Fishing & Boating News

Alexander’s Ray Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Arkie Division Event on Lake Ouachita

Benton’s Norman Takes Co-angler Title

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

Josh Ray of Alexander, AR, weighed 5 bass totaling 15 lbs, 1 oz to take top honors at the FLW Bass Fishing League Arkie Division tournament on Lake Ouachita.
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(May 16, 2017 - Mount Ida, AR) Josh Ray of Alexander, Arkansas, weighed five bass totaling 15 pounds, 1 ounce Saturday to take top honors at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Arkie Division tournament presented by Mud Hole Custom Tackle on Lake Ouachita. For his limit, Ray earned $4,079.

“I spent the tournament swimming a jig through the water willow grass around Mountain Harbor,” said Ray, who earned his first career-victory in FLW competition. “I probably hit 10 areas that were each about 100 yards long. The lake was flooded, but they’ve been lowering the water which pulled the fish out of the bushes and into the grass.”

Ray said he used a 3/8-ounce green-pumpkin custom swimjig with a Zoom Z-Craw trailer of the same color. He said he also rotated in a Paycheck Baits Repo Man topwater throughout his day.

“I was fishing in 3 to 5 feet of water and was able to catch around 15 keepers,” said Ray. “I caught a limit within the first hour and then fairly consistently throughout the day.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

               1st:          Josh Ray, Alexander, Ark., five bass, 15-1, $4,079

               2nd:         Jason Lieblong, Conway, Ark., five bass, 13-4, $2,040

               3rd:          Chris Darby, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 12-10, $1,808

               4th:          Brad Morgan, Ashdown, Ark., five bass, 12-7, $905

               5th:          Roscoe White III, Rogers, Ark., five bass, 11-13, $776

               6th:          Jason Lenderman, Glenwood, Ark., five bass, 11-7, $711

               7th:          Billy Kindrick, Dover, Ark., five bass, 11-5, $647

               8th:          Brian Kirkendoll, Jacksonville, Ark., five bass, 10-8, $582

               9th:          Chris Dennis, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 10-5, $485

               9th:          Taylor Smith, Texarkana, Ark., five bass, 10-5, $485


Darby caught a bass weighing 4 pounds, 7 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – which earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $515.

Kendal Norman of Benton, Arkansas, won the Co-angler Division and $2,140 Saturday after weighing four bass totaling 9 pounds, 9 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers were:

               1st:          Kendal Norman, Benton, Ark., four bass, 9-9, $2,140

               2nd:         Bruce Thompson, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 8-14, $1,020

               3rd:          Steve Lee, Benton, Ark., four bass, 8-11, $646

               4th:          Johnny Crider, Fulton, Ark., three bass, 8-8, $453

               5th:          Alvin Williams, Hartman, Ark., five bass, 7-9, $388

               6th:          Michael Gross, Malvern, Ark., two bass, 7-7, $356

               7th:          Colton Garrett, Jonesboro, Ark., three bass, 7-6, $580

               8th:          Jason Wedel, Lowell, Ark., five bass, 7-3, $275

               8th:          Kurt Caldwell, Nashville, Ark., five bass, 7-3, $275

               10th:        Brian Choate, Conway, Ark., five bass, 7-2, $226

Garrett nabbed the biggest bass among Co-angler Division anglers, a fish weighing 4 pounds, 15 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $257.

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 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.


About FLW

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.