(Mar 12, 2018 - Columbiana, AL.)
Boater Michael Smith of Andalusia, Alabama, caught a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 14 ounces, to win Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bama Division event on Lay Lake. For his efforts, Smith earned $4,956.
Smith started his day fishing the mid-lake, catching a 5-pound largemouth on a bed. He said he used a Bruiser Flash-colored Missile Baits Baby D Bomb before moving to the lower end to target spotted bass.
“I hit around 30 areas, including some that had stumps or a hard bottom,” said Smith, who earned his second career win in BFL competition. “I felt like the spots were spawning, but they were in deeper water – like 6 to 15 feet down. I wasn’t looking at them.”
Smith had a one-two punch for catching his fish – an Eco Pro Thunder Spin with a 3½-inch Fishalicious-colored Missile Baits Shockwave Swimbait, and a ¼-ounce Missile Baits Warlock Shakey Head jig with a finesse stickbait.
“When the wind was blowing or there was cloud cover, I used the Thunder Spin,” said Smith. “Both lures were on 12-pound-test fluorocarbon which I think was important. It was good, light line for the clearer water on the lower end.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Michael Smith, Andalusia, Ala., five bass, 17-14, $4,956
2nd: Ricky Smith, Ohatchee, Ala., five bass, 17-13, $1,878
3rd: Patrick Dobbins, Opelika, Ala., five bass, 16-14, $1,164
3rd: Joe Wikoff, Phenix City, Ala., five bass, 16-14, $1,164
5th: Tim Ferguson, Pelham, Ala., five bass, 16-9, $720
5th: C.J. Knight Jr., Sylacauga, Ala., five bass, 16-9, $720
7th: Alexander Wilson Sr., Elmore, Ala., five bass, 16-8, $626
8th: Larry Fransk Jr., Wilsonville, Ala., five bass, 16-4, $563
9th: Jimmy Butler Jr., Opelika, Ala., five bass, 16-3, $501
10th: David Parsons, Dothan, Ala., five bass, 16-1, $438
Luke Plunkett of Pinson, Alabama, weighed a 5-pound, 2-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $490.
Tanner Ellison of Jemison, Alabama, won the Co-angler Division and $1,878 Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 6 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Tanner Ellison, Jemison, Ala., five bass, 17-6, $1,878
2nd: Gary Marlowe, Montgomery, Ala., five bass, 16-13, $1,039
3rd: Larry Purdie, Columbus, Ga., five bass, 16-5, $677
4th: Hayden Teems, Leeds, Ala., five bass, 13-14, $438
5th: Michael Anderson, Newton, Ala., five bass, 13-11, $376
6th: Tyler Conn, Wetumpka, Ala., four bass, 13-9, $344
7th: Heath Martin, Fyffe, Ala., three bass, 13-8, $558
8th: Caleb Scott, Sylacauga, Ala., five bass, 13-3, $282
9th: Chris Patterson, Morris, Ala., five bass, 13-2, $250
10th: Daniel Buswell Jr., Fayetteville, Ga., five bass, 12-3, $219
Martin caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division weighing in at 6 pounds, 14 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $245.
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. 11-13 BFL Regional Championship on the St. Johns River in Palatka, Florida. 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.