Fishing & Boating News

Alexandria’s Stanley Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Music City Division Tournament on Center Hill Lake

Co-angler Title Goes to Smyrna’s Saling

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

Matt Stanley of Alexandria, TN, brought a 5-bass limit to the scale weighing 19 lbs, 10 oz, to win the (BFL) Music City Division tournament on Center Hill Lake.
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(Jun 11, 2018 - SPARTA, TN.)

Boater Matt Stanley of Alexandria, Tennessee, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Music City Division tournament on Center Hill Lake. For his efforts, Stanley took home $2,748.

“I caught my fish deep in over 20 feet of water,” said Stanley, who logged his fourth career win in BFL competition. “I mostly fished rocky drop-offs and brush piles and caught around 18 keepers. I had confidence in the spots from living on the lake. That helped more than anything.”

Stanley said he made around 40 stops throughout his day, fishing between the takeoff ramp and the dam. He said he used a Green Gizzard Shad-colored Strike King 10XD crankbait and a ¾-ounce tungsten Picasso football-head jig with a homemade skirt and a green-pumpkin-colored Xcite Baits Raptor Tail Jr. trailer.

“I’d stop for 15 minutes or so to see if they were biting or not. If I did find a school and caught one or two I’d have to leave anyways because I’d pull them off the spot and wouldn’t get bit after that,” said Stanley. “My iROD Fred's Crank Launcher rod was key for me. It was able to withstand the weight of the 10XD and cast it a mile.”

Stanley said his local knowledge really paid off when it came to understanding how the boat traffic affects the fishing.

“A lake that deep doesn’t have a lot of current, so I looked for areas that had a lot of pleasure boaters,” said Stanley. “They disturb the water and I think that pulls the fish out deep.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
               1st:          Matt Stanley, Alexandria, Tenn., five bass, 19-10, $2,748
               2nd:         Chris Holland, Winchester, Tenn., five bass, 16-15, $1,274
               3rd:          Josh Tramel, Smithville, Tenn., five bass, 16-11, $948
               4th:          Matthew Bouldin, Smithville, Tenn., five bass, 16-4, $594
               5th:          Jay Melton, Murfreesboro, Tenn., five bass, 15-12, $510
               6th:          William Merrick, Mount Juliet, Tenn., five bass, 13-14, $467
               7th:          Brandon Maynard, Cookeville, Tenn., five bass, 13-11, $425
               8th:          Cornell Creciun III, Nolensville, Tenn., five bass, 13-4, $382
               9th:          Jayson Johnson, Smithville, Tenn., five bass, 13-3, $340
               10th:        Terry Steele, Sparta, Tenn., five bass, 12-0, $297

Ben Ballou of Lafayette, Tennessee, brought a 5-pound, 1-ounce bass to the scale – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $265.

Justin Saling of Smyrna, Tennessee, won the Co-angler Division and $1,326 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 11 pounds, 3 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers were:
               1st:          Justin Saling, Smyrna, Tenn., five bass, 11-3, $1,326
               2nd:         Jacob Frawley, Searcy, Ark., five bass, 10-3, $663
               3rd:          Darren Kelly, Wartburg, Tenn., five bass, 9-8, $409
               4th:          Brent Saxon, Woodstock, Ga., four bass, 9-7, $286
               5th:          Ryan Heilmann, Manchester, Tenn., four bass, 8-14, $245
               6th:          Taylor Wisniewski, Lexington, Ky., three bass, 8-4, $225
               7th:          Charlie Caplinger, Smithville, Tenn., three bass, 8-1, $204
               8th:          Jake May, La Vergne, Tenn., two bass, 7-5, $173
               8th:          Randy Hill, Athens, Ala., five bass, 7-5, $173
               10th:        Brandon Davis, Canton, Ga., four bass, 6-4, $143

Brandon Russell of Smyrna, Tennessee, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division weighing in at 4 pounds, 15 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $127.

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 2018 BFL All-American will be held May 31-June 2 at Cross Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission. 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

About FLW
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 2018 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct 286 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. 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.