Fishing & Boating News

Morfis Wins Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division Event on Lake Okeechobee

Rudolph wins co-angler title

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

Joshua Morfis of Cape Coral, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 34 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the Gator Division tournament on Lake Okeechobee and a check for $6,300.
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(Apr 20, 2015 - OKEECHOBEE, FL.)  Joshua Morfis of Cape Coral, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 34 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Okeechobee. For his victory, Morfis earned $6,336.
 
Joshua Morfis of Cape Coral, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 34 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the Gator Division tournament on Lake Okeechobee and a check for $6,300. (FLW)
 
“It feels great to win a tournament,” said Morfis. “I love fishing on Lake Okeechobee and to see all of my hard work finally pay off is really nice.”
 
Morfis said that he headed 35 miles south to his first spot where he targeted fish that were moving in shallow to spawn.
 
“I flipped the Kissimmee grass and bulrushes where the fish were sitting in 4 to 5 feet of water,” Morfis said. “I used a green pumpkin-colored Gambler Otter with a black and blue-colored Eco Pro Honey Badger Punch Skirt.
 
“On my third cast I caught a 9-pound fish,” Morfis continued. “After that the bite slowed down.”
 
After filling out his five-bass limit with smaller fish, Morfis said that he knew he’d need more weight to win. He decided to make a move to his second spot where he stuck an 8-pounder shortly after arriving.
 
“Five minutes after the 8-pounder, I caught a 7-pound fish and then a 6-pounder just ten minutes later,” Morfis said. “I got eight big bites in the second spot and put seven of them in the boat.”
 
Morfis went on to say he caught approximately 25 to 30 fish during the course of the tournament.
 
“The key for me was stumbling on those prespawn fish while searching for the postspawn fish,” Morfis said. “I knew my two spots I targeted had the potential to produce a top-10 finish so I put my hat down, grinded it out and it worked out for me.”
 
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
 
1st:          Joshua Morfis, Cape Coral, Fla., five bass, 34-14, $5,336 + $1,000 Mercury Bonus
2nd:         Donny Bass, Naples, Fla., five bass, 28-3, $2,668
3rd:          Justin Morgan, Okeechobee, Fla., five bass, 25-9, $1,780
4th:          Greg Hughes, Inverness, Fla., five bass, 23-15, $1,245
5th:          Terry Oliver, Belleview, Fla., five bass, 21-9, $1,067
6th:          Anthony Ford, New Smyrna, Fla., five bass, 21-2, $978
7th:          Buck Durrance, Okeechobee, Fla., five bass, 21-1, $844
7th:          Jeremy Hobson, Plant City, Fla., five bass, 21-1, $844
9th:          Mark Lundgren, Cocoa, Fla., five bass, 20-7, $712
10th:        Bruce Carter, Okeechobee, Fla., five bass, 20-4, $591
10th:        Fred George, Okeechobee, Fla., five bass, 20-4, $591
             
Hunter Abowd of Clewiston, Florida, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division – a monster weighing 11 pounds, 10 ounces – and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $840.
 
Jessey Rudolph of Deltona, Florida, weighed in a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win $2,668 in the co-angler division.
 
The top 10 co-anglers were:
 
1st:          Jessey Rudolph, Deltona, Fla., five bass, 21-8, $2,668
2nd:         Phillip Ford, Clewiston, Fla., five bass, 17-10, $1,334
3rd:          Scott Kirsch, Edgewater, Fla., five bass, 17-3, $888
4th:          Jose Luis Gallardo, Belle Glade, Fla., five bass, 15-12, $623
5th:          Nick Ahearn, Tampa, Fla., five bass, 15-9, $534
6th:          Albert Winter, Boca Raton, Fla., five bass, 15-2, $489
7th:          Robert Branagh, Palm Bay, Fla., five bass, 15-1, $422
7th:          Brian Cole, Sebastian, Fla., five bass, 15-1, $422
9th:          Jeff Peterson, Lake Worth, Fla., five bass, 14-7, $356
10th:        Joshua Kelting, Port Saint Lucie, Fla., five bass, 14-5, $311
 
Ahearn caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $420.
 
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 8-10 Regional Championship on Lake Sinclair in Milledgeville, Georgia. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
 
The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 120 tournaments throughout the season, five in each division. The top 50 boaters and co-anglers from each division qualify for a regional tournament and compete to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Walmart BFL All-American. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the Rayovac FLW Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.
 
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FLW is the industry’s premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2015 over the course of 240 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport’s richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.