(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.
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.