(Sep 13, 2016 - SANDUSKY, Ohio)
Steve Hatfield of Ashland, Ohio, weighed four bass totaling 11 pounds, 3 ounces, Sunday to win the FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Buckeye Division Super Tournament on Lake Erie, with a two-day total of nine bass weighing 26 pounds even. Hatfield took home $5,077 for his win.
“On Day One I worked an area on the south side of Sandusky Bay that I wanted to burn through before the wind switched out of the northwest on Sunday,” said Hatfield, who earned his first career FLW win. “I was afraid the wind would ruin it, so I got everything I could out of it.”
Hatfield said he concentrated on riprap, occasionally throwing his lure to small pieces of wood.
“I pitched a green-pumpkin Big Bite Baits Tube to the wood when the sun got up high,” said Hatfield. “Around 1:30 p.m., I switched to a Green Gizzard-colored Strike King KVD 1.5 Square Bill Crankbait and they loved it. I culled three or four times before heading in.”
On Day Two, Hatfield said the northwest wind forced him to switch patterns.
“I think the bass were shallower on Day Two because of the wind,” said Hatfield. “I hit riprap on points near the entrance of Sandusky Bay using a white Z-Man ChatterBait. At my second stop, I caught a 3-pounder on a green-pumpkin All-Terrain Tackle Football Head Jig.”
Hatfield said he finished out his final day on the water by returning to his area from Day One, and catching four keepers using the Big Bite Baits Tube.
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Steve Hatfield, Ashland, Ohio, nine bass, 26-0, $5,077
2nd: Cody Seeger, Lewistown, Ohio, 10 bass, 25-4, $2,739
3rd: Charles Willis, Dayton, Ohio, 10 bass, 24-7, $1,794
4th: Brandon Cline, Portsmouth, Ohio, eight bass, 21-6, $1,185
5th: Josh Smith, Hamilton, Ohio, nine bass, 20-15, $1,015
6th: John Terry, Lexington, Ohio, seven bass, 20-6, $931
7th: James Hailstones, Cincinnati, Ohio, eight bass, 19-7, $846
8th: Ronald Nutter, Newark, Ohio, eight bass, 18-12, $762
9th: Jay Ellis, Celina, Ohio, seven bass, 17-13, $677
10th: Jim Vitaro, Wooster, Ohio, seven bass, 16-5, $892
Neal Ramsey of Harrison, Ohio, caught a bass weighing 4 pounds, 4 ounces – the biggest of the tournament in the pro division – and earned the Boater Big Bass award of $637.
Brian Short of Oxford, Ohio, won the co-angler division and earned $2,539 with a two-day cumulative catch of nine bass weighing 25 pounds, 1 ounce.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Brian Short, Oxford, Ohio, nine bass, 25-1, $2,539
2nd: Ryan Sykes, Hamilton, Ohio, nine bass, 22-6, $1,469
3rd: Brent Jones, Okeana, Ohio, seven bass, 16-13, $896
4th: J.R. Selke, Waynesville, Ohio, six bass, 16-7, $592
5th: Riley Yon, Bellbrook, Ohio, six bass, 15-5, $508
6th: Brett Warrick, Westerville, Ohio, six bass, 13-6, $465
7th: Kenny Mitchell, Franklin, Ohio, five bass, 12-10, $423
8th: Jarrett Zieber, Clyde, Ohio, five bass, 11-8, $381
9th: James Davenport, New Carlisle, Ohio, five bass, 10-10, $339
10th: Don Ward, Loveland, Ohio, four bass, 10-9, $296
Rob Plummer of Waynesville, Ohio, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 4 pounds, 7 ounces, and earned the Co-angler Big Bass award of $319.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 13-15 Regional Championship on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Kentucky. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 120 tournaments throughout the season, five in each division. The top 50 boaters and co-anglers from each division qualify for a regional tournament and 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 winners in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2016 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 235 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.