(Oct 20, 2016 - GILBERTSVILLE, Ky.)
Chris Aswegan of Tiffin, Iowa, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds even Saturday to win the FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional event on Kentucky and Barkley lakes presented by Mercury, with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 47 pounds, 4 ounces. For his win, Aswegan earned $65,200, including a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard, and a berth into the 2017 BFL All-American Championship.
Aswegan said he spent the tournament on a shallow flat about 50 miles south of the takeoff ramp. He said the flat was marked by a 100-yard drop-off that reached from 8 to 18 inches down. He said there were visible schools of bait along it.
“It seemed like an area where a lot of worthwhile bass would be – it had a lot of good contours in it,” said Aswegan, who earned his first win in FLW competition. “I started out on Day One fishing a buzzbait, but couldn’t get anything going, so I left the area alone. When I returned a couple of hours later, I picked up a shad-colored Heddon Zara Spook and was able to catch six keepers, including a 5-pounder in the afternoon.”
On Day Two, Aswegan said he returned to his stretch, but fished a different section of it. He said he was able to put 12 keepers in the boat.
“A south wind had pushed clean water into the area, so I skipped the buzzbait and went straight for the Spook,” said Aswegan. “In my opinion, it looks better than a buzzbait in clear water.”
On the final day of the event, Aswegan said he moved through his first two sections from earlier in the tournament, but had to wait until his third stop – a 20-yard stretch of the depression – to find success.
“I caught a couple of fish from there the day before, so I had a lot of confidence in it,” said Aswegan. “I used the Spook and it produced all of the fish I weighed in. Being able to find those sweet spots was a crucial part of my win.”
The top six boaters that qualified for the 2017 BFL All-American were:
1st: Chris Aswegan, Tiffin, Iowa, 15 bass, 47-4, $65,200
2nd: Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., 15 bass, 46-9, $10,000
3rd: Lloyd Pickett Jr., Bartlett, Tenn., 15 bass, 45-1, $5,000
4th: Clayton Reitz, Morton, Ill., 14 bass, 40-9, $3,000
5th: Ronald Nutter, Newark, Ohio, 14 bass, 39-10, $2,100
6th: Bradley Leifermann, Andover, Minn., 14 bass, 38-12, $1,800
Rounding out the top-10 boaters were:
7th: Scott Cooke, Marengo, Ohio, 12 bass, 38-2, $2,600
8th: Marty Sisk, Evansville, Ind., 11 bass, 37-8, $1,400
9th: John Devries, Fishers, Ind., 10 bass, 37-6, $1,200
10th: David Spivey, Hamilton, Ohio, 13 bass, 36-11, $1,000
Jim Budde of Waterloo, Illinois, won the co-angler division and a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard with a three-day cumulative catch of 11 bass weighing 30 pounds, 4 ounces.
The top six co-anglers that qualified for the 2017 BFL All-American were:
1st: Jim Budde, Waterloo, Ill., 11 bass, 30-4, $45,200
2nd: Jim Stone, Greenwood, Ind., 11 bass, 29-13, $5,050
3rd: Randy Westerfield, Constantine, Mich., 11 bass, 28-12, $2,500
4th: Tim Gilliland, Wellston, Ohio, nine bass, 28-9, $1,500
5th: Carl Lingle, Dongola, Ill., 11 bass, 27-12, $1,000
6th: Mike Raber, Wolcottville, Ind., 11 bass, 26-9, $900
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers were:
7th: Eddie Dean, Ashton, W. Va., 10 bass, 22-15, $800
8th: Mark Miller, Baltic, Ohio, seven bass, 21-8, $700
9th: Jarred Metje, Woodlawn, Ill., seven bass, 21-6, $600
10th: Roy Lester, Hamilton, Ohio, eight bass, 20-14, $500
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. The 2017 BFL All-American will be held May 31-June 3 on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Alabama. 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, South Korea and South Africa. 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.