(Apr 25, 2016 - SMYRNA, TN.)
William Merrick of Mount Juliet, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 4 ounces, Saturday to win the FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Music City Division tournament on Percy Priest presented by Navionics. For his victory, Merrick took home $3,648.
“I spent my day on the south end of the lake throwing a large swimbait,” said Merrick, who earned his second win in FLW competition. “I slow-rolled it out deep for both pre- and postspawn bass in about 20 different spots. I preferred spawning banks that had a specific mix of rock and gravel.”
Merrick said he used a 7-inch, trout-colored Osprey Swimbait and caught nearly 13 keepers on a fairly consistent basis.
“It’s a lot larger than most swimbaits used in this part of the country,” said Merrick. “It was definitely something the fish weren’t accustomed to seeing.”
Merrick said his limit consisted of three postspawn smallmouth and two prespawn largemouth bass.
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: William Merrick, Mount Juliet, Tenn., five bass, 18-4, $3,648
2nd: Chris Fondren, Lebanon, Tenn., five bass, 16-9, $1,324
3rd: Jeff Lokken, Lebanon, Tenn., five bass, 15-14, $882
4th: Brandon Edel, Hendersonville, Tenn., five bass, 13-10, $903
5th: Billy Hinson, Mount Juliet, Tenn., five bass, 13-6, $530
6th: Jeremy Ethridge, Murfreesboro, Tenn., five bass, 12-14, $463
7th: Charlie Crisp Jr., Catlettsburg, Ky., five bass, 12-14, $463
8th: Josh Tramel, Smithville, Tenn., five bass, 12-5, $397
9th: Adam Militana, Nashville, Tenn., five bass, 12-3, $353
10th: Brandon Maynard , Cookeville, Tenn., five bass, 12-2, $309
Edel caught a 5-pound, 9-ounce bass – the biggest of the tournament in the pro division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $285.
Jacob Foutz of Charleston, Tennessee, weighed in five bass totaling 11 pounds, 10 ounces, Saturday to win the co-angler division and earn $1,324.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Jacob Foutz, Charleston, Tenn., five bass, 11-10, $1,324
2nd: Jim Fontaine, Smyrna, Tenn., five bass, 10-12, $804
3rd: Jason McCanless, Lebanon, Tenn., five bass, 10-10, $440
4th: Michael Birdwell, Granville, Tenn., five bass, 10-4, $309
5th: Greg Whittaker, Monterey, Tenn. five bass, 10-2, $265
6th: Brandon Russell, Murfreesboro, Tenn., four bass, 8-14, $243
7th: Larry Anderson, Hillsboro, Ohio, three bass, 8-5, $221
8th: Jake Short, Lebanon, Tenn., four bass, 8-3, $199
9th: Alex Hester, Crossville, Tenn., four bass, 7-11, $177
10th: Brennon Binkley, Franklin, Tenn., three bass, 7-10, $154
Fontaine caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 3 pounds, 14 ounces and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $142.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 27-29 Regional Championship on Lake Hartwell in Seneca, South Carolina. 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.