Fishing & Boating News

Johnston Wins Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division Opener on James River

Honeycutt wins co-angler title  

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

Cory Johnston of Peterborough, Ontario, weighed a 5-bass limit totaling 17 lbs, 14 oz Saturday to win.
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(Jun 6, 2015 - HENRICO, VA.)  Cory Johnston of Peterborough, Ontario, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division opener on James River presented by Mercury with a three-day total of 14 bass weighing 46 pounds, 14 ounces. For his win, Johnston earned $31,229 and a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
 
“It feels absolutely incredible to win this tournament,” said Johnston, who has nine career top-10 finishes. “I’ve finished in second place too many times in these events before so I couldn’t be happier.”
 
On day one of competition, Johnston said he targeted the outside edges of lily pad fields throughout 15 different spots on Chickahominy River.
 
“It was raining so we had some flood tide,” said Johnston. “I started out using a Jackall square-billed crankbait but soon switched to flipping a jig. Shortly before noon I caught a 6-pound, 6-ouncer which helped get the momentum going.”
 
With 30 minutes left in his day, Johnston said he lost a fish at the side of the boat which would’ve capped off his five-bass limit.
 
“It was a tough bite all day,” said Johnston. “I only ended up catching four keepers.”
 
Heading into day two, Johnston followed a similar pattern as head the previous day but quickly changed strategies – a move he described as the turning point in the tournament.
 
“Shortly after takeoff I realized what I was doing wasn’t working,” Johnston said. “I began flipping into shallow pads and lost a good one. At that point I grabbed a black and blue-colored Punisher Jig with a black-colored Zoom Super Chunk and started flipping to the inside of pad beds instead of the outside. As the day went on I found success in inconspicuous spots that weren’t being hit by other competitors.”
 
Johnson said he finished the day by catching nearly 20 fish, all on the Punisher Jig.
 
“As day three approached I knew exactly what I was going to do,” said Johnston. “I had five or six key spots that I wanted to hit. They were all in anywhere from 1 to 3 feet of water. I went to the first spot and caught two small keepers. After a few minutes, I boated a 7-pounder. I had three good-sized fish before 8 a.m. and figured I was in contender for the title.”
 
The top 10 pros on the James River were:
 
               1st:          Cory Johnston, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, 14 bass, 46-14, $31,229 + Ranger Z518  w/ 200-horsepower outboard motor
               2nd:         Dave Lefebre, Erie, Pa., 15 bass, 46-7, $12,101
               3rd:          Kelly Pratt, Williamsburg, Va., 15 bass, 46-2, $9,369
               4th:          Ryan Powroznik, Prince George, Va., 15 bass, 46-2, $7,807
               5th:          Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., 15 bass, 42-6, $7,027
               6th:          Bryan Elrod, Mechanicsville, Va., 15 bass, 40-14, $6,246
               7th:          Bo Boltz, New Kent, Va., 15 bass, 40-6, $5,465
               8th:          Clay Lewis, Sandston, Va., 15 bass, 39-9, $4,684
               9th:          Glenn Browne, Ocala, Fla., 15 bass, 38-12, $3,904
               10th:        Jeffrey Ware, Warrenton, Va., 15 bass, 33-12, $3,123
    
 Keith Honeycutt of Temple, Texas, won the co-angler division and a Ranger Z117C with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor, with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 30 pounds, 10 ounces. Honeycutt’s win was his seventh as a co-angler with FLW.
 
The top 10 co-anglers on the James River were:
             
               1st:          Keith Honeycutt, Temple, Texas, 15 bass, 30-10, Ranger Z117 w/ 90-horsepower outboard + $5,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
               2nd:         Rick Harkness, St. Marys, W. Va., 12 bass, 30-7, $3,949
               3rd:          Tyler Sheppard, Hermitage, Pa., 13 bass, 28-9, $3,160
               4th:          Matt Hummel, Lancaster, Pa., 15 bass, 28-2, $2,765
               5th:          Robert Bruguiere, Mechanicsville, Va., 13 bass, 27-13, $2,370
               6th:          Stephen Kocell, Waxhaw, N.C., 14 bass, 25-7, $1,975
               7th:          David Underwood, Waco, Texas, 10 bass, 22-7, $1,580
               8th:          Gavin Stone, Chester, Va., nine bass, 22-5, $1,382
               9th:          David Williams, Fredericksburg, Va., nine bass, 21-9, $1,185
               10th:        Zachary Francis, Abingdon, Va., 11 bass, 20-8, $987
                  
 
The Rayovac FLW Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the no-entry-fee Rayovac FLW Series Championship. The 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Championship is being held Oct. 29-31 on the Ohio River in Paducah, Kentucky.
 
The Rayovac FLW Series on the James River was presented by Mercury and was the first Northern Division tournament of 2015. The next Rayovac FLW Series tournament will be a Northern Division event and will take place July 31 through Aug. 1 on Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, New York. For a complete schedule, visit FLWFishing.com.
 
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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.