(May 17, 2017 - NORTH EAST, Md.)
Dan Rodriguez of Monkton, Maryland, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Northeast Division tournament on Chesapeake Bay Saturday with a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces. For his efforts, Rodriguez earned $3,592.
“It was a tough day out there – I only had seven keeper bites,” said Rodriguez, who earned his first career win in FLW competition. “I started in grass but the water was too muddy, so I focused on wood and rocks. They were a little deeper, in 6 to 8 of water.”
Rodriguez said he used a homemade jig with a black and blue-colored Berkley Havoc Skeet’s Pit Boss trailer.
“I did throw a crankbait, but I decided to slow down,” said Rodriguez. “It didn’t seem like the fish were chasing anything. The jig was the deal.”
During practice, Rodriguez said he pinpointed four areas where he knew he could get some quality bites, and decided to run the same route during the event.
“I didn’t catch a lot of bass from each area in practice, but the ones I did were decent-sized,” said Rodriguez. “I figured if I kept moving I could put something together.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Dan Rodriguez, Monkton, Md., five bass, 19-11, $3,592
2nd: Randy Bassler, Westminster, Md., five bass, 16-10, $2,456
3rd: Randy Caruso, Liberty, N.Y., four bass, 16-4, $1,301
4th: Daniel Gray, Butler, Pa., four bass, 14-3, $838
5th: Travis Manson, Conshohocken, Pa., four bass, 14-0, $718
6th: Nick Ferry, Levittown, Pa., four bass, 13-1, $659
7th: John Vanore, Mullica Hill, N.J., three bass, 12-14, $599
8th: Wayne Dietz, Carbondale, Pa., four bass, 12-13, $539
9th: Joe LaBarbera, Montrose, Pa., three bass, 12-10, $479
Bassler caught a bass weighing 5 pounds, 13 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – which earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $460.
Richard O’Brien of Stony Point, New York, won the Co-angler Division and $1,796 Saturday with three bass weighing 10 pounds, 1 ounce.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Richard O’Brien, Stony Point, N.Y., three bass, 10-1, $1,796
2nd: Bill Naron, Beaverdam, Va., three bass, 9-11, $898
3rd: Andrew Chianese, North East, Md., three bass, 8-4, $598
4th: Greg Rzeplinski, Wellsville, Pa., two bass, 7-10, $419
5th: Eric Donnelly, Selinsgrove, Pa., two bass, 5-12, $359
6th: Randy Hutchinson, Sewell, N.J., one bass, 5-10, $559
7th: Christy Tiano, Hudson, N.Y., one bass, 5-7, $399
8th: Tim Berkheimer, Gettysburg, Pa., one bass, 5-3, $269
9th: Bryan Folino, Chesire, Mass., one bass, 5-0, $239
10th: Matt Hummel, Lancaster, Pa., one bass, 4-14, $260
Hutchinson’s bass was the heaviest caught among Co-angler Division anglers. The fish earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $230.
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.