Sunday after catching a two-day total of seven bass weighing 21 pounds, 15 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Ryan Murphy, Paris, Ill., seven bass , 21-15, $2,055
2nd: Dave Dobill, Royalton, Ill., eight bass, 14-10, $1,028
3rd: Aaron Arning, Walnut Hill, Ill., six bass, 11-13, $884
4th: Drew Coleman, Jackson, Mo., four bass, 9-14, $480
5th: Ryan Fancher, Olney, Ill., five bass, 8-15, $461
6th: Mike Swetland, Tamaroa, Ill., three bass, 7-9, $527
7th: Eugene Kim, Lindenhurst, Ill., three bass, 6-4, $343
8th: Dillon Saffle, Ballwin, Mo., two bass, 6-3, $308
9th: Jeff Kirby, Philo, Ill., two bass, 4-15, $274
10th: Ross Davis, St. Elmo, Ill., one bass, 4-13, $461
Davis caught the heaviest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 13 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $221.
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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