(Mar 12, 2018 - Grove, OK)
Boater Kevin Miller of Andover, Kansas, caught a 25-pound, 3-ounce, limit Saturday to win the 2018 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Ozark Division season opener on Grand Lake presented by Navionics. For his efforts, Miller pocketed $4,796.
“I caught the majority of my limit targeting suspended fish with swimbaits around points,” said Miller, who earned his first career win with FLW. “I ran about 20 miles south, and used a White Pearl-colored (Zoom) Swimmin’ Super Fluke Jr. to catch four of the five fish I weighed in.”
Miller said the fish in his areas were anywhere from 10 to 15 feet down.
“I rotated through about six different points and really had figured them out by 10:30 (a.m.),” said Miller. “After that I was able to go back from point to point and pattern them, and completed my limit by 2:30 (p.m.)”
As he returned to the takeoff ramp, Miller stopped into a shallow cove and threw a vibrating jig in 3 feet of water. He said he had around five minutes left in competition when he caught a 6-pound, 8-ounce fish – his biggest of the day.
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Kevin Miller, Andover, Kan., five bass, 25-3, $4,796
2nd: Shawn Kowal, Linn Creek, Mo., five bass, 19-10, $2,598
3rd: Kyle Kitts, Joplin, Mo., five bass, 19-9, $2,310
4th: Rick Johnston, Webb City, Mo., five bass, 16-12, $1,419
5th: Tom Silber, Labadie, Mo., five bass, 15-15, $1,059
6th: Roger Fitzpatrick, Eldon, Mo., five bass, 15-2, $879
7th: Eric Poindexter, Eufaula, Okla., five bass, 14-12, $799
8th: Marcus Sykora, Osage Beach, Mo., four bass, 14-3, $719
9th: Earl Malone, Wichita, Kan., five bass, 13-12, $639
10th: Brad Cook, Afton, Okla., four bass, 13-9, $560
Kitts weighed an 8-pound, 12-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $715.
Michael Fey Jr. of Cuba, Missouri, won the Co-angler Division and $2,755 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 13 pounds, 8 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Michael Fey Jr., Cuba, Mo., five bass, 13-8, $2,755
2nd: Joshua Dyrland, Imperial, Mo., three bass, 9-7, $1,199
3rd: Nate Atchley, Warrensburg, Mo., three bass, 9-4, $795
4th: Douglas Jersak, Springfield, Mo., three bass, 7-5, $560
5th: Jason Papek, De Soto, Mo., three bass, 7-3, $480
6th: Derek Henderson, Saint Louis, Mo., two bass, 7-1, $440
7th: John Tweedie, Bolivar, Mo., two bass, 6-9, $400
8th: Kit Lueg, Olathe, Kan., three bass, 6-8, $360
9th: Walter Hammond, Lees Summit, Mo., two bass, 5-6, $320
10th: Pat Vaughn, Lane, Kan., three bass, 5-5, $280
Fey also caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division weighing in at 5 pounds, 5 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $357.
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 Kentucky and Barkley lakes in Gilbertsville, Kentucky. 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.