(Oct 17, 2017 - DECATUR, AL.)
Boater Kip Carter of Social Circle, Georgia, caught a three-day cumulative total of 15 bass weighing 42 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional event on Wheeler Lake presented by Ranger Boats. For his efforts, Carter took home $65,200 including a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and an automatic berth into the 2018 BFL All-American Championship.
“I've led a couple of big tournaments in the past, but fell short at the end. It feels good to finally win one,” said Carter, who pushed his career earnings to nearly $220,000 in FLW competition. “This is by far the biggest accomplishment of my fishing career.”
Carter said he stayed mid-lake the first two days of the event, fishing stained water flowing in from small streams. He used spinnerbaits and buzzbaits to catch his fish on Day One, but switched to a Bone-colored Paycheck Baits Repo Man topwater for Day Two.
“I’m pretty sure the drains had gizzard shad, and that was important, so I switched lures,” said Carter.
By Day Three on Saturday, Carter said his drainage bite had come to a halt. He only had one keeper in the livewell by 11 a.m., so he decided to target bass in tributary creeks. He continued to use his Repo Man topwater, and rotated in a Spro Bronzeye Frog.
“It turned out to be a good move,” said Carter. “I found some fish up in Flint Creek and was able to catch a few good ones. The first one I caught was 4½-pounder. That fish told me I was back in the running for the win.”
The top six boaters that qualified for the 2018 BFL All-American were:
1st: Kip Carter, Social Circle, Ga., 15 bass, 42-12, $65,200
2nd: Tyler Morgan, Columbus, Ga., 15 bass, 40-7, $10,100
3rd: Brandon McGinnis, Pell City, Ala., 15 bass, 37-15, $5,000
4th: John Duvall, Madison, Ga., 15 bass, 37-4, $3,000
5th: Adam Wagner, Cookeville, Tenn., 15 bass, 36-13, $2,000
6th: Grant Kelly, Milledgeville, Ga., 15 bass, 35-8, $1,800
Rounding out the top-10 boaters were:
7th: Tony Harvey, Rogersville, Ala., 13 bass, 34-2, $1,600
8th: Daniel Johnson, Lebanon, Tenn., 15 bass, 31-13, $1,400
9th: Will Blount, Andalusia, Ala., 15 bass, 31-8, $1,200
10th: Jay Melton, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 14 bass, 31-3, $1,000
Michael Smith of Piedmont, South 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 36 pounds, 14 ounces.
The top six co-anglers that qualified for the 2018 BFL All-American were:
1st: Michael Smith, Piedmont, S.C., 15 bass, 36-14, $45,200
2nd: Matthew O’Connell, Brooks, Ga., 15 bass, 32-3, $5,050
3rd: Matthew Bouldin, Smithville, Tenn., 11 bass, 26-11, $2,500
4th: Harold Grizzle, Gainesville, Ga., 10 bass, 23-4, $1,500
5th: Daniel Tuten, Byron, Ga., 12 bass, 21-12, $1,000
6th: Chris Harcrow, Dawson, Ala., 15 bass, 21-3, $900
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers were:
7th: Chris Wade, Acworth, Ga., 10 bass, 20-3, $800
8th: Randall Wiggins, Birmingham, Ala., nine bass, 18-1, $700
9th: Stanley Smith, Greensboro, Ga., 11 bass, 17-14, $600
10th: Mark Johnson, Lebanon, Tenn., nine bass, 17-9, $500
The T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Regional Tournament on Wheeler Lake was hosted by the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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.