Fishing & Boating News

Maryland’s Duarte Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division Opener on Lake Hartwell Presented by Navionics

Co-angler Title Goes to Gilbert’s Hough

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

Boater John Duarte of Middle River, MD, caught 5 bass weighing 18 lbs, 8 oz, to win the (BFL) South Carolina Division season opener on Lake Hartwell.
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(Feb 21, 2019 - ANDERSON, S.C.)

 Boater John Duarte of Middle River, Maryland, caught five bass Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 8 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) South Carolina Division season opener on Lake Hartwell presented by Navionics. For his win, Duarte earned $4,396.

“I fished mid-lake docks in pockets and tried to cover as much water as I could,” said Duarte, who earned his second career victory in BFL competition. “It was on fire from 11 (a.m.) until the end of the tournament. I think the time of day positioned those fish in the backs of the pockets and put them where they were easy to catch.”

Duarte said he caught 12 to 15 keepers overall, saying that four of the five fish he weighed came on a 4.8-inch Pro Blue Red Pearl-colored Keitech FAT Swing Impact swimbait with a ¼-ounce jighead.

“I was skipping it under the docks and casting to the edges,” said Duarte.

Duarte’s other limit-fish came on a ½-ounce homemade green-pumpkin-colored jig with a Zoom Big Salty Chunk trailer of the same color. He said he caught it around 8:30 a.m. from under a docked pontoon boat up the Seneca River.

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
               1st:          John Duarte, Middle River, Md., five bass, 18-8, $2,396 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
               2nd:         Wesley Sandifer, Chapin, S.C., five bass, 16-0, $1,148
               3rd:          Kyle Austin, Ridgeville, S.C., five bass, 15-14, $701
               4th:          Scott Allgood, Fair Play, S.C., five bass, 15-8, $489
               5th:          Shayne McFarlin, Martin, Ga., five bass, 15-6, $419
               6th:          Nitro pro David Williams, Maiden, N.C., five bass, 14-13, $384
               7th:          Thomas Guthke, Anderson, S.C., five bass, 13-9, $349
               8th:          Randy Childers, Anderson, S.C., five bass, 13-7, $314
               9th:          Travis Garrett, Toccoa, Ga., five bass, 13-6    
               10th:        Jayme Rampey, Liberty, S.C., five bass, 13-1

Brian Tucci of Surfside Beach, South Carolina, caught a 5-pound, 4-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $100.

Kate Hough of Gilbert, South Carolina, won the Co-angler Division and $1,248 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 11 pounds, 13 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers were:
               1st:          Kate Hough, Gilbert, S.C.,   five bass, 11-13, $1,248
               2nd:         Stephen Britt, Columbia, S.C., five bass, 10-3, $574
               3rd:          Jeff Horton, Boiling Springs, S.C., five bass, 9-7, $349
               4th:          Mario Hill, Thomson, Ga., five bass, 9-4, $245
               5th:          Lee Inman, Inman, S.C., five bass, 8-15, $210
               6th:          Kyle Deeds, Greenville, S.C., five bass, 8-6, $192
               7th:          Bill Hawkins, Piedmont, S.C., five bass, 8-3, $175
               8th:          Shawn Kincaid, Lexington, S.C., five bass, 8-1, $157
               9th:          Jeff Rikard, Leesville, S.C., four bass, 6-1      
               10th:        Weston Thomas, Chapin, S.C., five bass, 6-0

Dwayne Parton of Anderson, South Carolina, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 3 pounds, 10 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $100.

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. 10-12 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Georgia. 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 T-H Marine FLW BFL South Carolina Division tournament on Lake Hartwell presented by Navionics was hosted by the Anderson Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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 2019 BFL All-American will be held May 30-June 1 at the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland, and is hosted by the Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism and the Commissioners of Charles County. 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 2019 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct more than 290 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 while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.