(Mar 27, 2017 - OSAGE BEACH, Mo.)
Kyle Hulsey of Bourbon, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 5 ounces, Saturday to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Ozark Division event on Lake of the Ozarks. For his win, Hulsey took home $5,551.
“Lake of the Ozarks is fishing incredibly well right now,” said Hulsey, who earned his first career-win in FLW competition. “I fished through 25 to 30 areas and caught nearly 20 keepers.”
Hulsey said he targeted mid-lake channel swings where bass were moving in shallow to spawn. He said he rotated between three lures – an umbrella rig with Bass Pro Speed Shad swimbaits, a 7/16-ounce Jewel Bait Finesse Jig and a ½-ounce War Eagle spinnerbait.
“In the morning I threw the umbrella rig, but mixed in the spinnerbait a handful times when the breeze picked up,” said Hulsey. “I reeled them off of a 6- to 8-foot-deep ledge. That’s where the bass were suspended and feeding. As the day went on, the weather got pretty slick. They weren’t aggressive enough to come up and eat the spinnerbait, so the umbrella rig would clean up well.”
Hulsey said the jig came in handy when bass were extra finicky and refused to bite both the umbrella rig and the spinnerbait.
“I caught bass just about everywhere I went,” said Hulsey. “It was the kind of day you want to have, but doesn’t come around very often.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Kyle Hulsey, Bourbon, Mo., five bass, 25-5, $5,551
2nd: Caleb Spinks, Springfield, Mo., five bass, 24-10, $2,975
3rd: Shawn Kowal, Linn Creek, Mo., five bass, 23-9, $1,946
4th: Rick Johnston, Webb City, Mo., five bass, 23-1, $1,595
5th: Bill Edwards, Nixa, Mo., five bass, 22-12, $1,110
6th: Marcus Sykora, Osage Beach, Mo., five bass, 22-1, $1,018
7th: Brian Hansen, Fenton, Mo., five bass, 20-13, $925
8th: Craig Torkleson, Sand Springs, Okla., five bass, 20-6, $833
9th: Kyle Alsop, Overland Park, Kan., five bass, 20-0, $740
10th: Wes Endicott, Joplin, Mo., five bass, 19-15, $648
Tyler Ellis of Springfield, Missouri, caught a bass weighing 7 pounds, 10 ounces – the largest of the event – which earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $890.
Eric Huntley of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, weighed in five bass totaling 19 pounds, 13 ounces, Saturday to win the Co-angler Division and the top prize of $2,775.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Eric Huntley, Lee’s Summit, Mo., five bass, 19-13, $2,775
2nd: Jesse Moore, Saint Robert, Mo., five bass, 18-6, $1,156
2nd: Matt Wertheimer, Arnold, Mo., five bass, 18-6, $1,156
4th: Brannan Austin, Wentzville, Mo., five bass, 18-0, $648
5th: Jacques Fleischmann, Lampe, Mo., five bass, 16-7, $555
6th: Charles Frick, St. Louis, Mo., five bass, 16-6, $509
7th: Alex Torkleson, Sand Springs, Okla., four bass, 16-3, $463
8th: Trey Schroeder, Crestwood, Mo., five bass, 15-14, $616
9th: John Payne, Ozark, Mo., four bass, 15-0, $420
10th: Quinton Booth, Ozark, Mo., five bass, 14-15, $324
James Beussink of Bridgeton, Missouri, caught the biggest bass among Co-angler Division anglers, a fish weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $445.
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.