(Feb 6, 2017 - SENECA, S.C.)
Ken Wheeler of Martin, Georgia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 15 pounds, 6 ounces, Saturday to win the first T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River Division tournament of 2017 on Lake Keowee presented by Navionics. For his win, Wheeler took home the top award of $5,889.
“I started in Cane Creek and got my first bite on a brown Outkast football-head jig with a watermelon-red Zoom Super Chunk Jr. trailer,” said Wheeler, who earned his first career win in FLW competition. “I ran through three areas before moving to a mid-lake hole where I caught another on a Zoom Z Drop Worm rigged on a drop-shot in about 50 feet of water.”
Wheeler said he switched to a Fish Head Spin to catch his third fish out of some rocks that were 25 feet down.
“My first three bites were the only ones I had in those areas, so I had to keep moving,” said Wheeler. “I kept fishing nearby rocks with the Z Drop and caught four or five more to finish my limit. I culled a couple of times and ended up bringing in what I had.”
Wheeler said his total catch for the day included 15 keepers.
“I didn’t catch a lot of fish, but they were the right bites,” said Wheeler. “I mixed up my lures and kept trying something different and it worked out.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Ken Wheeler, Martin, Ga., five bass, 15-6, $5,889
2nd: Hunter Eubanks, Inman, S.C., five bass, 14-15, $3,764
3rd: Jeremy Strong, Elberton, Ga., five bass, 13-5, $2,198
4th: Anthony Marks, Spartanburg, S.C., five bass, 12-9, $1,232
4th: Vince Smith, Westminster, S.C., five bass, 12-9, $1,332
6th: Heath Pack, Mineral Bluff, Ga., five bass, 12-7, $995
6th: Greg Glouse, Liberty, S.C., five bass, 12-7, $995
8th: Todd Goade, Suwanee, Ga., five bass, 11-14, $805
8th: Conrad Bolt, Seneca, S.C., five bass, 11-14, $805
10th: Chris Nelson, Social Circle, Ga., five bass, 11-11, $664
Eubanks caught a 6-pound, 11-ounce bass – the largest of the event – which earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $920.
Dwayne Parton of Anderson, South Carolina, weighed in five bass totaling 12 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the co-angler division and earn $3,044.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Dwayne Parton, Anderson, S.C., five bass, 12-14, $3,044
2nd: Jimmi Leuthner, Tamassee, S.C., five bass, 11-3, $1,422
3rd: Bob Brown, Seneca, S.C., five bass, 10-15, $1,408
4th: Shane Swann, Mars Hill, N.C., five bass, 10-14, $616
4th: Jody Rogers Sr., Clarkesville, Ga., five bass, 10-14, $616
6th: Douglas Bryson, Westminster, S.C., five bass, 10-13, $521
7th: Edward Cooper, Anderson, S.C., five bass, 10-3, $474
8th: Matthew Guffey, Simpsonville, S.C., five bass, 9-15, $403
8th: Brad Surett, Travelers Rest, S.C., five bass, 9-15, $403
10th: Ron Bryson, Mount Airy, Ga., five bass, 9-14, $332
Brown caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, weighing 4 pounds, 6 ounces, and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $460.
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 Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia. 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.