(Feb 15, 2016 - Guntersville, AL)
Derek Hicks of Rocky Face, Georgia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 3 ounces, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Guntersville. For his victory, Hicks took home $6,133.
Hicks said he primarily focused on an area on the north end of the lake – a shallow shell bed with a ditch running through the middle of it.
“On my third cast I caught a 7-pound fish, which was a great way to start the day,” said Hicks who earned his first win in BFL competition. “I used a white XCalibur Xr50 Rattle Bait and fished it really slow. I’d let it fall, pull up a little, wind it and stop it. The main thing is that I wanted to feel the bottom.
“I hit a flurry between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and caught 13 keepers,” said Hicks. “That was the stretch that ended up producing the remainder of my winning stringer.”
The Georgia angler said his fishing rod was crucial to his success.
“The rod I used really made the difference,” said Hicks. “It was a medium-heavy Halo Fishing Cranking II Series Rod and it worked great. I could get the bait in there with the rod and it wouldn’t jerk it away from the fish.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Derek Hicks, Rocky Face, Ga., five bass, 25-3, $6,133
2nd: Mark McCaig, Oxford, Ala., five bass, 23-7, $2,566
3rd: Jeff Knight, Cleveland, Tenn., five bass, 21-1, $1,710
4th: Casey Martin, New Hope, Ala., five bass, 20-3, $1,498
5th: Cameron Gautney, Muscle Shoals, Ala., five bass, 19- 6, $1,027
6th: Eric Foister, Clarksville, Tenn., five bass, 17-14, $941
7th: Ryan McIntosh, Patriot, Ind., five bass, 17-13, $727
7th: Terry Tucker, Gadsden, Ala., five bass, 17-13, $727
7th: Kent Keys, Anniston, Ala., five bass, 17-13, $727
7th: Brad Harmon, Ringgold, Ga., three bass, 17-13, $727
Brent Barnes of Chattanooga, Tennessee, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division, a mammoth largemouth weighing 11 pounds, 3 ounces and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $800.
Marcus Corbett of Anniston, Alabama, weighed in five bass totaling 19 pounds, 3 ounces Saturday to earn $2,566 and win the co-angler division.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Marcus Corbett, Anniston, Ala., five bass, 19-3, $2,566
2nd: Jacob Feltman, Birmingham, Ala., five bass, 16-12, $1,283
3rd: Daniel Crockett, Old Hickory, Tenn., five bass, 16-4, $855
4th: Brennon Binkley, Franklin, Tenn., four bass, 14-8, $599
5th: Scott Miller, Burlington, Wis., five bass, 14-1, $513
6th: Richard Roberson, Hanceville, Ala., four bass, 13-11, $471
7th: Chase Dorsett, Odenville, Ala., five bass, 13-7, $428
8th: Derek Holly, Johnson City, Tenn., four bass, 12- 6, $385
9th: Brandon Johnson, Odenville, Ala., four bass, 11-5, $342
10th: Ryan Sweeney, Springville, Ala., three bass, 9-4, $299
Donald Groves of Rocky Face, Georgia, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 7 pounds, 1 ounce and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $400.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 13-15 Regional Championship on Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, 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 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 BFL All-American. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2016 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 235 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.