Fishing & Boating News

North Carolina’s Walters Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division Tournament on James River

Co-angler Title Goes to Danville’s Howerton

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

Boater Todd Walters of Kernersville, N C brought 5 bass to the scale weighing 16 lbs, 5 oz, to win the (BFL) Piedmont Division tournament on the James River.
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(Jul 18, 2018 - HENRICO, VA.)

 Boater Todd Walters of Kernersville, North Carolina, brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 16 pounds, 5 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division tournament on the James River. For his efforts, Walters pocketed $3,592.

“I don’t have much experience on tidal fisheries, but I have a couple of travel partners that live there, so they helped me out a lot,” said Walters, who earned his fifth win in FLW competition. “I also got some practice in two weeks ago when the tide was at the same level.”

Following a 1-hour morning fog delay, Walters said he headed 20 miles east of takeoff to target bass in the backwaters of Herrin and Cowell creeks. He said he caught fish anywhere from 3- to 10-feet deep on a 7-inch black and blue flake-colored Culprit Fat Max Worm, a shad-colored Rapala DT6 crankbait and a 6-inch Morning Dawn-colored Roboworm Straight Tail Worm on a drop-shot rig.

“I targeted any type of wood cover – mainly laydowns – and a few different brush piles. I fished very slowly. It was hot and there wasn’t any wind,” said Walters. “The tide wasn’t moving much when I caught most of my fish. I had to be quiet and make long casts – that’s why I picked up the drop-shot so I could cast farther and keep the bait in front of the fish longer. I think that was key for me.”

Walters said he ended up putting a dozen keepers in the boat by the end of the event.

“I needed this win. I’m hoping I can carry this momentum into the (Costa FLW Series) event on Lake Erie next week. Buffalo, New York, is my hometown and it’d be great to do well.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
               1st:          Todd Walters, Kernersville, N.C., five bass, 16-5, $3,592
               2nd:         Frank Poirier, North Prince George, Va., five bass, 14-8, $1,796
               3rd:          Doug Dulin, Apex, N.C., three bass, 14-2, $1,479
               3rd:          Todd Harris, Clemmons, N.C., four bass, 14-2, $1,219
               5th:          Ben Jacobi, Richmond, Va., five bass, 13-9, $718
               6th:          Tommy Little, Chester, Va., five bass, 13-5, $629
               6th:          Chris Daves, Spring Grove, Va., five bass, 13-5, $629
               8th:          K.C. Choosakul, Sandford, N.C., five bass, 13-4, $539
               9th:          Chad Poteat, Mount Airy, N.C., five bass, 13-2, $579
               10th:        Keith Estes, Spring Grove, Va., five bass, 12-11, $419

Dulin brought a 7-pound, 8-ounce, bass to the scale – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $460.

James Howerton of Danville, Virginia, won the Co-angler Division and $2,026 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers were:
               1st:          James Howerton, Danville, Va., five bass, 13-11, $2,026
               2nd:         Wayne Smelser, Rural Retreat, Va., five bass, 12-2, $1,098
               3rd:          Greg Fox, Hudson, N.C., five bass, 11-13, $648
               4th:          Jesse Jodon, Windber, Pa., five bass, 10-15, $419
               5th:          Todd Greenwood, Chesterfield, Va., five bass, 10-6, $359
               6th:          Chris Whittaker, Waverly, Va., five bass, 9-13, $329
               7th:          Steven Jacobs, Sandford, N.C., five bass, 9-12, $299
               8th:          Ben Dacey, Chesterfield, Va., three bass, 9-9, $269
               9th:          Scott Spencer, Raleigh, N.C., five bass, 9-6, $224
               9th:          Dave Robinson, Ford City, Pa., four bass, 9-6, $224

Howerton also caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division weighing in at 5 pounds, 14 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $230.

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 Lakes 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. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.

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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,