(Jul 20, 2017 - BREWERTON, N.Y.)
Pro Grae Buck of Harleysville, Pennsylvania, caught a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds even Saturday to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake. For his win, Buck pocketed $5,303.
“I fished in 9 to 12 feet of water around grass and rock that were mixed together,” said Buck, an FLW Tour rookie who logged his third career-victory in BFL competition. “I rotated through seven areas and hit each one twice, focusing on individual fish that were cruising by themselves. Other anglers were catching them from schools, but I couldn’t get them going.”
Buck said he utilized a Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm on a drop-shot rig as his key bait. He preferred 7.3-pound test Seaguar Finesse Fluorocarbon line because it eliminated some of the twisting that comes with fishing a drop-shot rig.
“I did my best to make contact with the rock between the grass patches,” said Buck. “I was dragging the rig more than anything. If you weren’t dragging it, you weren’t getting bit. I’m pretty sure they were feeding on perch down there.
“I caught my heaviest fish with 20 minutes left in the day,” Buck went on to say. “It culled out a 2½-pounder, so it basically won me the tournament.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Grae Buck, Harleysville, Pa., five bass, 18-0, $5,303
2nd: Kevin Park, Waymart, Pa., five bass, 17-9, $2,232
3rd: Ian Renfrew, Phoenix, N.Y., five bass, 17-6, $1,589
4th: Tyler Sheppard, Hermitage, Pa., five bass, 16-6, $1,041
5th: Tyler Morgan, Pine Grove, Pa., five bass, 16-3, $893
6th: Paul Kimball, Glastonbury, Conn., five bass, 16-1, $818
7th: Brandon Esterly, Forest, Va., five bass, 15-15, $744
8th: Jeremy Douglas, Rochester, N.Y., five bass, 15-10, $669
9th: Jason Shipton, Muncy, Pa., five bass, 15-8, $595
10th: Shaun Kucharski, Pittston, Pa., five bass, 15-5, $521
Buck’s 4-pound, 11-ounce fish was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division, and also earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $640.
Jason Dubernas of Old Forge, Pennsylvania, won the Co-angler Division and $2,232 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 18 pounds, 6 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Jason Dubernas, Old Forge, Pa., five bass, 18-6, $2,232
2nd: Henry McKee, Haddon Heights, N.J., five bass, 16-1, $1,116
3rd: Matt Maze, Johnsonburg, Pa., five bass, 14-5, $743
4th: Robby Zellers, Philadelphia, Pa., five bass, 13-11, $521
5th: William Allie, Wynantskill, N.Y., five bass, 13-10, $446
6th: Roy Bilby, Richmondville, N.Y., five bass, 13-8, $409
7th: Peter Longo, Neptune, N.J., five bass, 13-5, $372
8th: Thomas Dellinger, Myerstown, Pa., five bass, 13-2, $335
9th: Shawn Flynn, Dexter, N.Y., five bass, 12-15, $298
10th: Bryan Folino, Cheshire, Mass., four bass, 12-11, $460
Rick Hahn of Fulton, New York, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a fish weighing 4 pounds, 8 ounces – and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $320.
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 258 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.