(Jun 4, 2017 - Florence, AL)
Marshall Deakins of Dunlap, Tennessee, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 15 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the 34th annual T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American on Pickwick Lake. Deakins’ three-day cumulative catch of 15 bass weighing 60 pounds, 6 ounces was enough to earn him $125,000 and a berth into the world championship of bass fishing – the Forrest Wood Cup.
“This is the biggest win of my career by far,” said Deakins, who had five prior wins at the BFL level in FLW competition. “I didn’t think I had a shot at winning at this tournament, even with my 10-pound lead going into the final day. I figured somebody would catch them better – but it worked out.”
Deakins’ primary areas this week were located between the Natchez Trace Bridge and Kogers Island. His first – which produced the majority of his fish – was a ledge just downriver from the Natchez Trace Bridge that had a large rock pile protruding from it. Deakins said he took advantage of the current to make the spot work for him.
“I couldn’t catch fish there unless the current was really strong to wash my jig up over the rocks,” said Deakins. “Yesterday there was a lot of current and I could fish the jig over it, but today it got hung up.”
Deakins’ second area was a shell bar on top of a main-river ledge, just upriver from Kogers Island.
“I kept the boat in 18 to 21 feet of water and I threw up to 4 to 6 feet on top of it,” said Deakins. “I weighed two from the shell bar today, and finished out my limit back at the bridge.”
Deakins’ key bait throughout the event was an October Pumpkin-colored Profound Lures football-head jig with a Rootbeer Pepper Green-colored Zoom Fat Albert Twin Tail Grub trailer. Today’s final limit was also caught with the help of a Morning Dawn-colored Roboworm on a drop-shot rig, but Deakins said the jig and its color were the most crucial factor to his strategy this week.
“I fished with (former FLW Tour pro) Lionel Botha before he competed in the 2013 All-American on Nickajack Lake, which sets up a lot like Pickwick Lake,” said Deakins. “He used that color and caught a lot on it. I’ve fished it ever since then and it works – especially early in the summer.”
The top 10 boaters on Pickwick Lake finished:
1st: Marshall Deakins, Dunlap, Tenn., 15 bass, 60-6, $125,000
2nd: Brent Anderson, Kingston Springs, Tenn., 15 bass, 52-12, $20,200
3rd: Justin Atkins, Florence, Ala., 15 bass, 48-0, $23,100
4th: Brandon Gray, Bullock, N.C., 15 bass, 46-3, $14,000
5th: Lloyd Pickett Jr., Bartlett, Tenn., 15 bass, 44-9, $19,000
6th: Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., 15 bass, 43-14, $17,000
7th: William Merrick, Mount Juliet, Tenn., 15 bass, 43-3, $11,000
8th: Ronald Nutter, Saint Louisville, Ohio, 15 bass, 43-2, $10,000
9th: Brad Fowler, Townville, S.C., 14 bass, 40-2, $9,000
10th: Jeff Knight, Cleveland, Tenn., 10 bass, 34-6, $11,000
Overall there were 44 bass weighing 116 pounds, 3 ounces caught by nine boaters Saturday. The catch included eight five-bass limits.
Alex Hester of Crossville, Tennessee, won the Co-angler Division and $50,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 49 pounds even, followed by Jacob Harris of Bonne Terre, Missouri, in second place with 14 bass weighing 36-10.
The top 10 co-anglers finished:
1st: Alex Hester, Crossville, Tenn., 15 bass, 49-0, $50,000
2nd: Jacob Harris, Bonne Terre, Mo., 14 bass, 36-10, $15,200
3rd: Randy Westerfield, Constantine, Mich., 11 bass, 35-3, $6,000
4th: Jim Budde, Waterloo, Ill., 13 bass, 32-10, $5,050
5th: Brody Campbell, Oxford, Ohio, 12 bass, 31-1, $4,500
6th: Peter Balishin, Sharps Chapel, Tenn., 12 bass, 30-15, $4,000
7th: Dennis Taylor, Murray, Ky., 11 bass, 30-4, $3,500
8th: Jim Stone, Greenwood, Ind., 12 bass, 28-3, $3,000
9th: Pat Kendrick, Bumpass, Va., 11 bass, 28-2, $2,500
10th: Greg Ravitsky, Ashburn, Va., 10 bass, 25-3, $2,000
Overall there were 32 bass weighing 90 pounds even caught by nine co-anglers Saturday. The catch included two five-bass limits.
Hosted by the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Bureau, the BFL All-American featured 98 of the best boaters and co-anglers from across the 24-division T-H Marine BFL circuit and the TBF National Championship casting for cash prizes of up to $125,000 in the Boater Division and $60,000 in the Co-angler Division, plus an opportunity to compete for bass fishing’s most coveted prize – the Forrest Wood Cup – held Aug. 11-13 on Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina.
Television coverage of the T-H Marine BFL All-American at Pickwick Lake will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) Oct. 11 from Noon-1 p.m. EDT. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
The 2017 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. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the 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 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa 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.