(Mar 7, 2016 - Flowood, MS)
Mitch Crane of Columbus, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mississippi Division tournament of 2016 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Crane took home $5,582.
“I started my day targeting bass in a pocket right off of the main channel in the Pearl River,” said Crane, who took top honors in his first-ever FLW event. “I caught three keepers along a point within 30 minutes using a white Z-Man ChatterBait rigged with a Gambler Little EZ Swimbait.”
Crane said that a key to his pattern was dialing in on bedding fish.
“Around noon, I went to a bedding area where a couple of canals came off of an old channel swing,” said Crane. “I flipped a Blueberry-colored Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw and caught two bass – a 4- and 5-pounder – that were settled in clear water. After I got them in the boat I was feeling pretty confident.”
Crane went on to say that the competition likely overlooked bedding fish due to colder water temperatures.
“The water temperature was only around 58 degrees, but I went looking for the big bedding fish and they were there,” said Crane. “They ended up sealing the deal.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., five bass, 19-1, $5,582
2nd: Teddy Cranford, Seminary, Miss., five bass, 16-15, $2,791
3rd: Matt Allen, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 15-2, $1,861
4th: Rick Mcklemurry, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 14-12, $1,302
5th: Bradley Burns, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 14-6, $1,116
6th: Jeffery Davis, Steens, Miss., four bass, 14-0, $1,023
7th: Kevin Daigle, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 13-15, $930
8th: Joel Barber, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 13-14, $837
9th: Justin Leet, Bartlett, Tenn., five bass, 13-13, $744
10th: Dalton Laster, Morton, Miss., four bass, 13-10, $618
10th: Michael Savell, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 13-10, $618
Philip Atkins of Columbus, Mississippi, caught a fish weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces – the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $895.
Mark Willins of Bartlett, Tennessee, weighed in five bass totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to earn $2,791 and win the co-angler division.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Mark Willins, Bartlett, Tenn., five bass, 19-11, $2,791
2nd: Mike Allen, Crystal Springs, Miss., five bass, 15-1, $1,395
3rd: Jesse Steadham, Florence, Miss., five bass 14-15, $931
4th: Noel Allen Jr., Brandon, Miss., five bass, 14-3, $651
5th: Glen Mire, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 13-9, $558
6th: Richard Hitt, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 13-3, $512
7th: Hunter Ketteringham, Philadelphia, Miss., three bass, 11-12, $465
8th: Frank Parker, McHenry, Miss., three bass, 11-8, $419
9th: Marian Hall, Hattiesburg, Miss., five bass, 11-5, $372
10th: Todd Fowlkes, Collierville, Tenn., five bass, 10-7, $326
James Brauer caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 6 pounds, 15 ounces and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $447.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 27-29 Regional Championship on Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Arkansas. 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.