(Feb 13, 2017 - Okeechobee, FL)
Bryan Honnerlaw of Moore Haven, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 5 ounces, Saturday to win the second T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Gator Division tournament on Lake Okeechobee presented by Navionics. For his efforts, Honnerlaw earned the top award of $5,612.
“I saw some bass in practice that were chasing shad, so that told me what I needed to be focusing on for the tournament,” said Honnerlaw, who notched his first career win in BFL competition. “We fished the North Shore, specifically a hole in the grass with a shell bed.”
Honnerlaw said he used a variety of baits during the event, but relied heavily on a 3/8-ounce green-pumpkin-colored ChatterBait to catch his fish.
“I pulled up to the area and on my second cast I caught one,” said Honnerlaw. “I fished the ChatterBait with a slow retrieve. We just came off of a cold front, so they didn’t want to chase anything faster than that.”
Honnerlaw said he caught around 60 bass throughout his day.
“There weren’t a lot of big ones, but I did catch one close to 6 pounds,” said Honnerlaw. “I’m just glad that the bass I found in practice stayed put for more than a day.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Bryan Honnerlaw, Moore Haven, Fla., five bass, 21-5, $5,612
2nd: Anthony Ford, New Smyrna, Fla., five bass, 19-15, $2,706
3rd: Nathan Thomas, Weirsdale, Fla., five bass, 19-10, $1,899
4th: Mikey Keyso Jr., North Port, Fla., five bass, 19-1, $1,263
5th: Richard Sasina, Port Saint Lucie, Fla., five bass, 18-0, $1,082
6th: Kyle Monti, Okeechobee, Fla., five bass, 17-15, $992
7th: Greg Schultz, Naples, Fla., five bass, 17-10, $1,202
8th: Norman Pellegrini, Windermere, Fla., five bass, 17-9, $1,672
9th: Fred George, Okeechobee, Fla., five bass, 17-5, $722
10th: Kyle Walters, Grant-Valkaria, Fla., five bass, 17-4, $599
10th: Bradley MacQueen, West Palm Beach, Fla., five bass, 17-4, $599
Pellegrini caught an 8-pound, 13-ounce largemouth – the largest of the event – which earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $860.
Roy Gentry of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, weighed in five bass totaling 22 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to win the co-angler division and earn $3,136.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Roy Gentry, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., five bass, 22-9, $3,136
2nd: Bill Wight, Punta Gorda, Fla., five bass, 17-13, $1,353
3rd: Junior Iriban, Lantana, Fla., five bass, 17-8, $905
4th: Steve Smith, Jacksonville, Fla., five bass, 17-6, $631
5th: Anthony Valachovic, Coral Springs, Fla., five bass, 15-3, $741
6th: Adam Hernandez, Miami, Fla., five bass, 14-7, $496
7th: Chris Baker, Wesley Chapel, Fla., five bass, 14-0, $501
8th: Jai Hunter Jr., Deland, Fla., five bass, 13-12, $406
9th: Nik Kayler, Apopka, Fla., five bass, 13-6, $361
10th: Kenneth Guy, Miramar, Fla., five bass, 13-5, $316
Gentry also caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces, and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $430.
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.