(Feb 27, 2017 - Branson,MO)
Eric Hammond of Rogersville, Missouri, weighed a 17-pound, 6-ounce-limit of bass Saturday to win the first T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Ozark Division tournament of 2017 on Table Rock Lake. For his victory, Hammond took home $5,457.
Hammond said he began his day on the White River near Baxter. He said he targeted 45-degree rock banks that transitioned into gravel as they descended into the water.
“I used a Phantom Green-colored Storm Wiggle Wart,” said Hammond, who earned his first win in BFL competition. “I made long casts, got it down there and let it do its thing.”
Hammond said the cool water temperatures had the bass feeling sluggish, which influenced his strategy.
“I reeled the Wiggle Wart in slowly and steadily,” said Hammond. “The water temperature were still in the high 40s. I think they were still asleep – it was hard to feel them bite. I think they eventually ate the bait because they were tired of looking at it.”
Toward the afternoon, Hammond said he decided to move out deep to focus on submerged trees.
“I threw an umbrella rig and got a couple key fish to round out the limit,” said Hammond. “The trees were about 45-feet-down, near points and other spots where bass were moving up. It was a grind to catch all six keepers, but it only took a couple of them to make it a great day.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Eric Hammond, Rogersville, Mo., five bass, 17-6, $5,457
2nd: Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 17-0, $2,728
3rd: Roy Hawk, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., five bass, 16-14, $2,319
4th: Lance Williams, Billings, Mo., five bass, 16-13, $1,373
5th: Brian Thompson, Springfield, Mo., five bass, 16-11, $1,091
6th: Ronnie Dobbs, Shell Knob, Mo., five bass, 16-8, $1,000
7th: Jason Newberry, Nixa, Mo., five bass, 15-11, $909
8th: John Hewkin, Sullivan, Mo., five bass, 15-2, $819
9th: Chad Allison, Carl Junction, Mo., five bass, 14-12, $728
10th: Todd Knaack, Lawson, Mo., five bass, 14-11, $637
Roger Morris of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Chuck Baggett of Union, Missouri, each caught a 5-pound, 7-ounce bass to tie for the day’s Boater Big Bass award and each won $437.
Michael Fey Sr., of Cuba, Missouri, weighed in five bass totaling 12 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the Co-angler Division and earn $2,728.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Michael Fey Sr., Cuba, Mo., five bass, 12-7, $2,728
2nd: Landon Rogers, Battlefield, Mo., five bass, 11-12, $1,364
3rd: Derrick Wright, Carl Junction, Mo., four bass, 11-1, $911
4th: Michael Bray, Union, Mo., four bass, 10-13, $637
5th: Jerry Riddle, Summit, Miss., five bass, 10-11, $546
6th: Trey Schroeder, Crestwood, Mo., five bass, 10-4, $700
7th: Lance Maldonado, Chapman, Kan., four bass, 9-3, $455
8th: Don Heiser, Kearney, Mo., four bass, 9-0, $409
9th: Joshua Brassard, Nixa, Mo., four bass, 8-8, $364
10th: Spencer Clark, Maryland Heights, Mo., four bass, 7-14, $318
Ernie Wooten of New London, Missouri, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing 5 pounds, 5 ounces, and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $437.
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. 5-7 BFL Regional Championship on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Kentucky. 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.