(May 22, 2018 - Eufaula, OK)
Boater Mark Johnson of Weleetka, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 18 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the 2018 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Okie Division event at Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,349.
“I spent my tournament fishing on the lower end of the lake, near the dam,” said Johnson, a former FLW College Fishing angler who earned his first career win in BFL competition. “At my first spot, I fished for an hour and a half but only caught one 2-pounder. I moved to my second area and within 30 minutes I had my tournament weight.”
Johnson said that he fished rock piles where the post-spawn fish were setting up, in 15- to 20-feet of water. He credited an unnamed green-pumpkin-colored Football jig with a Zoom Brush Hog and a Carolina-rigged green-pumpkin Brush Hog as his key baits.
“I caught around 20 keepers, but the fish were post-spawn and not looking so good,” Johnson said. “I felt that if I kept them in my livewell much longer I would lose them. So, I decided to end my tournament around 11:30 and weigh what I had in order to keep my fish alive and avoid any penalties.
“That decision to weigh-in early ended up winning me the tournament,” Johnson continued. “If I would have waited, one or two may have been deceased and I would have gotten a dead-fish penalty, which would have cost me the win. My BassCat and Mercury were crucial to making the long run back to weigh-in and keeping my fish alive.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Mark Johnson, Weleetka, Okla., five bass, 18-6, $5,349
2nd: Justin Phillips, Checotah, Okla., five bass, 17-15, $2,675
3rd: David Ryan, Levasy, Mo., five bass, 17-12, $1,982
4th: Chris Jones, Pocola, Okla., five bass, 17-5, $1,348
5th: Joe Erwin, Cleora, Okla., five bass, 17-0, $1,070
6th: Nick Kincaid, Coweta, Okla., five bass, 16-3, $981
7th: Thomas Canady, Collinsville, Okla., five bass, 15-14, $892
8th: George Simonof, Jacksonville, Ark., five bass, 15-13, $802
9th: Sawyer Grace, Russellville, Ark., five bass, 15-10, $668
9th: Cade Alsbury, Gentry, Ark., five bass, 15-10, $668
Josh Poirop of Canadian, Oklahoma, caught a bass weighing 5 pounds, 7 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – to earn the Boater’s Big Bass award of $850.
Patrick Weir of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, won the Co-angler Division Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 5 ounces. Johnson earned $2,675 for his victory.
The top 10 co-anglers finished:
1st: Patrick Weir, Broken Arrow, Okla., five bass, 15-5, $2,675
2nd: Daniel Cowett, Porum, Okla., five bass, 14-13, $1,337
3rd: Fred Fielder, Vian, Okla., five bass, 13-13, $891
4th: Bill Black, McAlester, Okla., five bass, 13-11, $624
5th: Garret Colwell, Pryor, Okla., five bass, 13-8, $735
6th: Zach VanKeulen, Jenks, Okla., five bass, 13-2, $490
7th: Matthew Hargarten, Bolivar, Mo., five bass, 12-15, $496
8th: Mike Silagi, Tulsa, Okla., five bass, 12-9, $401
9th: Nathan McCartney, Claremore, Okla., five bass, 12-7, $357
10th: Scott Parsons, Rogers, Ark., five bass, 12-5, $312
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.