MOUNT VERNON’S MULLINS WINS T-H MARINE FLW BFL ILLINI DIVISION FINALE ON REND LAKE
Paris’ Eslinger Grabs Co-angler Title
WHITTINGTON, Ill. (Sept. 18, 2017) – Greg Mullins of Mount Vernon, Illinois, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake Sunday with a two-day cumulative catch of 10 bass weighing 28 pounds, 10 ounces. Mullins was awarded $4,869 for his win.
Mullins said he spent the event fishing four stretches – each 200 to 300 yards long – on the north end of the lake. He said he targeted bass on banks that had a combination of riprap and wood, and was able to catch 13 keepers.
“There weren’t as many bites up there compared to the main lake, but they were good-sized fish,” said Mullins, who logged his first career win as a boater in BFL competition. “I think the fish were up against those hard banks to feed because there were a lot of shad. They weren’t schooling up yet, though.”
Mullins said he used a 3/8-ounce chartreuse and white-colored Z-Man ChatterBait with a green-pumpkin-colored Zoom Super Chunk to catch the majority of his fish. He added that his largest bass Saturday came on a green-pumpkin Zoom Ultravibe Speed Worm.
“I threw the ChatterBait any time I came to a good piece of wood, then flipped the worm to it,” said Mullins. “Most of the fish were in 6 inches of water, while I sat in anywhere from 6 inches to 2½ feet of water. My Crestliner was really key in helping me navigate the shallows.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Greg Mullins, Mount Vernon, Ill., 10 bass, 28-10, $4,869
2nd: Neil McCord, West Frankfort, Ill., 10 bass, 25-9, $3,219
3rd: Dan Morehead, Paducah, Ky., 10 bass, 24-0, $1,623
4th: Timothy Rivest, Champaign, Ill., eight bass, 21-7, $1,136
5th: Brian Futch, Vienna, Ill., 10 bass, 21-1, $1,074
6th: Marty Sisk, Evansville, Ind., nine bass, 19-15, $893
7th: Mike Barnes, Mackinaw, Ill., 10 bass, 19-9, $1,111
8th: Mike McGill, Findlay, Ill., nine bass, 19-5, $730
9th: Toby Corn, Calvert City, Ky., 10 bass, 19-4, $649
10th: Jerry Walker, Zeigler, Ill., seven bass, 19-3, $568
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
McCord caught a bass weighing 6 pounds, 3 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division. The catch earned him the Boater Big Bass award of $585.
Archie Eslinger of Paris, Illinois, caught a two-day total of nine bass weighing 19 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the Co-angler Division and $2,372.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Archie Eslinger, Paris, Illinois, nine bass, 19-11, $2,372
2nd: Jim Brown, Coulterville, Ill., six bass, 11-10, $1,186
3rd: Jacob Bovara, Wadsworth, Ill., five bass, 10-14, $1,077
4th: Jeffrey Lee, Olney, Ill., five bass, 10-10, $553
5th: Aaron Arning, Walnut Hill, Ill., four bass, 9-12, $674
6th: Scott Strausbaugh, Hillsboro, Ill., five bass, 9-8, $435
7th: Steve Kehrer, Woodlawn, Ill., five bass, 9-4, $395
8th: Ryan Fancher, Olney, Ill., four bass, 9-3, $406
9th: Phil Santefort, Roberts, Ill., four bass, 8-8, $316
10th: Adam Brookman, Bonnie, Ill., four bass, 8-5, $277
Bovara caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a fish weighing 3 pounds, 14 ounces – and earned the Co-angler Big Bass award of $285.
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. 5-7 BFL Regional Championship on Kentucky Lake 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 2017 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. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.