(Jun 20, 2016 - LAKEVIEW, Ohio)
Jim Vitaro of Wooster, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Buckeye Division tournament on Indian Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Vitaro took home $7,422.
“I actually fished the Costa Series event on the Potomac River this weekend, so I didn’t get a chance to practice,” said Vitaro, who earned the third win of his FLW career. “I ended up driving all night and got into town at 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning. With no up-to-date knowledge of the lake, I just went fishing and hoped for the best.
“I spent the day up north on a 30-yard section of flat lily pads with milfoil mixed in,” Vitaro continued. “The bass were between the pads and the rock on the bank, so I picked up a frog and got to work.”
Vitaro said he caught his limit using a Leopard-colored Strike King KVD Sexy Frog.
“I threw the frog to the bank and would walk it three times,” said Vitaro. “That’s when they’d bite. I gave them three seconds, then would cast again. I did that all day.”
With 10 minutes left to compete, Vitaro said he caught a 5-pounder – the largest bass of the tournament.
“With less than an hour to go, I knew I was going to catch a big one,” said Vitaro. “I threw the frog to some pads about 15 yards from my primary stretch and the fish blew up on it in a hole. I can’t believe how well my tournament went considering the circumstances.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Jim Vitaro, Wooster, Ohio, five bass, 13-1, $5,422 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Dan Fry, Marysville, Ohio, five bass, 11-11, $2,236
3rd: Dan Moran, London, Ohio, five bass, 10-9, $1,492
4th: Sean Wieda, Florence, Ky., five bass, 10-8, $1,043
5th: Dick Shaffer, Rockford, Ohio, five bass, 10-1, $894
6th: Gary Edwards, Milton, Ky., five bass, 9-14, $820
7th: Chris Bulaw, Wheaton, Ill., five bass, 9-13, $745
8th: Jeremiah Sall, Wintersville, Ohio, five bass, 9-7, $671
9th: Mike Combs, Frenchburg, Ky., five bass, 9-5, $596
10th: Steve Hatfield, Ashland, Ohio, five bass, 9-3, $522
Vitaro’s 5-pound, 2-ounce kicker bass earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $650.
John Long of New Bremen, Ohio, weighed in five bass totaling 9 pounds, 2 ounces, Saturday to win the co-angler division and earn $2,236.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: John Long, New Bremen, Ohio, five bass, 9-2, $2,236
2nd: Brent Jones, Okeana, Ohio, five bass, 8-12, $1,118
3rd: Ryan Rich, Eaton, Ohio, five bass, 8-5, $745
4th: Brett Warrick, Westerville, Ohio, five bass, 8-1, $522
5th: Billy French, Hamilton, Ohio, five bass, 7-15, $447
6th: Keith Stewart, Fort Jennings, Ohio, five bass, 7-11, $391
6th: Robert Fulton, Ray, Ohio, five bass, 7-11, $391
8th: Pat White, Batavia, Ohio, five bass, 7-4, $335
9th: Jeffrey Yost, Zanesfield, Ohio, five bass, 7-2, $298
10th: Mat Smiddy, Wauseon, Ohio, five bass, 7-1, $261
Dylan Sibley of Strasburg, Ohio, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 4 pounds, 4 ounces and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $325.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 13-15 Regional Championship on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Kentucky. 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.