(Feb 27, 2017 - MOORESVILLE, N.C.)
Jeff Queen of Catawba, North Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 9 ounces, Saturday to claim top honors at the first T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) North Carolina Division tournament of 2017 on Lake Norman, presented by Navionics. For his efforts, Queen took home $4,279.
“The weather Saturday morning was cloudy and breezy, which told me the jig bite would be strong,” said Queen, who earned his second career win in BFL competition. “We’d had seven warm days in a row, so both largemouth and spotted bass were up shallow. I knew I’d be cruising the bank to catch them.”
Queen said his strategy was to cover as much water as he could. He said he used one lure to catch his limit – a 3/8-ounce Queen Tackle tungsten jig with a blue Zoom Super Chunk trailer.
“I fished mid-lake and hit anything that had wind blowing into it,” said Queen. “I caught one of my best bass on my third cast, and put one quality fish in the boat every hour from then on. I caught a lot of fish, but it took a while to boat the 3-pounders.”
Queen said the majority of his bass came from open stretches of bank in 3 to 8 feet of water, and one that he weighed in came from a dock.
“I made long casts – probably 35 to 40 yards,” said Queen. “The key was that I would take the jig and swim it fast. With its small head, trimmed skirt and large hook, I could really load it up and set it hard. I didn’t lose a single fish all day.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Jeff Queen, Catawba, N.C., five bass, 16-9, $4,279
2nd: Wes Lewis, Sherrills Ford, N.C., five bass, 15-4, $2,140
3rd: Stephen Cannon, Wilkesboro, N.C., five bass, 15-0, $2,031
4th: Carson Orellana, Mooresville, N.C., five bass, 14-15, $998
5th: Craig Chambers, Charlotte, N.C., five bass, 14-13, $856
6th: Jason Wilson, Lincolnton, N.C., five bass, 14-10, $949
6th: Drew Montgomery, Maiden, N.C., five bass, 14-10, $1,249
8th: David Cooke, Mooresville, N.C., five bass, 14-2, $642
9th: Jacob Moore, Stanley, N.C., five bass, 13-12, $671
10th: Chris Baumgardner, Gastonia, N.C., five bass, 13-9, $499
Cannon caught a 5-pound, 15-ounce bass – the largest of the event – which earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $605.
Austin Wike of China Grove, North Carolina, weighed in five bass totaling 11 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the Co-angler Division and $2,140.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Austin Wike, China Grove, N.C., five bass, 11-5, $2,140
2nd: Tristen Trull, Mount Holly, N.C., five bass, 10-11, $1,070
3rd: Hunter Harwell, Hickory, N.C., five bass, 10-9, $712
4th: Dominick LeSerra, West Jefferson, N.C., five bass, 10-7, $439
4th: James Webb, Mooresville, N.C., five bass, 10-7, $439
4th: Steve Reynolds, Concord, N.C., five bass, 10-7, $439
7th: Adam Lockler, Charlotte, N.C., five bass, 10-6, $357
8th: Charles Wood, Thomasville, N.C., five bass, 10-2, $321
9th: Tyrell Collins, Galax, Va., five bass, 9-12, $285
10th: Ryan Sommerville, Charlotte, N.C., five bass, 9-9, $250
Kyle Richardt of Raleigh, North Carolina, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing 3 pounds, 15 ounces, and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $302.
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. 12-14 BFL Regional Championship on the James River in Williamsburg, Virginia. 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.