GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – Boater Cole Floyd of Leesburg, Ohio, – an FLW College Fishing standout from Bethel University – brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 44 pounds, 15 ounces, to win the no-entry fee T-H Marine FLW BFL Regional Championship on Lake Guntersville presented by Mercury Marine Saturday. For the win, Floyd earned $71,200, including a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Evinrude outboard and automatic entry into the 2020 BFL All-American Championship, April 30-May 2, at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina.
Floyd, who won the LBL Division Angler of the Year title this year for the third year in a row, knew the tough fall conditions on Guntersville would call for some flexibility.
“The first day I fished an area, and it was just a bunch of schooling fish that were just keepers,” he said. “I tried to start there and catch a limit, and then I’d go to try to get a big bite or two. As tough as it was, I knew 14 pounds would be pretty good.”
He came up just short of that mark on day one with 12 pounds, 6 ounces, but the spot at which Floyd caught his schooling keepers on day one was good enough to return to each day to get a limit and some confidence for the rest of the day.
He was able to catch one 5-pounder there, but otherwise used it just as a limit spot. After that, his plan worked perfectly, as Floyd caught one or two big ones after he left.
After leaving his starting spot, Floyd fished new water every day and “junk-fished” for the most part, weighing in all his fish on several different baits: a Strike King Sexy Dawg, a Strike King Thunder Cricket with a Strike King Rage Twin Tail Menace trailer or a Strike King Rodent with a 1/2-ounce tungsten weight.
The Sexy Dawg, which did the heavy lifting to the tune of 16 pounds on day three, was perhaps the real key bait for Floyd’s victory, though.
“The final day I caught them all on it [the Sexy Dawg], and I caught them off a place I never caught them before,” he said.
The Leesburg, Ohio, native plans to make a push to fish professionally when he graduates from Bethel. For now, Floyd is just focused on adding more wins to his resume.
“It feels good,” he said. “I finished second the last couple years a handful of times, and I really didn’t think I was going to win. I thought I was going to get another second place. To finally pull one off and win a boat and everything is a pretty cool deal. I’m just excited.”
The top six boaters that qualified for the 2020 BFL All-American were:
1st: Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, 15 bass, 44-15, $20,000 + Ranger Z518L w/200-horsepower outboard
2nd: Jeramiah Sifers, New Albany, Ind., 15 bass, 44-5, $10,100
3rd: Ryan Davidson, Branchland, W. Va., 15 bass, 42-7, $5,000
4th: Billy Schroeder, Paducah, Ky., 15 bass, 42-4, $3,000
5th: Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., 15 bass, 39-2, $2,000
6th: Jason Hester, Phil Campbell, Ala., 14 bass, 34-15, $1,800
Rounding out the top-10 boaters were:
7th: Dathan Jones, Harrodsburg, Ky., 15 bass, 32-15, $1,600
8th: Josh Stracner, Vandiver, Ala., 10 bass, 32-4, $1,400
9th: Mark Willins, Collierville, Tenn., 12 bass, 29-14, $1,200
10th: Matt Stanley, Alexandria, Tenn., 12 bass, 28-15, $1,000
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Dalton Steele of Cherokee, Alabama, weighed in nine bass over three days totaling 28 pounds, 2 ounces to win the top co-angler prize package of $50,000, including a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Evinrude outboard.
The top six co-anglers that qualified for the 2020 BFL All-American were:
1st: Dalton Steele, Cherokee, Ala., nine bass, 28-2, Ranger Z518L w/200-horsepower outboard
2nd: Joel Ross, Brandon, Miss., 11 bass, 28-1, $5,100
3rd: Taylor Wisniewski, Lexington, Ky., nine bass, 23-12, $2,550
4th: Joshua Moore, Petal, Miss., nine bass, 23-3, $1,500
5th: Don White, Columbus, Miss., nine bass, 22-0, $1,000
6th: Alan Scott, Shelbyville, Ind., six bass, 21-10, $900
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers were:
7th: Tommy Nichols, Fayette, Ala., 10 bass, 21-7, $800
8th: Jimmy Tisdale, Ellisville, Miss., seven bass, 21-0, $700
9th: Michael Anderson, Newton, Ala., eight bass, 17-4, $600
10th: Nick Haunert, Maineville, Ohio, six bass, 17-2, $500
The T-H Marine FLW BFL Regional Championship on Lake Guntersville presented by Mercury Marine was hosted by the Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau. It featured the top pros and co-anglers from the Bama (Alabama), LBL (Kentucky), Mississippi, and Mountain (Kentucky-Tennessee) divisions.
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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