Deport’s Nichols Wins Co-angler Division

MANY, La. (April 15, 2019) – Boater Ken Smith of Dallas, Texas, caught five bass Saturday weighing 21 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the 2019 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Cowboy division tournament on Toledo Bend. Smith earned $8,303 for his victory.

Due to a shortage of co-angler participants, Smith had to fish in a boater-on-boater format and was paired with River Lee of Nacogdoches, Texas. It was a successful day on the water for the duo, as Smith won the event while Lee finished the event in 12th place and won $431.

“I had fish down by the dam, but he had fish closer so we decided to start on his fish and work our way south,” said Smith, who earned his second career victory in BFL competition. “We were fishing in my boat, but we never made it to my fish. Our first spot – which River suggested – we caught five keepers, back and forth, and we never left the area. In fairness, the place we fished is a community hole, but I certainly want to give River credit for putting us on the winning fish.”

Smith said that he caught around a dozen keepers throughout the day flipping a Baby Bass-colored Yamamoto Senko on a Lew’s Custom Lite rod and reel combo with 20-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon.

“The fish were up in the grass as opposed to being on the edge,” Smith said. “Around 11 (a.m.) I caught the big one (7-14) and then a 6-pounder. In 15 minutes I went from 12 pounds to 21 pounds.

“The key was fishing up in the viney bank grass,” Smith went on to say. “There were a lot of guys in the area fishing frogs and topwaters and we were coming in right behind them and catching them way up in the grass.”

.The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st:          Ken Smith, Dallas, Texas, five bass, 21-12, $6,303 + $2,000 Ranger Cup

2nd:         Cole Stewart, Hemphill, Texas, five bass, 20-13, $2,232

3rd:          Zack Fogle, White Oak, Texas, five bass, 20-1, $1,489

4th:          Philip Crelia, Center, Texas, five bass, 19-3, $1,141

5th:          Paul Wilson, Converse, La., five bass, 17-15, $893

6th:          Glen Freeman, Zwolle, La., five bass, 17-7, $818

7th:          Josh Champagne, Breaux Bridge, La., five bass, 17-5, $744

8th:          Nick Abshire, Sulphur, La., five bass, 17-4, $632

8th:          Cody Pitt, Many, La., five bass, 17-4, $632

10th:        Matthew Armand, Hessmer, La., five bass, 15-14, $521

Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.

Smith’s 7-pound, 14-ounce bass was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $640.

Lat Nichols of Deport, Texas, won the Co-angler Division and $2,357 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 15 pounds, 14 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers were:

1st:          Lat Nichols, Deport, Texas, five bass, 15-14, $2,357

2nd:         Julio Garza, Houston, Texas, five bass, 13-6, $1,129

3rd:          Joey Tuminello, Lafayette, La., five bass, 13-2, $717

4th:          James Callaghan, De Berry, Texas, five bass, 11-10, $503

5th:          Brent Cooper, The Woodlands, Texas, five bass, 11-4, $431

6th:          Richard Hooter, Natchitoches, La., four bass, 11-3, $396

7th:          Rodney Harris, Texarkana, Ark., five bass, 10-3, $360

8th:          Jeff Grubbs Jr., Kemah, Texas, three bass, 10-2, $779

9th:          Cannon Rush, Grand Prairie, Texas, five bass, 10-0, $288

10th:        Dillon Roberts, Claremore, Okla., five bass, 9-9, $252

Grubbs Jr. caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 13 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $305.

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. 24-26 BFL Regional Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma. 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 FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.