(May 8, 2018 - NEW HILL, N.C.)
Boater Robert Walser of Lexington, North Carolina, caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) North Carolina Division tournament on Jordan Lake. For his win, Walser was awarded $5,048.
Walser started his day fishing banks with rocks and wood on the lower end of the lake using a Rush Lures spinnerbait with a chartreuse-colored Zoom Swimmin’ Fluke Jr. He said he caught the bulk of his fish early, and was culling by 8 a.m.
“I figured out in practice on Tuesday that bass were trying to eat shad and when I returned Saturday, they were fairly close by,” said Walser, who earned his 10th career win in BFL competition. “I ran my Garmin Panoptix and could see the rocks and stumps out in front of me. In addition to helping me stay off them, it helped me cast my spinnerbait to the right depths. The bait was 2 to 3 feet down and I wanted to keep it there.”
Around 11 a.m., Walser ran to the upper end of the lake in search of a kicker. He said he flipped wood with a green-pumpkin Zoom Baby Brush Hog rigged on a Berkley Fusion 19 Offset Hook with Hi-Seas fluorocarbon line.
“The hook was a bit smaller and didn’t get hung up as much – it’s a strong little hook,” said Walser. “I caught two that helped – a 2¾- and a 4-pounder – and they turned out to be what I needed to win it all.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Robert Walser, Lexington, N.C., five bass, 18-11, $3,048 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: James Blankenship, Siler City, N.C., five bass, 18-1, $1,374
3rd: Chad Poteat, Mount Airy, N.C., five bass, 18-0, $1,116
4th: Billy Bledsoe, Fayetteville, N.C., five bass, 17-12, $793
5th: Matt Stoupa, Colonial Heights, Va., five bass, 16-2, $650
6th: Ryan Deal, Indian Trail, N.C., four bass, 14-12, $504
7th: Neil Eckberg, Cary, N.C., five bass, 13-15, $458
8th: Russell Corry, Shelby, N.C., four bass, 12-11, $412
9th: Ralph Hollifield Jr., Winston-Salem, N.C., three bass, 10-14, $495
9th: Doug Dulin, Apex, N.C., three bass, 10-14, $343
Bledsoe brought a 6-pound, 3-ounce bass to the scale – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $152.
Nathan Grose of Summersville, West Virginia, won the Co-angler Division and $1,574 Saturday after catching four bass weighing 11 pounds, 11 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Nathan Grose, Summersville, W. Va., four bass, 11-11, $1,574
2nd: Zach Lyles, Charlotte, N.C., three bass, 10-8, $687
3rd: Brian Transon, Sherrills Ford, N.C., four bass, 10-3, $459
4th: Justin Johnson, Apex, N.C., two bass, 9-6, $473
5th: Robert Green, Sedalia, N.C., four bass, 8-3, $275
6th: Mark Whitman, Elon, N.C., two bass, 7-14, $302
7th: Frank Earnhardt, Troy, N.C., three bass, 6-12, $229
8th: Tristen Trull, Mount Holly, N.C., three bass, 6-10, $206
9th: Mathew Baker, Asheboro, N.C., two bass, 6-9, $183
10th: Robert Jarrett, Lexington, N.C., three bass, 6-7, $160
Johnson caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division weighing in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $152.
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 Chesapeake Bay in North East, Maryland. 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.