(Mar 6, 2017 - Scottsboro. AL)
Casey Martin of New Hope, Alabama, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 40 pounds, 11 ounces, Saturday to win the first T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bama Division event of 2017 on Lake Guntersville. Martin’s catch was the second-largest single-day limit to ever be weighed in at a BFL event, and the third-largest all-time across all FLW tournament circuits.
“It was pretty insane to weigh in those bass,” said Martin, who took home $6,859 for his win. “I’m still in disbelief. It happened so fast that it hasn’t really sunk in yet.”
Martin said he started out targeting both largemouth and smallmouth bass in different areas, and was able to put together a limit fairly quick.
“At that point, I figured I had enough weight to earn my entry fee back,” said Martin. “So, I decided to swing for the fence at that point and run to some deeper water, near causeways. They can be good this time of year.
“I came across a school of fish at one point, looked at my graph and it was lighting up,” continued Martin. “I caught one bass that was close to 7 pounds, and within 10 minutes I had three more in the boat – a 9-pounder, and two in the 8-pound range.
Martin said he used a Picasso Double Barrel ½-ounce underspin with a 4-inch Smoky Shad-colored Z-Man DieZel Minnowz to catch all but the 9-pounder. For that, he said he used a swimbait on a 3/4-ounce Freedom Tackle Hydra Hybrid Jig.
“Later on I made a run to an area near Goose Pond and caught another 7-pounder out of some grass on a Rat-L-Trap,” said Martin. “I didn’t think I had 40 pounds, I thought I only had 33 or 34. I’ve seen those kinds of limits come in at BFL tournaments before.”
Martin said he still didn’t believe how heavy his limit was until the moment his weight was announced.
“I put them on the scale and the weighmaster had his hand on it, so I figured the number would come down into the thirties,” said Martin. “But it stopped moving and the screen said 40 pounds. I don’t think things could have gone any better – it was the perfect day.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Casey Martin, New Hope, Ala., five bass, 40-11, $4,859 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Marshall Deakins, Dunlap, Tenn., five bass, 21-5, $2,005
3rd: Dennis Barnes, Boaz, Ala., five bass, 21-4, $1,336
4th: Harold Wilson, Canton, Ga., five bass, 18-12, $935
5th: Jim Leary, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 18-10, $802
6th: Josh Butler, Athens, Ala., five bass, 17-5, $735
7th: Derek Remitz, Grant, Ala., five bass, 17-0, $668
8th: Douglas Webster, Pinson, Ala., five bass, 15-0, $568
8th: Will Blount, Andalusia, Ala., five bass, 15-0, $768
10th: Greg Lamb, Harrison, Tenn., five bass, 14-12, $468
Martin’s biggest bass weighed in at 9 pounds, 9 ounces – the largest of the event – and also earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $550.
Taylor Parker of Lake View, Alabama, weighed in five bass totaling 14 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the Co-angler Division and the top prize of $2,005.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Taylor Parker, Lake View, Ala., five bass, 14-7, $2,005
2nd: Justin Pate, Coker, Ala., four bass, 12-7, $1,002
3rd: Tim Ferguson, Pelham, Ala., four bass, 11-6, $668
4th: Shane Moss, Jasper, Tenn., five bass, 11-3, $668
5th: Samuel Lemons, Vonore, Tenn., four bass, 10-15, $401
6th: Ty Traylor, Fort Payne, Ala., three bass, 10-7, $368
7th: Jeb Steadham, Moody, Ala., four bass, 8-12, $367
7th: Jeff Huddleston, Ohatchee, Ala., three bass, 8-12, $317
9th: Cory Mathis, Newnan, Ga., two bass, 8-0, $267
10th: Joseph Casey, Trenton, Ga., three bass, 7-8, $234
Billy Short of Cedartown, Georgia, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing 5 pounds, 12 ounces, and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $275.
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 Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Alabama. 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.