Fishing & Boating News

Owen Wins Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division Event on Lake Gaston

Whittaker wins co-angler title  

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

Richard Owen of Chester, Va., won the May 9 Piedmont Division event on Lake  Gaston with an 18-pound, 3-ounce limit to earn over $7,500.
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(May 11, 2015 - BRACEY, VA.) Richard Owen of Chester, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 3 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Gaston. For his victory, Owen earned $6,830.
 
Owen said he sight-fished spawning beds in the backs of main-lake coves in order to catch his winning stringer.
 
“I was fishing shallow, not too far from the launch ramp around Holly Grove Creek,” said Owen, who earned his first career win after nine previous top-10 finishes in BFL competition. “The bite was strong anywhere shade hit the water, like on the sides of boat docks or around trees. There was also a lot of dead grass from last year that the fish were spawning in.”
 
Owen said his bait of choice was a wacky-rigged watermelon-colored Zoom Finesse Worm.
 
“I caught my kicker around 8:30 a.m. At that point I felt pretty good about my strategy of bed fishing,” said Owen. “I stuck with the worm and the bites stayed consistent.”
 
Owen said he caught around 12 fish throughout the day, from 2 to 5 feet of water.
 
“I didn’t think I was going to win it by as much weight as I did,” said Owen. “It was one of those surprises I don’t mind having.”
 
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
 
1st:          Richard Owen, Chester, Va., five bass, 18-3, $4,830 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd:         Brian Calloway, Danville, Va., five bass, 16-8, $2,415
3rd:          Shawn Hammack, Gasburg, Va., five bass, 16-7, $1,609
4th:          Wesley Harris, Rustburg, Va., five bass, 15-15, $1,127
5th:          Steve Wagner, Raleigh, N.C., five bass, 15-11, $925
5th:          Bryan Welch, Greensboro, N.C., five bass, 15-11, $925
7th:          Robert House, Nashville, N.C., five bass, 15-8, $805
8th:          Ryan Harrell, Emporia, Va., five bass, 15-7, $684
8th:          Ryan Reynolds, Danville, Va., five bass, 15-7, $684
10th:        Carlton Owens, Franklin, Va., five bass, 15-4, $563
             
Owen also caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division, a fish weighing 5 pounds, 11 ounces and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $720.
 
Chris Whittaker of Waverly, Virginia, weighed in a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win $2,381 in the co-angler division.
 
The top 10 co-anglers were:
 
1st:          Chris Whittaker, Waverly, Va., five bass, 12-7, $2,381
2nd:         Kenneth Johnson, Richmond, Va., five bass, 12-4, $1,191
3rd:          Hunter Collins, Sanford, N.C., four bass, 11-13, $791
4th:          Matthew Oakley, Farmville, N.C., four bass, 11-11, $556
5th:          Lee Johnson, Charlottesville, Va., five bass, 11-9, $476
6th:          Marvin Reese, Gwynn Oak, Md., four bass, 11-5, $437
7th:          Ryan Brown, Emporia, Va., five bass, 10-4, $397
8th:          Clint Daniels, Kittrell, N.C., five bass, 10-3, $357
9th:          Brian Stack, Nanjemoy, Md., five bass, 10-2, $318
10th:        Scott Mooneyham, Fayetteville, N.C., three bass, 9-12, $278
 
Collins caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $355.
 
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 8-10 Regional Championship on the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. 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.
 
ABOUT FLW
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.