Tennessee’s Swords Wins Co-angler Division

IUKA, Miss. (Sept. 30, 2019) – Boater Kyle Lewellen of Byhalia, Mississippi, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 34 pounds, 5 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mississippi Division super-tournament on Pickwick Lake Sunday. Lewellen earned $5,690 for his efforts.

Catching a solid bag on day one and the biggest bag of the tournament on day two, Lewellen spent most of his time below the Natchez Trace with a Carolina rig in his hand.

“Saturday we had better conditions. We had a little bit of wind – I fished a bit faster – and I did employ a jig and a flipping jig,” said Lewellen, who earned his first career victory in FLW competition. “I did fish deep a little bit, but I think I only weighed one fish from a ledge. But, I employed the Carolina rig both days.”

Fishing a Carolina rig with a Zoom Brush Hog, a ¾-ounce weight and a 4½-foot leader, the Mississippi angler reckons he hit about nine or ten spots each day.

“It was isolated grass in 6 to 12 foot, pretty much targeting the hard spots in between grass clumps,” said Lewellen. “Once the sun got up the fish seemed to hang out on the outside in the deep, isolated clumps. I could catch them on the flippin’ jig, but the Carolina rig could cover more water and it seemed to do a little better.”

Lewellen says that the fishing was actually better on day one, but that didn’t stop him from moving up the leaderboard on day two.

“They ate better on day one – I had three fish just swallow it,” said Lewellen. “I probably caught 15 keepers on day one and probably 20 on day two. Day two I felt better. We took away a lot of boats, and I could run where I wanted to and get on different spots. That was really the key, it opened up a lot of water.”

Lewellen has finished in the top six three times in September BFL events on Pickwick, but he finally sealed the deal this time.

“I knew I was set up to where I could win, but I killed myself trying to catch one more big one,” said Lewellen. “I thought I needed one more to solidify it. But, after I went through my rotation I realized Sunday was a worse day for fishing. We had bluebird skies and not a ripple on the water, so I knew that was really going to hurt the shallow guys. I felt better about it throughout the day.

“It feels good,” said Lewellen of his win. “It’s a long time coming, and it does feel great.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st:          Kyle Lewellen, Byhalia, Miss., 10 bass, 34-5, $5,690

2nd:         Roger Stegall, Iuka, Miss., 10 bass, 31-3, $2,845

3rd:         Michael Wooley, Booneville, Miss., 10 bass, 31-0, $2,097

4th:         Jade Keeton, Florence, Ala., 10 bass, 30-15, $1,428

5th:         Mark Willins, Collierville, Tenn., 10 bass, 30-14, $1,138

6th:         Chris Smalley, Middleton, Tenn., 10 bass, 30-5, $1,043

7th:         Nathan Martin, Sheffield, Ala., 10 bass, 29-13, $1,940

8th:         Jim Little, Corinth, Miss., 10 bass, 29-4, $853

9th:         Sam Moody, Athens, Ala., 10 bass, 29-2, $759

10th:       Brandon Perkins, Counce, Tenn., 10 bass, 28-12, $664

Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.

Martin caught a 7-pound, 5-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the event’s Boater Big Bass award of $742.

Collierville, Tennessee’s John Swords won the Co-angler Division and $2,664 Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 24 pounds, 2 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers were:

1st:          John Swords, Collierville, Tenn., 10 bass, 24-2, $2,664

2nd:         Anthony Rasberry, New Albany, Miss., 10 bass, 24-0, $1,532

3rd:         Daniel Corkern, Florence, Miss., nine bass, 22-5, $1,089

4th:         Yu Han, Memphis, Tenn., nine bass, 21-4, $622

5th:         Cody Swinford, Ripley, Miss., 10 bass, 21-3, $533

6th:         Sank Payton, Bay Springs, Miss., seven bass, 17-11, $488

7th:         Ron Creasy, Florence, Ala., eight bass, 17-10, $444

8th:         Joey Tanner, Meridian, Miss., six bass, 17-1, $500

9th:         Phil Burnett, Selmer, Tenn., four bass, 13-10, $355

10th:       Andrew Brown, Gordo, Ala., six bass, 13-8, $311

Ryan Lecompte of Picayune, Mississippi, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces. The catch earned him the event’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $341.

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 Lake Guntersville presented by Mercury Marine in Guntersville, Alabama. 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 YouTube.