Fishing & Boating News

Pennsylvania’s Thompson Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on the Chesapeake Bay  

Bahnweg Takes Co-angler Title

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

Boater Joseph Thompson of Coatesville, PA, caught a 2-day cumulative total of 10 bass weighing 29 lbs, 9 oz, to win the weather-shortened Chesapeake Bay,
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(Oct 15, 2018 - North East, MD)

 Boater Joseph Thompson of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, caught a two-day cumulative total of 10 bass weighing 29 pounds, 9 ounces, to win the weather-shortened T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional championship on the Chesapeake Bay presented by Lowrance. Thompson pocketed $66,000 for his efforts, including a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and automatic entry into the 2019 BFL All-American Championship.

Originally scheduled for Oct. 11-13, competition Friday, Oct. 12, was cancelled by FLW officials due to high winds. As a result, the winner was determined by combining Thursday and Saturday’s weights.

“I really struggled on the first day until about noon,” said Thompson, who earned his second career win in BFL competition. “Every piece of structure in the North East River was covered with two or three boats because the fishing was so tough out on the flats.

“I went up into the North East Creek and found a little spot where there was just enough room for one more boat on a small piece of structure – a tree laydown. I fished it with a (green-pumpkin-colored) Zoom Finesse Worm on a drop-shot rig, and managed to catch a limit just before the end of the day.”

With just over 10 pounds of bass on Day One, Thompson knew he needed a big catch on Day Two to break into the top six – his ultimate goal.
“On the final morning I got a water temperature reading and found it had dropped 8 or 9 degrees,” said Thompson. “I was happy with how cold it got. With some history in mind, I knew people would have a hard time with the cold front, but also felt that I would excel.”

Thompson said he re-rigged a couple of rods for the conditions and proceeded to work through three big-fish areas.

“These are my home waters and there are three areas that I feel hold the big fish,” said Thompson. “In the morning, I targeted a dock in the North East River. I fished an Avocado-colored grub, very slowly, on a light, plain ball-headed jig and had two fish at noon. When the tide started to fall, I moved out into about 13 feet of water and fished a (green-pumpkin) Yamamoto Senko with a 1/16th-ounce (Picasso) tungsten bullet weight. I let the current move it along the bottom and got three bites.”

Thompson went on to give Susquehanna Fishing Tackle in Columbia, Pennsylvania, a special thanks for delivering all of the necessary tackle and credited his Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor as his key piece of equipment at the event.

“This is the biggest win I’ve ever had and my Ultrex played a big role in it,” said Thompson. “The wind was really blowing on Day Two, but I was able to use the Spot Lock feature and focus on the fishing. The bites were subtle and I had to pay attention.”

The top six boaters that qualified for the 2019 BFL All-American were:
              1st:           Joseph Thompson, Coatesville, Pa., 10 bass, 29-9, $66,000
               2nd:         Ronnie Baker, Providence Forge, Va., nine bass, 27-1, $10,200
               3rd:          Moo Bae, West Friendship, Md., nine bass, 26-2, $5,100
               4th:          Ryan Bauman, Fleetwood, Pa., 10 bass, 25-13, $3,000
               5th:          Chris Martinkovic, Hamilton, Ohio, 10 bass, 25-12, $2,000
               6th:          Steven Wiseman, Bryans Road, Md., 10 bass, 25-6, $1,800
Rounding out the top-10 boaters were:
               7th:          Dave Lauer, McConnelsville, Ohio, nine bass, 25-3, $1,600
               8th:          Jon Werner, Nazareth, Pa., 10 bass, 24-10, $1,400
               9th:          Otis Darnell, Linden, Va., 10 bass, 24-9, $1,200
               10th:        Ryan Powroznik, Hopewell, Va., 10 bass, 24-8, $1,000

Michael Bahnweg of Union Dale, Pennsylvania, won the Co-angler Division and a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard with a two-day cumulative catch of nine bass weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces.

The top six co-anglers that qualified for the 2019 BFL All-American were:
              1st:           Michael Bahnweg, Union Dale, Pa., nine bass, 22-6, $45,000
               2nd:         William Allie, Wynantskill, N.Y., eight bass, 21-9, $5,200
               3rd:          Henry McKee, Haddon Heights, N.J., 10 bass, 18-8, $2,550
               4th:          Michael Nelms, Hartwood, Va., eight bass, 17-15, $1,500
               5th:          Howard Smith, Hamilton, Ohio, six bass, 17-11, $1,000
               6th:          David Williams, Fredericksburg, Va., five bass, 17-6, $900
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers were:
               7th:          Matthew Cozad, Okeana, Ohio, seven bass, 17-4, $800
               8th:          Mike Geisler, Oxford, Ohio, eight bass, 16-12, $700
               9th:          Cort Gardner, Jessup, Md., eight bass, 16-10, $600
               10th:        Michael Duarte, Baltimore, Md., seven bass, 16-1, $500

The T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on the Chesapeake Bay presented by Lowrance was hosted by Cecil County Tourism.
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 2019 BFL All-American will take place May 30-June 1 on the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland, and is hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners and the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.

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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.