Fishing & Boating News

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

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

Thadeus Ragan of West Park, Florida, weighed a 5-bass limit totaling 26 lbs, 8 ozs to win the Gator Division Super Tournament with a two2-day total of 10 bass weighing 47 lbs, 10 ozs. Ragan earned $6,922 for his win.
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(Aug 31, 2015 - OKeechobee, FL) Thadeus Ragan of West Park, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 26 pounds, 8 ounces Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division Super Tournament on Lake Okeechobee with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 47 pounds, 10 ounces. For his victory, Ragan earned $6,922.
“I was catching them along a half-mile stretch of hydrilla in the northwest corner of the lake,” said Ragan of his first win in FLW competition. “I was looking for thick patches that still had some scattered hydrilla on the edges.
“On day one I stopped hitting the area around 1 p.m. so the fish could replenish,” continued Ragan. “I was hooking bass in the 4-pound range and was culling 4-pounders as well, so I knew I needed to take it easy.”
Ragan said his primary baits were a black hollow-bodied frog and a chartreuse-colored Heddon Zara Spook which he fished in approximately 3½ feet of water.
“The fishing on day two was much more difficult,” said Ragan. “I actually lost four big bites each day, but when you’re using a hollow-bodied frog, that will happen.
“Over the course of the tournament, the bite seemed to pick up around 11 o’clock,” continued Ragan. “Beyond that I’d get a bite here and there. It was pretty scattered throughout the day.
“I’d like to thank Aqua Tech Marine in Palm Bay, Florida,” said Ragan. “They set me up with a boat and all of the right equipment. They were a big part of the win.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st:          Thadeus Ragan, West Park, Fla., 10 bass, 47-10, $6,922
2nd:         Nathan Thomas, Weirsdale, Fla., 10 bass, 44-1, $3,461
3rd:          Austin Murray, Deland, Fla., 10 bass, 41-5, $2,306
4th:          Keith Burden, Seminole, Fla., 10 bass, 39-0, $1,615
5th:          Kail Stevens, Boynton Beach, Fla., nine bass, 38-14, $1,384
6th:          Ken Fitton, Loxahatchee, Fla., 10 bass, 37-6, $1,269
7th:          Raymond Trudeau, Saint Cloud, Fla., 10 bass, 36-8, $1,154
8th:          Matthew Wieteha, Miami, Fla., 10 bass, 35-4, $1,038
9th:          Ty Fox, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., 10 bass, 34-7, $923
10th:        Corey Roberts, Fort Myers, Fla., 10 bass, 33-15, $808
Keith Fels of Ocala, Florida, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division, a fish weighing 9 pounds, 3 ounces and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $1,020.
Doug Glisson of Clewiston, Florida, won the co-angler division and $3,461 with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 40 pounds, 1 ounce.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st:          Doug Glisson, Clewiston, Fla., 10 bass, 40-1, $3,461
2nd:         Ernie Thompson, Anthony, Fla., 10 bass, 38-15, $1,730
3rd:          Brandon Branch, Crystal River, Fla., 10 bass, 33-6, $1,154
4th:          David Gallant, Inverness, Fla., 10 bass, 32-10, $808
5th:          Phillip Ford, Clewiston, Fla., 10 bass, 31-9, $692
6th:          Antoni Bicy, Jacksonville, Fla., 10 bass, 29-11, $635
7th:          Jason Pike, Greenacres, Fla., 10 bass, 28-0, $577
8th:          Jay Trudel, Boca Raton, Fla., 10 bass, 27-8, $519
9th:          Jesse Forthun, Cape Coral, Fla., 10 bass, 27-6, $461
10th:        Robert Lauffer, Clermont, Fla., nine bass, 26-15, $404
Branch caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $510.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings now 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.
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.