(Jan 23, 2017 - Brookeland, TX)
Former Stephen F. Austin College Fishing angler Blake Schroeder of Whitehouse, Texas, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 28 pounds, 10 ounces, Saturday to win the first T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Cowboy Division tournament of 2017 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Navionics. For finishing atop the massive field of 230 boats, Schroeder took home the top award of $9,000 for his win.
“All of my bass that I weighed in came from different areas on the reservoir,” said Schroeder, who earned his first career win in FLW competition. “The water was abnormally warm for this time of year, so the fish were spread out. I did a lot of running around and burned almost an entire tank of fuel.”
Schroeder said his day was split between fishing grass and deep points, adding that his primary areas were anywhere from 4 to 25 feet deep.
“Around Caney Creek I used a crawfish-colored Rat-L-Trap in the grass,” said Schroeder. “By 1 p.m., I had everything that I weighed in.”
Schroeder said he caught the biggest bass of the event – an 8-pound, 11-ounce giant – just north of the Highway 147 bridge.
“I caught it on a Carolina-rigged Watermelon Candy Red-colored Zoom Brush Hog,” said Schroeder. “I used the Hog out deep around points that had brush, laydowns or any changes in structure.”
The Whitehouse angler said he caught 15 keepers throughout the tournament.
“The bass were really biting so I was worried someone was going to bring in more weight – especially with the talent in the Cowboy Division,” said Schroeder. “I just had the right bites.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Blake Schroeder, Whitehouse, Texas, five bass, 28-10, $7,000 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Cody Pitt, Many, La., five bass, 23-7, $3,200
3rd: Will Hughes, Whitehouse, Texas, five bass, 20-12, $2,100
4th: Philip Crelia, Center, Texas, five bass, 20-2, $1,400
5th: Thomas McMillan, Choudrant, La., five bass, 19-2, $1,200
6th: Dillon Y'Barbo, Buna, Texas, five bass, 18-15, $1,100
7th: Shane Howell, Franklin, Texas, five bass, 18-10, $1,000
8th: Randy Despino, Colfax, La., five bass, 18-6, $900
9th: Blake Naquin, Thibodaux, La., five bass, 18-5, $800
10th: Anthony Jones, Irving, Texas, five bass, 17-14, $700
Schroeder’s 8-pound, 11-ounce largemouth also earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $1000.
Scott Duckworth of New Caney, Texas, weighed in five bass totaling 24 pounds even Saturday to win the co-angler division and earn $3,500.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Scott Duckworth, New Caney, Texas, five bass, 24-0, $3,500
2nd: Rick Vallis, Fort Smith, Ark., five bass, 19-15, $1,500
3rd: Hugh Cosculluela, The Woodlands, Texas, five bass, 17-11, $1,000
4th: Percy Richardson, Lufkin, Texas, five bass, 16-3, $700
5th: Bob Walton, Longview, Texas, five bass, 15-11, $600
6th: Ted Robbins, Longview, Texas, five bass, 15-8, $550
7th: Phillip Macomber, Woodville, Texas, five bass, 14-12, $500
8th: Shad Jenkins, San Augustine, Texas, five bass, 14-10, $425
8th: Jake Jordan, China, Texas, five bass, 14-10, $425
10th: John Bach, Salem, Mo., five bass, 14-2, $350
Duckworth also caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, weighing 7 pounds, 4 ounces, and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $500.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 19-21 BFL Regional Championship on the Red River in Bossier City, Louisiana. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.
The 2017 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they 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 performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the 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 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa 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.