Fishing & Boating News

Devere Wins Walmart Bass Fishing League Wild Card Tournament on Lake Hartwell

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

Mike Devere of Berea, Kentucky, weighed 5 bass totaling 12 lbs even to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Wild Card on Lake Hartwell with a 2-day total of 10 bass weighing 21 lbs, 11 ozs.
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(Nov 16, 2015 - )

Mike Devere of Berea, Kentucky, weighed five bass totaling 12 pounds even Saturday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League (BFL) Wild Card on Lake Hartwell with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 21 pounds, 11 ounces. For his win, Devere earned $3,696 and a berth into the 2016 BFL All-American Championship – one of the longest running championships in competitive bass fishing.
 
Devere won the event by targeting rock structure in four different areas mid-lake within a five-mile radius of each other. He said the most productive locations were mud banks that had a little bit of rock mixed in.


“The water levels have come up nearly 8 feet over the past several weeks, but I found that the bass weren’t congregating any shallower,” said Devere, a 20-year veteran of FLW competition. “They were staying out deep so I dragged my jig along the bottom and was able to get something going.”
Devere said he caught eight keepers both days of the tournament using one lure – a black and blue-colored ½-ounce Zorro Booza Bug Jig rigged with a green-pumpkin Zoom Big Salty Chunk.


“The bass really liked the Booza Bug,” said Devere. “Sometimes I’d hop it or twitch it, but I soon discovered that the fish preferred it to be dragged slowly, so I stuck with that technique each day and it worked out.”


The top six boaters that qualified for the 2016 BFL All-American were:
               1st:          Mike Devere, Berea, Ky., 10 bass, 21-11, $3,696
               2nd:         Jim Eakin, Clarksville, Tenn., 10 bass, 20-8   
               3rd:          Scott Towry, Lawrenceburg, Tenn., 10 bass, 20-4, $1,848
               4th:          Mike Morris, White, Ga., 10 bass, 19-15, $1,260
               5th:          Thomas  Helton, Charleston, Tenn., 10 bass, 19-15, $945
               6th:          Chris Darby, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 19-4, $756
 
Rounding out the top-10 boaters were:
               7th:          Carl Whitfield, Anderson, S.C., eight bass, 19-3, $672
               8th:          Bobby Padgett, LaGrange, Ga., 10 bass, 19-1, $588
               9th:          Mike Saleeba, Manitou, Ky., 10 bass, 18-8     
               10th:        Artie Phillips, Monroe, N.C., nine bass, 18-7, $546
 
Brent Tullis of Acworth, Georgia, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Boater Division, a fish weighing 4 pounds, 6 ounces, which earned him Friday’s Big Bass Award of $192.    

Wesley Smith of Vinemont, Alabama, won the co-angler division and $1,973 with a two-day total of eight bass weighing 18 pounds, 12 ounces.
 
The top six co-angers that qualified for the 2016 BFL All-American were:
               1st:          Wesley Smith, Vinemont, Ala., eight bass, 18-12, $1,973
               2nd:         Matt Webb, Newnan, Ga., 10 bass, 10 bass, 14-5         
               3rd:          William Dorr, Easley, S.C., six bass, 13-2, $986
               4th:          March Glenn, Decatur, Ga., seven bass, 12-12            
               5th:          Charles Hatherill, Vero Beach, Fla., seven bass, 11-15 
               6th:          Rex McTier, Endeavor, Wis., eight bass, 10-10, $672
 
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers were:
               7th:          Eddie Cook, Clemmons, N.C., nine bass, nine bass, 10-2, $504
               8th:          Greg Bierman, Cincinnati, Ohio, nine bass, 10-2, $404
               9th:          Kurt Moser, Max Meadows, Va., seven bass, 9-13, $359
               10th:        Mike Geisler, Oxford, Ohio, five bass, 9-9, $314
 
The BFL Wild Card on Lake Hartwell was hosted by the Mountain Lake Convention and Visitors 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.


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