CORNELIA’S BENFIELD WINS T-H MARINE FLW BASS FISHING LEAGUE TOURNAMENT ON LAKE HARTWELL
Ellenwood’s Waldon Claims Co-Angler Title
LAVONIA, Ga. (April 8, 2019) – Boater Brad Benfield of Cornelia, Georgia, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River Division tournament on Lake Hartwell with a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 15 ounces. For his day on the water, Benfield took home $2,977.
Benfield said he sight-fished for bass on the lower end of the lake near the dam on the Georgia side. He said he targeted main-lake pockets, and had about 20 different pockets at his disposal.
“The fish were kind of behind the grass that had been on the bank before the lake had come up – I think its dogfennel grass – in 2 feet or less of water,” said Benfield, who grabbed his first win in FLW competition. “I probably caught eight keepers. It was slow until midday, but when it warmed about 1:30 [p.m.] until weigh-in is when I caught most of them.”
Benfield said he used two different baits – a 5-inch, Texas-rigged Pumpkin Chartreuse-colored Zoom Lizard with a ¼-ounce tungsten sinker weight and a 3/8-ounce, green-pumpkin-colored 706 Fishing Lures shaky-head rig with a Watermelon Candy-colored Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw.
“I just flipped to the beds to get them agitated,” said Benfield. “All the fish I weighed were largemouth. I did catch a couple spotted bass, but culled those out.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Brad Benfield, Cornelia, Ga., five bass, 14-15, $2,977
2nd: Derrick Bridges, Greenville, S.C., five bass, 14-7, $1,489
3rd: Carl Zoellner, Highlands, N.C., five bass, 13-10, $992
4th: Sean Skey, Sumter, S.C., five bass, 13-8, $895
5th: Randy Childers, Anderson, S.C., five bass, 13-2, $845
6th: Jeremy Strong, Elberton, Ga., five bass, 12-15, $846
7th: Justin Raines, Easley, S.C., five bass, 12-14, $596
8th: Joe Eubanks, Marietta, Ga., five bass, 12-5, $447
9th: Baylor Ronemus, Clarkesville, Ga., five bass, 12-2, $397
10th: Justin Singleton, Milledgeville, Ga., five bass, 11-15, $347
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Michael Molenaar of Grovetown, Georgia, caught a 4-pound, 15-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $340.
Stephen Waldon of Ellenwood, Georgia, won the Co-angler Division and $1,839 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 15 pounds, 1 ounce.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Stephen Waldon, Ellenwood, Ga., five bass 15-1, $1,839
2nd: Corey Bryson, Mount Airy, Ga., five bass, 13-6, $744
3rd: Roger Coggins, Greenville, S.C., five bass, 11-7, $497
4th: Keith Horton, Anderson, S.C., four bass, 10-2, $347
5th: Eric Cerny, Cumming, Ga., five bass, 10-0, $298
6th: Bill Hawkins, Piedmont, S.C., five bass, 9-13, $323
7th: Keith Lewis, Franklin, N.C., five bass, 9-11, $235
7th: Tucker Souther, Brevard, N.C., five bass, 9-11, $235
9th: Mark Johnson, Martinez, Ga., five bass, 9-9, $198
10th: Nathan McClure, Hiawassee, Ga., five bass, 9-8, $174
Mario Hill of Thomson, Georgia, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 5 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $170.
The tournament was hosted by Tugaloo State Park.
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. 10-12 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Georgia. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard.
The 2019 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 be held May 30-June 1 at the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland, and is hosted by the Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism and the Commissioners of Charles County. 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. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.