Fishing & Boating News

Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional Tournament Presented by Mercury Set for Lake Of The Ozarks

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

(Oct 14, 2015 - OSAGE BEACH, MO.)  The Walmart Bass Fishing League (BFL) is headed to Lake of the Ozarks Oct. 22-24 for one of six BFL regional championships. The three-day tournament, presented by Mercury, will feature the top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers from each of the Arkie, Cowboy, Illini and Okie divisions.
Anglers will take to the water to compete for the top prize of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Evinrude outboard and $20,000 in the Boater Division and a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Evinrude outboard in the Co-angler division. The top six boaters and co-anglers will also qualify for the 2016 Walmart BFL All-American – one of the longest running championships in competitive bass fishing.
“The bass are currently stuck between their summer and fall patterns due to unseasonably warm weather, so we’ll likely see a couple of different approaches in this event,” said 20-year Walmart FLW Tour veteran Dion Hibdon of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, the 2000 Forrest Wood Cup champion. “Right now, the water temperature is hovering around 70 degrees and bass are active near some deeper brush piles. That’s the kind of stuff we typically see in August. If these temperatures hold, we’ll likely see anglers fishing the brush and flipping a worm to docks, or using square-billed crankbaits or spinnerbaits.  
“If the weather cools down and the water temperature drops into the sixties, it could be a drastically different tournament,” continued Hibdon. “Bass will be transitioning to the shallower depths near the bank. If that’s the case, topwater baits, spinnerbaits and flipping a jig to natural cover should do well. I could see large, 20-pound stringers coming from these shallow-water patterns.”
Hibdon went on to say a three-day catch nearing 58 pounds would likely be enough weight to win this event.
“Everything is going to depend on how the weather is leading up to the first day of competition,” said Hibdon.
Anglers will take off from the Public Beach No. 2 ramp located at 711 Public Beach Road in Osage Beach at 7:30 a.m. CST each day. Weigh-ins on Thursday and Friday will be held at the launch ramp beginning at 3:30 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at Walmart, located at 4252 Highway 54 in Osage Beach at 4:30 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
The BFL Regional Championship event on Lake of the Ozarks is being hosted by the Tri-County Lodging Association & The Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau.
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 are competing 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.