(Oct 17, 2017 - WILLIAMSBURG, Va.)
Boater Richard Owen of Chester, Virginia, caught a three-day cumulative total of 15 bass weighing 40 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional event on the James River presented by Costa Sunglasses. Owen earned $65,000 for his win, including a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and an automatic berth into the 2018 BFL All-American Championship.
“The win is still sinking in – I can’t believe it,” said Owen, who earned his second career-win in BFL competition. “The James River is my home waters. I’ve waited years to qualify for a BFL Regional tournament on it.”
Owen said he fished a small area upriver, near Richmond, throughout the weekend. He sat his boat in 8 to 10 feet of water while he targeted rock jetties, wood and docks.
“The fish were relating to anything that blocked the current. They were using rocks or docks as an ambush point,” said Owen. “With the steep banks and high water, they couldn’t spread out too far. They were confined to the main channel, which really suited my style of fishing.”
Owen said he primarily used a 4-inch watermelon and blue-fleck-colored Zoom Dead Ringer worm on a 6-foot Berkley Lightning Rod.
“I worked through the area slowly, which was key for me,” said Owen. “I prefer to pick apart an area rather than cover a ton of water. It really worked out well.”
The top six boaters that qualified for the 2018 BFL All-American were:
1st: Richard Owen, Chester, Va., 15 bass, 40-11, $65,000
2nd: James Wall, Greensboro, N.C., 15 bass, 40-7, $10,000
3rd: Ralph Ray, Youngsville, N.C., 15 bass, 39-10, $5,000
4th: Chris Panetta, West Simsbury, Conn., 14 bass, 39-7, $3,000
5th: Chris Daves, Spring Grove, Va., 15 bass, 39-4, $2,200
6th: Jackson Pleasant , Raleigh, N.C., 14 bass, 39-2, $1,900
Rounding out the top-10 boaters were:
7th: Jason Wilson, Lincolnton, N.C., 15 bass, 38-11, $1,600
8th: Craig Chambers, Charlotte, N.C., 15 bass, 38-8, $1,400
9th: Tim Teague, Belmont, N.C., 15 bass, 37-4, $2,200
10th: Robert Stinger, Williamsburg, Va., 15 bass, 36-0, $1,000
Adam Lockler of Charlotte, North Carolina, won the Co-angler Division and a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard with a three-day cumulative catch of 15 bass weighing 39 pounds, 10 ounces.
The top six Co-anglers that qualified for the 2018 BFL All-American were:
1st: Adam Lockler, Charlotte, N.C., 15 bass, 39-10, $45,100
2nd: Ben Arnold, La Follette, Tenn., 14 bass, 27-10, $5,000
3rd: Henry McKee, Haddon Heights, N.J., 15 bass, 25-15, $2,500
4th: Michael Nelms, Hartwood, Va., 12 bass, 25-15, $1,550
5th: Colton Chambers, Elizabethton, Tenn., 12 bass, 25-9, $1,000
6th: Nathan Grose, Summersville, W. Va., 13 bass, 25-2, $900
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers were:
7th: Justin Bach, Kannapolis, N.C., 11 bass, 25-1, $800
8th: Tobey Lawson, Raleigh, N.C., 12 bass, 23-14, $700
9th: Chris Whittaker, Waverly, Va., 14 bass, 23-3, $600
10th: Anthony Awgul, Quakertown, Pa., 13 bass, 22-15, $500
The T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Regional Tournament on the James River was hosted by Sports Williamsburg.
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.