Maryland’s Gardner Wins Co-angler Division

HUDDLESTON, Va. (Sept. 9, 2019) – Boater Rick Hawkins of Roanoke, Virginia, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 31 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division super-tournament on Smith Mountain Lake. Hawkins earned $4,682 for his efforts.

“I chose to fish the Roanoke arm the first day and the Blackwater arm the second day,” said Hawkins, who earned his first career victory in FLW competition. “However, it was the same pattern – finding baitfish that were relating to structure in that 20-foot-range and throwing crankbaits.”

Hawkins said that he used a variety of crankbaits to catch his fish throughout the weekend – Rapala DT14 and DT20s, a Strike King 6XD and a 6th Sense Cloud 9. He said he stuck mainly with shad-colored baits – lots of grays, silvers and whites.

“I landed six keeper bites each day,” Hawkins continued. “However, I did have a couple come off that would have helped me. The key was relating the baitfish to the cover at the right depth. If there were baitfish but no cover, there was no fish. If there was cover but no baitfish, there was no fish. I also made around 1000 casts each day. I just kept plugging – so many casts and only six bites a day.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st:          Rick Hawkins, Roanoke, Va., 10 bass, 31-10, $4,682

2nd:         Chris Dillow, Waynesboro, Va., 10 bass, 31-10, $2,341

3rd:         Bryan Humphreys, Lewisburg, W. Va., nine bass, 28-14, $1,562

4th:         Rick Tilley, Moneta, Va., 10 bass, 28-5, $1,092

5th:         Chris Brummett, Lynch Station, Va., 10 bass, 28-5, $936

6th:         Trevis Towe, Daleville, Va., 10 bass, 25-13, $858

7th:         Jack Dice, Lynchburg, Va., 10 bass, 24-6, $1,030

8th:         Bryan Elrod, Mechanicsville, Va., 10 bass, 23-15, $1,002

9th:         Derik Hudson, Concord, Va., 10 bass, 23-12, $974

10th:       Keith Roberts, Hurt, Va., 10 bass, 22-1, $646

Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.

Tommy Little of Chester, Virginia, caught a 5-pound, 13-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the event’s Boater Big Bass award of $562.

Jessup, Maryland’s Cort Gardner won the Co-angler Division and $2,622 Sunday after catching a two-day total of six bass weighing 20 pounds, 7 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers were:

1st:          Cort Gardner, Jessup, Md., six bass, 20-7, $2,622

2nd:         Brian LaClair, Denton, Md., eight bass, 19-1, $1,170

3rd:         Sergio Render, Christianburg, Va., seven bass, 17-5, $783

4th:         Mark Blankenship, Christianburg, Va., seven bass, 17-5, $546

5th:         Timothy Kinder, Manassas, Va., six bass, 12-3, $668

6th:         Andre Wynn, Windsor Mill, Md., four bass, 11-15, $429

7th:         William Lane, Midlothian, Va., five bass, 11-12, $390

8th:         Chris Moore, Mechanicsville, Va., six bass, 11-9, $401

9th:         Josh Nixon, Evington, Va., four bass, 9-13, $312

10th:       Joshua Long, Hardy, Va., two bass, 8-10, $273

Gardner also caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 6 pounds even. The catch earned him the event’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $281.

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. 17-19 BFL Regional Championship on the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. 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 2020 BFL All-American will be held April 30-May 2 at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina, and is hosted by Visit Anderson. 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 You