(Sep 12, 2017 - MOORESVILLE, N.C.)
Robert Walser of Lexington, North Carolina, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) North Carolina Division tournament on Lake Norman Sunday with a two-day cumulative catch of 10 bass weighing 25 pounds, 6 ounces. For his efforts, Walser pocketed $6,014.
“On Saturday I focused on fish on the north end of the lake,” said Walser, who earned his 10th career-victory in FLW competition. “I caught them early on points using a white buzzbait, and then switched to a (Zoom) Finesse Worm for bass near isolated wood.”
Walser said he had a limit of fish heading into Saturday afternoon, but eventually hit a lull. Around 2 p.m., he said he decided to work through a stretch of docks above the Highway 150 bridge that he had fished during practice. He said he switched to a Zoom Baby Brush Hog and was able to put a 6-pound, 2-ounce bass in the boat.
“On Sunday I switched things up and headed down south,” said Walser. “I used the buzzbait and was culling by 8:30 (a.m.) I had all of my weight by 10 (a.m.), but wasn’t sure I had enough to win. There are a lot of talented anglers around Lake Norman, and they know how to make the right adjustments. Luckily everything worked out.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Robert Walser, Lexington, N.C., 10 bass, 25-6, $6,014
2nd: John Allen, Concord, N.C., 10 bass, 23-13, $2,539
3rd: Rob Digh, Denver, N.C., 10 bass, 23-7, $1,894
4th: Artie Phillips, Monroe, N.C., 10 bass, 23-6, $1,185
5th: John Parker, Gaffney, S.C., 10 bass, 23-0, $1,015
6th: Shane LeHew, Catawba, N.C., 10 bass, 22-9, $1,031
7th: Shane Lineberger, Lincolnton, N.C., 10 bass, 21-13, $846
8th: Bryan New, Belmont, N.C., 10 bass, 21-9, $762
9th: Dylan Fulk, Concord, N.C., 10 bass, 21-0, $677
10th: Cody Hoyle, Rutherfordton, N.C., 10 bass, 20-4, $592
Walser’s 6-pound, 2-ouncer was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division. The catch earned him the Boater Big Bass award of $637.
Tobey Lawson of Raleigh, North Carolina, caught a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 18 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the Co-angler Division and $2,739.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Tobey Lawson, Raleigh, N.C., 10 bass, 18-10, $2,739
2nd: Kevin Jones, Hope Mills, N.C., nine bass, 18-2, $1,269
3rd: Brian Transon, Sherrills Ford, N.C., 10 bass, 16-15, $846
4th: Adam Lockler, Charlotte, N.C., nine bass, 15-13, $642
5th: Phillip Rogers, Cornelius, N.C., seven bass, 14-12, $508
6th: Hunter Harwell, Hickory, N.C., nine bass, 13-8, $465
7th: Tyler Ward, Grover, N.C., seven bass, 13-7, $423
8th: Paul Foley, Mooresville, N.C., seven bass, 12-15, $381
9th: Steven Spivey, Whiteville, N.C., seven bass, 12-6, $339
10th: Thomas McDermott, Madison, N.C., six bass, 11-14, $296
Nathan Grose of Summersville, West Virginia, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a fish weighing 3 pounds, 11 ounces – and earned the Co-angler Big Bass award of $319.
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.