ANDERSON, S.C. – Fifty-five of the top weekend boaters and co-anglers from across the country continued their three-day battle Thursday for a top prize of $120,000 at the 37th annual Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American on Lake Hartwell presented by TINCUP.
Rainy weather, which had been heavy overnight, greeted anglers to start the second day of competition. The rain tapered off after takeoff, then cloudy and slick conditions set in before turning in to a pleasant weather day, with lots of sun and a nice breeze. After weighing a respectable 11-pound, 7-ounce limit on the opening day of competition, boater Todd Goade of White Pine, Tennessee, vaulted to the top of the leaderboard after Day 2 by weighing a five-bass limit for 13 pounds, 2 ounces. Goade’s two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 24 pounds, 9 ounces gives him a 1-pound, 13-ounce lead over second place angler Roger Fitzpatrick of Eldon, Missouri, heading into the third and final day of competition.
The 2020 All-American features a field of the top 55 boaters and 55 co-anglers from across the 24-division Bass Fishing League, The Bass Federation, Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI and High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing, competing for a grand prize of up to $120,000 in the boater division and $50,000 in the co-angler division.
“The last two days, I’ve made the right decisions at the right times and it has worked out, so far,” said Goade, who qualified for this event out of the Bass Fishing League Volunteer division. “During practice I noticed that you needed to be in certain places at a certain time, and the fish that I’m trying to catch, I need the sun to shine for them to be on target.
“It’s been cloudy, so I’ve been stopping pretty short of my target and just working my way up to them. I’ve caught a lot of fish before I even get to the cover. As the sun came out today, the fishing got better in the afternoon. So, it’s worked out real well. I’m trying not to force anything and just let it happen.”
Goade estimated that he caught 12 to 13 keepers on Wednesday, then added another 15 to 20 keepers today. He said he’s done the majority of his damage with a Zoom worm on a shaky-head rig and a 1/8-ounce Pulse jig with an unnamed Damiki plastic.
“The fish are feeding on really small bait right now,” Goade said. “Normally they’re eating 3- to 5-inch herring, but right now they’re eating 1- to 1½-inch shad, so I’ve kind of matched the hatch with that Pulse jig.”
When asked if he was feeling any nerves leading this event heading into the final day of competition, Goade said he was hopeful, but content.
“Even if I zero tomorrow, this has already been one of the best weeks I’ve ever had in my fishing career,” Goade said. “I don’t feel any extra pressure. When it’s your time, it’s your time and if it’s meant to be it’ll happen. I’m going to do the same thing that I’ve done the last two days, and I’m just going fishing.”
The top 10 boaters advancing to the final day of competition on Lake Hartwell are:
1st: Todd Goade, White Pine, Tenn., 10 bass, 24-9
2nd: Roger Fitzpatrick, Eldon, Mo., 10 bass, 22-12
3rd: Bryan Dowdy, Florence, Ala., 10 bass, 22-5
4th: Dustin Lippe, Lampe, Mo., 10 bass, 22-4
5th: Chris Macy, Diamond, Mo., 10 bass, 21-9
6th: Jayme Rampey, Liberty, S.C., 10 bass, 21-9
7th: Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, 10 bass, 20-9
8th: Dennis Berhorst, Holts Summit, Mo., 10 bass, 20-7
9th: Randall Allen, Owens Cross Roads, Ala., 10 bass, 20-1
10th: Kip Carter, Mansfield, Ga., 10 bass, 20-0
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Overall, there were 214 bass weighing 391 pounds, 14 ounces, caught by 52 boaters Thursday. The catch included 34 five-bass limits.
Justin Kimmel of Athens, Georgia, leads the Co-angler Division with 10 bass weighing 18 pounds, 12 ounces, followed by Dalton Steele of Cherokee, Alabama, in second place with 10 bass weighing 18 pounds, 5 ounces.
The final 10 co-anglers are:
1st: Justin Kimmel, Athens, Ga., 10 bass, 18-12
2nd: Dalton Steele, Cherokee, Ala., 10 bass, 18-5
3rd: David Blankinship, Cushing, Okla., 10 bass, 16-8
4th: Kerry Harris, Bethel Island, Calif., 10 bass, 14-13
5th: Jeff Rikard, Leesville, S.C., 10 bass, 14-10
6th: Andrew Wiley, Joppa, Md., 10 bass, 14-8
7th: Leo Reiter, Greenup, Ill., 10 bass, 13-6
8th: Cole Sands, Calhoun, Tenn., 10 bass, 13-6
9th: Larry Rothweil, St. Charles, Mo., 10 bass, 12-14
10th: Kibbee McCoy, Knoxville, Tenn., 10 bass, 12-14
Overall, there were 138 bass weighing 219 pounds, 5 ounces, caught by 46 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 13 five-bass limits.
The final 10 All-American boaters and co-anglers will take off from Green Pond Landing, located at 470 Green Pond Road in Anderson, at 7:30 a.m. EST Friday. Friday’s Championship weigh-in will be held at the landing at 4 p.m. Attendance is limited to anglers, family and essential staff. Fans are encouraged to follow the event online through the daily coverage, live blogs and photos at FLWFishing.com.
The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American presented by T-H Marine on Lake Hartwell presented by TINCUP is hosted by Visit Anderson.
Television coverage of the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP will premiere Jan. 2, 2021, on the Outdoor Channel, Jan. 4, 2021, on the World Fishing Network and featured in the FLW television series on YouTube.com/FLWFishing. FLW television is also distributed internationally to FLW partner countries, including Canada, China, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Zimbabwe.
The 2020 All-American field of 55 boaters and 55 co-anglers was comprised of the top six boaters and co-anglers from each of the six Bass Fishing League Regional Championships held in 2019, along with the top six boaters and co-anglers from the 2019 Wild Card tournament. They were joined by the top boater and co-angler from each of the seven divisions at the 2020 TBF National Championship, along with both members of the second, third and fourth-place teams at the 2020 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance, who competed as boaters. The fifth and sixth place teams from the College Fishing National Championship and the winning team from the 2019 High School Fishing National Championship competed as co-anglers.
In addition to the cash payouts, the highest-finishing boater and co-angler from each of seven Regional Championships (including the Wild Card) at the All-American will advance to the 2020 Toyota Series Championship next month on Lake Cumberland for a shot at winning $235,000 and $33,500, respectively.
The full field of anglers competed on Wednesday and Thursday, with only the top 10 boaters and top 10 co-anglers based on cumulative weight from the first two days continuing to Championship Friday. The 2020 All-American champions will be determined by the heaviest three-day total weight.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine 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 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, FLW and its 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 Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. Acquired by Major League Fishing in late 2019, FLW is expanding its programming in 2020 to the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel as well as on-demand at MyOutdoorTV (MOTV).
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