Cookeville’s Sims Grabs Co-angler Title

GALLATIN, Tenn. (Oct. 1, 2018) – Boater Tony Eckler of Lebanon, Tennessee, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake Sunday with a two-day cumulative catch of 10 bass weighing 28 pounds even. For his win, Eckler took home $4,749.

Eckler primarily flipped green-pumpkin-colored creature baits in 1- to 3-feet of water to catch his fish Saturday. He said he flipped wood and trash piles, fishing both the main-lake and in the creeks in the mid-section of Old Hickory Lake.

“On Sunday I caught a couple of keepers on a (Blue Chrome-colored) Heddon Super Spook at a spot with schooling fish, which was a main-river ledge near the mouth of a creek,” said Eckler. “I also lost a 2-pounder on a Keitech swimbait and a 3-pounder on the Spook – all in the first 15 minutes. I was pretty frustrated.

“After a few slow hours, I caught a 4-pounder on a Texas-rigged (Plum-colored) Zoom Ol’ Monster Worm off of a drop at the same spot they’d been schooling,” said Eckler. “My instincts told me to try dragging something and it worked.”

Eckler said he entered the final hour of the tournament with four fish totaling about 10 pounds. He said he went flipping and switched from green-pumpkin-colored baits to watermelon colors because of the clearer water.

“I caught my fifth fish and culled three times in the last hour and that’s what won me the tournament,” said Eckler. “Even though I’d lost the 2- and 3- pounders early, I didn’t give up.”

Eckler noted that his recently-purchased Nitro Z21 boat and Mercury outboard helped him stay focused on fishing.

“The Nitro and Mercury are a dependable combo. It eases my mind to know that I have good equipment after fishing out of a used boat for several years. I had some issues, but now I don’t have to worry as much and I have a good sense of security.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st:           Tony Eckler, Lebanon, Tenn., 10 bass, 28-0, $4,749

2nd:         Adam Wagner, Cookeville, Tenn., nine bass, 23-4, $2,465

3rd:          Jason Dies, Lebanon, Tenn., nine bass, 21-10, $1,350

4th:          Joel Trevino, Mt. Juliet, Tenn., nine bass, 19-10, $875

5th:          Rocco Simeri, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 10 bass, 18-12, $1,050

6th:          Lance Oligschlaeger, Gallatin, Tenn., eight bass, 17-12, $687

7th:          Hunter Bouldin, McMinnville, Tenn., seven bass, 16-7, $625

8th:          Josh Tramel, Smithville, Tenn., seven bass, 13-0, $562

9th:          Alex Hester, Crossville, Tenn., six bass, 12-8, $500

10th:        Chris Holland, Winchester, Tenn., seven bass, 11-11, $437

Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.

Wagner caught a bass weighing 3 pounds, 15 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division. The catch earned him the Boater Big Bass award of $390.

J.P. Sims of Cookeville, Tennessee, caught a two-day total of seven bass weighing 11 pounds, 6 ounces, to win the Co-angler Division and $1,875.

The top 10 co-anglers were:

1st:           J.P. Sims, Cookeville, Tenn., seven bass, 11-6, $1,875

2nd:         Robert Russell, Smyrna, Tenn., five bass, 9-13, $1,037

3rd:          Chris O’Bryan, Harned, Ky., four bass, 7-10, $625

4th:          Brian Reed, Cookeville, Tenn., four bass, 7-2, $437

5th:          Brandon Davis, Canton, Ga., four bass, 6-14, $375

6th:          James Davis, Springfield, Tenn., four bass, 5-15, $344

7th:          Darren Kelly, Wartburg, Tenn., two bass, 5-12, $557

8th:          Austin Mitchell, Antioch, Tenn., three bass, 4-14, $281

9th:          Charles Olson, Byrdstown, Tenn., three bass, 4-4, $250

10th:        Chad Hill, Marion, Ill., two bass, 3-12, $219

Kelly caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a fish weighing 4 pounds, 8 ounces – and earned the Co-angler Big Bass award of $195.

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. 18-20 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Norman in Huntersville, North Carolina. 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 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.

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 FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube and Snapchat.