(Feb 21, 2017 - Russellville, AR.)
Matt Wood of Jessieville, Arkansas, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 2 ounces, Saturday to win the first T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Arkie Division tournament of 2017 on Lake Dardanelle. For his win, Wood took home $4,046.
“I was entered in this event as a co-angler, and I decided to switch over and compete as a boater on Friday morning, the day before the event,” said Wood, who had previously fished one season as a co-angler in BFL competition. “I knew that there were more co-anglers on the waiting list, and I had a pretty good practice so I figured I’d take a shot. I still can’t believe I won.”
Wood said that he fished the entire day at just one spot – a dock which had some brush and cover nearby.
“The bass were after baitfish, and the wind was blowing perfectly to pin the bait against the dock and brush,” Wood said. “There were a ton of bass – I must have caught around 20 to 25 keepers.”
Wood said he caught his fish on just two baits – a Strike King Red Eye Shad crankbait and a white Strike King Pure Poison swimjig with a white Yum Swim’n Dinger.
“The Red Eye Shad was what I caught my bigger fish on,” Wood went on to say. “The key was fishing it super-fast and triggering a reaction bite.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Matt Wood, Jessieville, Ark., five bass, 21-2, $4,046
2nd: Cody Burke, Bryant, Ark., five bass, 20-4, $2,023
3rd: Zach King, Clarksville, Ark., five bass, 18-15, $1,348
4th: Steve Howard, Conway, Ark., five bass, 18-4, $944
5th: Zack Freeman, Russellville, Ark., five bass, 17-7, $1,009
6th: Rick Ellis, Cabot, Ark., five bass, 16-1, $842
7th: Jeremiah Jordan, Dover, Ark., five bass, 15-14, $674
8th: Israel Mills, Donaldson, Ark., five bass, 15-9, $607
9th: Jonathan Dotson, Dover, Ark., four bass, 14-12, $539
10th: Daniel Standridge, Sheridan, Ark., five bass, 14-4, $472
Randall Clark of Little Rock, Arkansas, caught a 7-pound, 1-ounce bass – the largest of the event – which earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $555.
Johnny Crider of Fulton, Arkansas, weighed in four bass totaling 16 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the co-angler division and earn $2,300.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Johnny Crider, Fulton, Ark., four bass, 16-10, $2,300
2nd: Jason Wedel, Lowell, Ark., five bass, 11-9, $1,011
3rd: Brian Choat, Conway, Ark., five bass, 11-0, $874
4th: Kevin Clark, Malvern, Ark., five bass, 10-9, $488
4th: Jim Cummings, Murfreesboro, Ark., three bass, 10-9, $438
6th: Herbert Kimbrough, North Little Rock, Ark., four bass, 10-5, $371
7th: Steve Standridge, Conway, Ark., three bass, 10-4, $337
8th: Michael Lucas, Forrest City, Ark., four bass, 9-8, $303
9th: Buddy Rudolph, Hot Springs, Ark., four bass, 8-9, $253
9th: Bryan Branson, Hensley, Ark., three bass, 8-9, $253
Crider also caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 6 pounds, 11 ounces, and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $277.
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 T-H Marine BFL event at Lake Dardanelle presented by Geared was hosted by Russellville Advertising & Promotions.
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.