(Apr 23, 2018 - EUFAULA, AL.)
Boater Curtis Hillman of Abbeville, Alabama, caught five bass weighing 23 pounds, 11 ounces, Saturday to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division event on Lake Eufaula. For his finish, Hillman netted $4,199.
Hillman spent his day dissecting areas in Barbour Creek, Cheneyhatchee Creek and near the Highway 82 bridge. He said he targeted bass in 6 to 10 feet of water near humps and rocks and was able to catch his first limit by 8 a.m.
“I got on a shad spawn and caught them with a chartreuse-colored squarebill crankbait and a Citrus Shad-colored (Strike King Pro Model) 5XD crankbait,” said Hillman, who logged his first win in BFL competition. “The local authorities generated water until 11 a.m. and that’s what kept them in our areas.
“After my first limit I culled the rest of the day,” Hillman continued. “I caught them better on wind-blown banks. I didn’t get much in clear water – it needed to be stained.”
Hillman’s day was capped off by a kicker which he pulled from grass in Cowikee Creek using a Strikezone Swim-Tastic Swim Jig with an unnamed trailer.
“I only had an hour left to fish and that catch sealed the deal for me - it was the pound I needed to win.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Curtis Hillman, Abbeville, Ala., five bass, 23-11, $4,199
2nd: Michael Conley, Bainbridge, Ga., five bass, 22-10, $2,300
3rd: Mark Stillwell, Salem, Ala., five bass, 22-9, $1,398
4th: Bryan Meadows, Hogansville, Ga., five bass, 21-11, $1,080
5th: Austin Lang, Dothan, Ala., five bass, 21-7, $840
6th: Scott Montgomery, Eufaula, Ala., five bass, 20-10, $735
6th: Mark Holloway, Madison, Ga., five bass, 20-10, $735
8th: Shane Peck, Gainesville, Ga., five bass, 19-4, $630
9th: Matt Henry, Milledgeville, Ga., five bass, 18-14, $560
10th: Mark Burns, Good Hope, Ga., five bass, 18-11, $490
Michael Wilder of Macon, Georgia, brought a 6-pound, 13-ounce bass to the scale – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $585.
Emory Walden of Newnan, Georgia, won the Co-angler Division and $2,492 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 18 pounds, 4 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Emory Walden, Newnan, Ga., five bass, 18-4, $2,492
2nd: C.J. Norton, Juliette, Ga., five bass, 16-5, $1,050
3rd: Jacob Robinson, Temple, Ga., five bass, 14-9, $751
4th: Shaun Mulhall, Cumming, Ga., five bass, 13-7, $490
5th: Blake Yarbrough, Fitzgerald, Ga., five bass, 13-3, $420
6th: Michael Wilcox, Haddock, Ga., three bass, 12-7, $385
7th: Christopher Wilder, Macon, Ga., four bass, 11-12, $350
8th: Bart Vigo, Upatoi, Ga., three bass, 11-0, $315
9th: Chance Hebert, Norcross, Ga., five bass, 10-15, $280
10th: Dylan Hudson, Phenix City, Ala., five bass, 10-13, $245
Walden also caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division weighing in at 6 pounds, 9 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $292.
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