(Apr 16, 2018 - Gerrys Ferry, AR)
Boaters Chris Layton of North Little Rock, Arkansas, and Jason Lieblong of Conway, Arkansas, each caught five bass Saturday weighing 12 pounds, 15 ounces, to tie for the win at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Arkie Division event on Greers Ferry Lake presented by GEARED. After contingency bonuses Layton earned $5,207, while Lieblong took home $4,672.
“I started out throwing a crawdad-colored Strike King 3XD crankbait and caught my first largemouth right after 7 (a.m.),” said Layton, who earned his first win in FLW competition. “There’s a big buck brush flat in the Edgemont area that is generally loaded with fish after the spawn. I figured out that they were actually outside of the brush in 10 to 12 feet of water. I paralleled them with a ChatterBait and a white Mister Twister Twister Tail trailer and caught a 6-pound, 7-ouncer.”
Following his kicker bite, Layton said a cold front moved in which prompted him to target smallmouth. He said he fished a flat with rocks in the Shiloh Park area and finished his limit with the crankbait.
“Around 2 (p.m.) I caught a smallmouth that gave me a ½–pound upgrade – that was key for me,” said Layton.
Lieblong took advantage of the flipping bite and caught his first three largemouth using a green-pumpkin and red-colored lizard around buck brush.
“I’m pretty sure they were on beds, but the water was too dingy to know for sure,” said Lieblong, who logged his third win in FLW competition. “Two of them were on the backside of the brush and one was out front. It took a couple hours to get them in the boat. The water was rising so I think they were scattered.”
Around 1 p.m., Lieblong finished his limit with a Megabass 110 jerkbait fishing main-lake points and bluff walls.
“Within 10 minutes I caught a spotted bass and then a 5-pound largemouth – that’s when I knew I had a chance to win,” said Lieblong.
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Chris Layton, North Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 12-15, $4,207 + $1,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
1st: Jason Lieblong, Conway, Ark., five bass, 12-15. $3,672 + $1,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
3rd: Shawn Gordon, Russellville, Ark., five bass, 12-7. $1,422
4th: Tyler Matlock, Omaha, Ark., five bass, 12-6, $925
5th: Mike Brower, Texarkana, Texas, five bass, 11-13, $793
6th: Fred Martin, North Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 11-9, $1,027
7th: Nicholas Brown, Mayflower, Ark., five bass, 11-8, $660
8th: Russell Richmond, Sheridan, Ark., five bass, 11-7, $594
9th: Reid Prescott, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 10-14, $528
10th: Kyle Hess, Wynne, Ark., five bass, 10-12, $439
10th: Wayne Dixon, Morrilton, Ark., five bass, 10-12, $439
Layton’s 6-pound, 7-ounce largemouth was the heaviest caught in the Boater Division, and earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $535.
Eric Pinter of Little Rock, Arkansas, won the Co-angler Division and $1,944 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 11 pounds, 7 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Eric Pinter, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 11-7, $1,944
2nd: Steve Belew, Beebe, Ark., five bass, 10-2, $810
2nd: Robert Scott, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 10-2, $810
4th: Jason Mullins, Benton, Ark., five bass, 9-7, $454
5th: Matt Russell, England, Ark., four bass, 9-5, $389
6th: Nicholas Bergt, Atlanta, Texas, five bass, 9-4, $356
7th: Spencer Clark, Maryland Heights, Mo., five bass, 9-3, $308
7th: Dusty Rhoades, Gravelly, Ark., five bass, 9-3, $508
9th: Randy Bridges, Quitman, Ark., five bass, 9-2, $259
10th: Jonathan Lourenco, Lee's Summit, Mo., five bass, 9-1, $227
David Adams of Roland, Arkansas, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division weighing in at 4 pounds, 13 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $262.
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. 25-27 BFL Regional Championship on Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. 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.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com.
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.