(Mar 6, 2018 - HENDERSON, N.C.)
Boater Zachary Whitt of Newport News, Virginia, caught a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 8 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division opener on Kerr Lake presented by Navionics. Whitt took home $4,315 for his efforts.
Whitt said he fished for bass along a stretch of riprap in Nutbush Creek, primarily focusing on three sections with ledges 6 feet down.
“The ledges were right next to deep water – sometimes 20 to 25 feet down – and the bass were really keyed in on them,” said Whitt, who earned his first win in BFL competition. “It was the last major deep hole before the back of creek, and I figured I could target bass both heading up to spawn or heading back out with the approaching cold front.”
Whitt didn’t want to divulge specifics, but said he used a red crankbait and caught every fish he weighed in by 9 a.m.
“I borrowed a 16-foot boat with a 25-horsepower engine for this event, and I think ended up being a big factor for me,” said Whitt. “The smaller engine kept me close to takeoff. If I had used my own boat I wouldn’t have stayed as close to the ramp and definitely would have gone to other areas.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Zachary Whitt, Newport News, Va., five bass, 21-8, $4,315
2nd: David Wright, Lexington, N.C., five bass, 19-10, $2,767
3rd: Ray Griffin, Greensboro, N.C., five bass, 16-14, $1,439
4th: Gary D'Angelo, Woodbine, Md., five bass, 16-7, $1,207
5th: Chad Poteat, Mount Airy, N.C., five bass, 16-4, $963
6th: Andy Francis, Chester, Va., three bass, 14-15, $791
7th: Neil Eckberg, Cary, N.C., five bass, 14-10, $719
8th: Ralph Hollifield Jr., Winston-Salem, N.C., five bass, 14-8, $647
9th: Cameron Lineback, Mount Airy, N.C., five bass, 14-4, $575
10th: Bradley Staley, Pleasant Garden, N.C., five bass, 13-8, $503
Wright caught a bass weighing 5 pounds, 14 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $610.
Craig Wright of Rustburg, Virginia, won the Co-angler Division and $2,357 Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Craig Wright, Rustburg, Va., five bass, 13-11, $2,357
2nd: Jamie Baynard, Clayton, N.C., five bass, 12-1, $1,079
3rd: Johnathan Hager, Roxboro, N.C., four bass, 10-13, $717
4th: Zachary Burton, Lynchburg, Va., four bass, 10-6, $503
5th: Matthew Haizel, Holly Springs, N.C., five bass, 10-5, $431
6th: Wayne Smelser, Rural Retreat, Va., three bass, 7-9, $428
6th: Brian Nappier, Huntersville, N.C., three bass, 7-9, $428
8th: Mark Ludwig, Chesterfield, Va., one bass, 6-14, $629
9th: Dylan McLeod, Spring Lake, N.C., three bass, 6-6, $288
10th: Joshua Kidd, Evington, Va., two bass, 6-4, $252
Ludwig caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – 6-pounds, 14-ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $305.
The T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division event on Kerr Lake presented by Navionics was hosted by the Vance County Department of Tourism.
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. 18-20 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Norman in Huntersville, North Carolina. 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 2018 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 BFL All-American will be held May 31-June 2 at Cross Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports 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 2018 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct 286 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. 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.