ROCKWOOD, Tenn. – Boater John Murray of Spring City, Tennessee, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 28 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Volunteer Division super-tournament on Watts Bar Lake Sunday. Murray earned $7,334 for his efforts.
“I fished in the lower end of the lake, main-lake near the dam,” said Murray, a West Coast fishing legend who has accumulated more than $1.2 million dollars in career earnings as a professional angler. “I felt pretty good about this tournament, because I had a good shallow-water pattern and also a couple of deep areas for when the weather cleared up and got sunny.
“Saturday was awesome – I think I caught around 15 to 20 keepers,” Murray continued. “Both my co-angler and I had great days – he ended up winning as well. Sunday was tough, though. I only boated five keepers, and my co-angler only boated two. Luckily, it was enough for us to both get the wins.”
Murray said that of the 10 fish that he weighed in, seven – including his big ones – came from his shallow-water pattern while three came from out deep. Murray threw a Z-Man Evergreen ChatterBait Jack Hammer with a clear-sparkle-colored shad-shaped fluke-type bait while fishing shallow and drop-shotted a red bug-colored Gene Larew TattleTail Worm out deep.
“The key was having my deep spots for when the sun got up,” Murray said. “A couple of the deep areas were loaded up, and I was able to find them using my Garmin electronics to key in on the right spots.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: John Murray, Spring City, Tenn., 10 bass, 28-11, $5,334 + $2,000 Ranger Cup
2nd: Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., 10 bass, 27-1, $2,667
3rd: Lance Doughty, Sweetwater, Tenn., nine bass, 24-12, $1,444
4th: Tyler Meredith, Oliver Springs, Tenn., 10 bass, 24-0, $1,111
5th: Jonathan Bowling, Harriman, Tenn., nine bass, 23-0, $1,117
6th: Derek Lehtonen, Woodruff, S.C., nine bass, 21-12, $795
7th: Joseph Tallent, Madisonville, Tenn., eight bass, 21-0, $1,217
8th: Alex Hester, Crossville, Tenn., 10 bass, 19-8, $650
9th: Tee Watkins, East Point, Ky., seven bass, 16-15, $728
10th: Archie Wilson Jr., Corryton, Tenn., nine bass, 16-9, $506
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Tallent caught a 5-pound, 11-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the event’s Boater Big Bass award of $495.
Curtis Crooke of Washburn, Tennessee, won the Co-angler Division and $2,312 Sunday after catching a two-day total of seven bass weighing 16 pounds, 7 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Curtis Crooke, Washburn, Tenn., seven bass, 16-7, $2,312
2nd: Marty Barnes, Crossville, Tenn., six bass, 14-11, $1,181
3rd: William Kissinger, Knoxville, Tenn., four bass, 11-15, $963
4th: Eric Moore, Union, Ky., four bass, 10-1, $505
5th: Brandon Harris, Spring City, Tenn., six bass, 9-15, $482
6th: Brandon Garrison, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 9-5, $396
7th: Bill King, Greenback, Tenn., seven bass, 9-3, $360
8th: Chris Frazier, Gate City, Va., five bass, 8-15, $324
9th: Larry Brumett Jr., Bristol, Tenn., four bass, 8-8, $388
10th: Tom Godsey, Chickamauga, Ga., four bass, 6-6, $252
Kissinger caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 6 ounces. The catch earned him the event’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $240.
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. 3-5 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Hartwell presented by Navionics in Seneca, South Carolina. 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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