(Mar 10, 2018 - GAINESVILLE, GA.)
Oklahoma pro Bradley Hallman has one previous career win on the FLW Tour – a 2016 event on Florida’s Lake Okeechobee, where he led the tournament for four straight days and won by a near 15-pound margin. Hallman is looking to match that feat this week on Lake Lanier, as he weighed another limit of spotted bass totaling 13 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to maintain his lead for the third straight day at the FLW Tour at Lake Lanier presented by Ranger Boats. The field is now cut to the final 10 pros for Championship Sunday in the four-day event that featured a field of the world’s best bass-fishing professionals competing for a top prize of up to $125,000.
Hallman’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 55-3 will give him a solid 5-pound, 9-ounce advantage over second-place pro and fellow Oklahoman Zack Birge, who has a three-day total of 15 bass for 49-10. Also trying to catch Hallman on Sunday will be Canadian pro Jeff Gustafson of Keewatin, Ontario (48-10), who sits in third after making his second straight top-10 cut on the FLW Tour after finishing second at the Harris Chain of Lakes in Florida two weeks ago, and local pro Jason Johnson of Dawsonville (48-9), who will start Sunday in 4th place after weighing Saturday’s largest limit of 17-10.
“Today was a day where nothing really bad happened, but I’m happy that I salvaged what I did,” said Hallman, who is fishing in his 20th career FLW Tour event. “Every day I’ve been doing something different and today I caught some off of docks. I only had 10 bites and I put six of them in the boat. The four that I lost were ones that I really could have used.”
Hallman said that he caught his fish Saturday throwing a spinnerbait, a swimbait and a shaky-head rig.
“I caught 18 pounds fishing marinas yesterday,” he said. “I only caught one today. It was hard to get them to bite without the sun – you need the sun to shine to put them in position. When it’s cloudy like it was today, they just roam.
“One way or another, I’m going back to the marinas tomorrow,” Hallman went on to say. “I know how difficult it is to win these Tour events and I need to have a really good day tomorrow. The key will be staying open minded, like I did today. I’ve really enjoyed myself this week – this place is phenomenal.”
The top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition on Lake Lanier are:
1st: Bradley Hallman, Norman, Okla., 15 bass, 55-3
2nd: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 15 bass, 49-10
3rd: Jeff Gustafson, Keewatin, Ontario, Canada, 15 bass, 48-10
4th: Jason Johnson, Dawsonville, Ga., 15 bass, 48-9
5th: Joseph Webster, Winfield, Ala., 15 bass, 47-10
6th: Braxton Setzer, Montgomery, Ala., 15 bass, 47-5
7th: Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., 15 bass, 46-14
8th: Austin Felix, Eden Prairie, Minn., 15 bass, 46-13
9th: David Williams, Maiden, N.C., 15 bass, 46-6
10th: Jordan Osborne, Longview, Texas, 15 bass, 46-4
Finishing in 11h through 30th are:
11th: Randy Haynes, Counce, Tenn., 15 bass, 45-7, $12,000
12th: Polaris pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 15 bass, 45-6, $12,000
13th: Carl Jocumsen, Queensland, Australia, 15 bass, 45-4, $12,000
14th: Alex Davis, Albertville, Ala., 15 bass, 45-3, $12,000
15th: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 44-12, $12,000
16th: David Nichol, Gainesville, Ga., 15 bass, 44-10, $12,000
17th: Allen Boyd, Salem, Ind., 15 bass, 43-5, $12,000
18th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 15 bass, 42-12, $12,000
19th: James Niggemeyer, Van, Texas, 15 bass, 42-12, $12,000
20th: Jared McMillan, Belle Glade, Fla., 15 bass, 41-12, $12,000
21st: Matthew Stefan, Junction City, Wis., 15 bass, 41-9, $10,000
22nd: Jason Meninger, Saint Augustine, Fla., 15 bass, 41-8, $10,000
23rd: General Tire pro Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., 15 bass, 40-10, $10,000
24th: Kyle Weisenburger, Ottawa, Ohio, 15 bass, 40-8, $10,000
25th: Jason Reyes, Huffman, Texas, 14 bass, 40-8, $10,000
26th: Brandon Cobb, Greenwood, S.C., 15 bass, 40-8, $10,000
27th: James Watson, Lampe, Mo., 14 bass, 40-5, $10,000
28th: Grae Buck, Harleysville, Pa., 15 bass, 40-0, $10,000
29th: Rob Jordan, Flowery Branch, Ga., 15 bass, 39-12, $10,000
30th: Tim Cales, Sandstone, W. Va., 15 bass, 39-10, $10,000
Overall there were 148 bass weighing 380 pounds, 3 ounces caught by pros Saturday, Of the final 30 pros, 28 of them were able to bring a five-bass limit to the scale.
Joe Anders of Easley, South Carolina, won the Co-angler Division and $25,000 Friday with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 31 pounds, 10 ounces, followed by Brad Wiley of Alto, Georgia, who finished in second place with 10 bass totaling 31-1, worth $7,550.
In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field of 368 anglers competed in the two-day opening round. Co-angler competition concluded following Friday’s weigh-in, while the top 30 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advanced to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros now continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
The total purse for the FLW Tour at Lake Lanier presented by Ranger Boats is more than $930,000, including $10,000 through 60th place in the Pro division. The tournament is hosted by the Gainesville Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing. The 2018 Forrest Wood Cup will be on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aug. 10-12 and is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.
The final 10 anglers will take off Sunday at 7:45 a.m. DST Sunday morning (Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday) from Laurel Park, located at 3100 Old Cleveland Highway, in Gainesville. Sunday’s final weigh-in will be held at the park and will begin at 4 p.m.
Prior to the weigh-in Sunday, FLW will host a free Family Fishing Expo at Laurel Park from noon to 4 p.m. The Expo is a chance for fishing fans to meet their favorite anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.
Television coverage of the FLW Tour at Lake Lanier presented by Ranger Boats will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) April 18 from Noon-1 p.m. EST. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide.
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.