(Apr 30, 2018 - OSAGE BEACH, Mo.)
Boater Zach Bechtel of Cuba, Missouri, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 21 pounds, 7 ounces to win the 2018 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Ozark Division event on Lake of the Ozarks. For his win, Bechtel earned the first place prize of $5,020 plus a $2,000 Ranger Cup contingency bonus.
“I had been fishing in a few local tournaments over the past few weeks and had been catching a lot of fish,” said Bechtel. “But, when I went out on Friday to practice for this event, the fish were gone. I looked and looked and I couldn’t find them anywhere. I knew I was in trouble.
“Saturday, I woke up without a real plan and just decided to go fishing,” Bechtel said. “Everyone else kept saying that the fish had moved shallow to spawn, but I decided that I was going to fish in areas where I believed the fish were still staging. On my first spot I caught a 4½- and a 5-pounder and I just dialed it in from there.”
Bechtel said that he fished around 20 different points through the day with a ¾-ounce silver and red-colored War Eagle spinnerbait with a smoke shad-colored Keitech Fat Impact swimbait on it. He estimated that he caught 10 or 11 keepers throughout the day.
“I think the wind was pretty important to my pattern,” Bechtel said. “The points had to be wind-blown in order to get bit.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Zach Bechtel, Cuba, Mo., five bass, 21-7, $5,020 + $2,000 Ranger Cup
2nd: Mark Tucker, Kirkwood, Mo., five bass, 19-8, $2,560
3rd: Keith Nickell, Warsaw, Mo., five bass, 19-1, $1,574
4th: Rob Bueltmann, Osage Beach, Mo., five bass, 18-2, $1,201
5th: David Ryan, Levasy, Mo., five bass, 17-12, $944
6th: Ronnie Kane, Gardner, Kan., five bass, 17-8, $865
7th: Tom Alsop, Overland Park, Kan., five bass, 15-5, $787
8th: Tom Silber, Labadie, Mo., five bass, 15-2, $708
9th: Jason Rhyne, Foristell, Mo., five bass, 15-1, $629
10th: Shawn Kowal, Linn Creek, Mo., five bass, 14-6, $551
Doug Henzlik of Leawood, Kansas, caught a bass weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $695.
Tom Lloyd of Springfield, Missouri, won the Co-angler Division and $2,560 Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds even.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Tom Lloyd, Springfield, Mo., five bass, 16-0, $2,560
2nd: Spencer Clark, Maryland Heights, Mo., five bass, 12-15, $1,180
3rd: Taylor Day, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., two bass, 9-0, $787
4th: Lang Yang, Miami, Okla., three bass, 8-10, $551
5th: Jordan Williams, Oak Grove, Mo., three bass, 8-4, $522
6th: Dennis Spell, Bonne Terre, Mo., three bass, 7-10, $433
7th: Bryan Barnard, Harrison, Ark., two bass, 7-8, $393
8th: Walter Hammond, Lees Summit, Mo., three bass, 7-3, $354
9th: Terry Misenhelter, Four Seasons, Mo., two bass, 6-13, $315
10th: Kory Ries, Union, Mo., two bass, 6-12, $275
Jeffrey Miller of Fredericktown, Missouri caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a 5-pound, 12-ounce bass that earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $347.
The T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Ozark Division event at Lake of the Ozarks was hosted by the Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association and Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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.
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.