(Oct 3, 2017 - HENRICO, Va.)
Boater Keith Estes of Spring Grove, Virginia, weighed a two-day cumulative total of 10 bass weighing 28 pounds even to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Shenandoah Division tournament on the James River. For his efforts, Estes received $4,101.
Estes said he concentrated on an array of creeks at the mouth of the Chickahominy River, near Jamestown. He targeted bass near trees and submerged wood in the 3- to 5-foot range.
“The main thing with tidal fisheries is that you have to pick whether you’re going to run the incoming or outgoing tide,” said Estes, who clinched his first career win in FLW competition. “Normally I like to fish the outgoing tide, but it was a very small window later in the day so I decided to run the incoming tide.”
Estes said a Blue Fleck-colored Berkley Power Worm caught the most fish, while crankbaits produced the big bites.
“I was fortunate to find fish in practice that I could save for Sunday,” said Estes.
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Keith Estes, Spring Grove, Va., 10 bass, 28-0, $4,101
2nd: Brian LaClair, Denton, Md., 10 bass, 26-14, $1,951
3rd: Ben Reynolds, Callands, Va., 10 bass, 26-13, $1,301
4th: Wayne Dorman, Louisa, Va., 10 bass, 26-4, $910
5th: Mike Morris, Dover, Del., 10 bass, 25-12, $780
6th: Steven Wiseman, Bryans Road, Md., 10 bass, 25-6, $815
7th: Zachary Whitt, Newport News, Va., 10 bass, 24-7, $650
8th: Donald Estes, Richmond, Va., 10 bass, 21-7, $585
9th: Shaun Hunter, Mount Airy, N.C., nine bass, 18-2, $520
10th: Derek Brown, Charlottesville, Va., eight bass, 17-1, $455
Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, caught a bass weighing 6 pounds even – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the Boater Big Bass award of $420.
Jonathan Sayers of Wytheville, Virginia, caught a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 19 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the Co-angler Division and $2,151.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Jonathan Sayers, Wytheville, Va., 10 bass, 19-10, $2,151
2nd: Ronald Fulwider, Moneta, Va., eight bass, 17-10, $975
3rd: Chad Poteat, Mount Airy, N.C., nine bass, 15-15, $699
4th: David Kennedy, Woodbridge, Va., nine bass, 15-14, $455
5th: Kenny Main, Colonial Heights, Va., eight bass, 13-15, $390
6th: Lenny Baird, Stafford, Va., seven bass, 13-9, $358
7th: Travis Garrett, Charlottesville, Va., seven bass, 11-3, $325
8th: William Lane, Midlothian, Va., five bass, 10-6, $293
9th: Chris Whittaker, Waverly, Va., six bass, 10-1, $260
10th: Nelson Bailey, Virginia Beach, Va., five bass, 9-6, $228
Dick Allen of Sumerduck, Virginia, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a fish weighing 4 pounds, 9 ounces – and earned the Co-angler Big Bass award of $210.
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 Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia. 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. The 2018 All-American will be held on Cross Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana, May 31-June 2 and is hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier City Sports Commission and the Red River Waterway Commission. 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.