(Mar 21, 2016 - BYRDSTOWN, TN.)
Billy Joe Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 8 ounces, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mountain Division tournament of 2016 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson took home $5,582.
“I fished around 12 to 15 different staging areas and caught the majority of my fish in 10 to 14 feet of water,” said Johnson, who earned his second career BFL win on Dale Hollow Lake. “I caught 11 largemouth, with a few smallmouth mixed in. My limit that I weighed consisted of all largemouth, though, and all of the fish that went to the scale came on a Yum Baits Yumbrella Flash Mob Jr.”
Johnson said that he did manage a few keepers on a jerkbait, but the umbrella rig was the key to his success.
“I’ve been fishing Dale Hollow for a long time,” Johnson said. “My buddies and I used to catch a lot of fish and win tournaments with jerkbaits and spinnerbaits, but now you can’t really compete unless you’re throwing an umbrella rig. I believe the majority of guys that were in the top 10 were throwing it.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Billy Joe Johnson, Byrdstown, Tenn., five bass, 22-8, $5,582
2nd: Joe Haunert, West Chester, Ohio, five bass, 19-13, $2,791
3rd: Jonathan Green, East Bernstadt, Ky., five bass, 18-9, $1,861
4th: Bill Bowling, Somerset, Ky., five bass, 18-2, $1,302
5th: Matt Stanley, Alexandria, Tenn., five bass, 17-15, $1,116
6th: Gabe Keen, Caryville, Tenn., five bass, 17-14, $1,023
7th: Rod Huff, Monterey, Tenn., five bass, 17-10, $883
7th: Dwight Fox, Gainesboro, Tenn., four bass, 17-10, $883
9th: Ronnie Taylor, Harriman, Tenn., five bass, 17-0, $744
10th: Mark Morgan, Somerset, Ky., five bass, 16-14, $651
Pat Smith of Burkesville, Kentucky, caught a 6-pound, 5-ounce bass – the biggest of the tournament in the pro division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $447.
Justin Sensabaugh of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed in four bass totaling 17 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to earn $3,238 and win the co-angler division.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Justin Sensabaugh, Byrdstown, Tenn., four bass, 17-11, $3,238
2nd: Wade Jenkins, Corbin, Ky., five bass, 16-3, $1,395
3rd: Kevin Simpson, Monticello, Ky., five bass, 16-0, $931
4th: Billy Gardner, Livingston, Tenn., five bass, 14-8, $604
5th: Drew Campbell, Cookeville, Tenn., five bass, 14-8, $604
6th: Tim Miniard, Corbin, Ky., five bass, 14-1, $512
7th: Jonathan Sydnor, Canmer, Ky., five bass, 13-7, $465
8th: Mike Frye, Stanford, Ky., five bass, 13-5, $419
9th: Kenny Botts, Alvaton, Ky., four bass, 12-11, $372
10th: Logan Conatser, Pine Knot, Ky., five bass, 11-15, $326
Sensabaugh also caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 5 pounds, 5 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 Sept. 29-Oct. 1 Regional Championship on Lake Chickamauga in Dayton, Tennessee. 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.