Boater Roger Fitzpatrick of Eldon, Missouri, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 50 pounds, 15 ounces.
Boater Roger Fitzpatrick of Eldon, Missouri, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 50 pounds, 15 ounces, to win the no-entry fee T-H Marine FLW BFL Regional Championship on Grand Lake Saturday. For the win, Fitzpatrick earned $70,200, including a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Evinrude outboard and automatic entry into the 2020 BFL All-American Championship, April 30-May 2, at Lake Hartwell.
“I had a very good practice coming into the event and I really felt like I was dialed in,” said Fitzpatrick, who picked up his eighth career BFL win – second this season. “It was very sunny throughout my practice days, and I was targeting any shade – shade from trees, corners of docks, basically anything shallow that had a shade line. I caught quite a few good fish in practice and expected to do very well.
“When the tournament rolled around, there was no shade,” Fitzpatrick continued. “I had no targets to throw at, but I fished in the same areas. I noticed on my graph pretty early that a lot of fish were suspended in right around 6 feet of water. So, I backed off and slowrolled an Omega Genesis Ti spinnerbait. I caught a 3½-pounder and a 6½-pounder early, and that set the tone. Around 11 (a.m.) or 12 (p.m.) the fish moved up shallow, and I stuck with them. I had a dream day on day one – I caught at least three limits of fish and all came on the spinnerbait.”
After weighing in a big 24-pound, 12-ounce limit on day one the bite slowed down considerably for Fitzpatrick on days two and three.
“On the second and third day, the numbers and quantity went down – I only caught 8 to 10 fish each day,” Fitzpatrick said. “It reminded me a lot of springtime bass fishing in dirty water. The males were up shallow, but the females were still out. I threw an Omega Rapture vibrating jig with a smaller BioSpawn ExosSwim swimbait, and I really had to crawl it – painstakingly slow. Everything had to be slow, they did not want it on the bottom.”
Fitzpatrick threw the Rapture for most of the second day of competition to add a limit weighing 13 pounds, 10 ounces. On the third and final day of competition, Fitzpatrick had to audible again – this time to an Omega swimjig with a white BioSpawn ExoSwim swimbait – to add a limit weighing 12 pounds, 9 ounces and seal up his victory.
“The baits were the key,” Fitzpatrick went on to say. “The last day the sun popped out, and I was able to use the shade lines as a target. I love the Omega swimjig because it skips like a flat rock. I could put it underneath the tables, or way back in the shade.
“I just won the BFL Super-Tournament on Lake of the Ozarks last month, so to come away with another win is surprising and an absolutely great way to end the season.”
The top six boaters that qualified for the 2020 BFL All-American were:
1st: Roger Fitzpatrick, Eldon, Mo., 15 bass, 50-15, $20,200 + Ranger Z518L w/200-horsepower outboard
2nd: Chris Macy, Diamond, Mo., 15 bass, 47-1, $10,100
3rd: Dennis Berhorst, Holts Summit, Mo., 15 bass, 47-0, $5,000
4th: Dustin Lippe, Lampe, Mo., 15 bass, 44-13, $3,000
5th: Shawn Kowal, Linn Creek, Mo., 15 bass, 43-10, $2,000
6th: Andy Newcomb, Camdenton, Mo., 15 bass, 43-7, $1,800
Rounding out the top-10 boaters were:
7th: Wade Ramsey, Choctaw, Okla., 15 bass, 42-15, $1,600
8th: Terry Holsapple, Greenup, Ill., 15 bass, 42-10, $2,400
9th: Jason Beem, Gravette, Ark., 14 bass, 42-7, $1,200
10th: Lance Williams, Billings, Mo., 14 bass, 41-3, $1,000
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Spencer Clark of Maryland Heights, Missouri, weighed in 14 bass over three days totaling 33 pounds, 3 ounces to win the top prize package of $50,000, including a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Evinrude outboard.
The top six co-anglers that qualified for the 2020 BFL All-American were:
1st: Spencer Clark, Maryland Heights, Mo., 14 bass, 33-3, Ranger Z518L w/200-horsepower outboard
2nd: Andrew Wooley, Little Rock, Ark., 13 bass, 32-6, $5,200
3rd: Clark Moore, Nacogdoches, Texas, 11 bass, 27-6, $2,550
4th: Jeff Turner, Plainfield, Ill., nine bass, 23-4, $1,500
5th: Jim Budde, Waterloo, Ill., eight bass, 21-13, $1,000
6th: Larry Rothweil, Saint Charles, Mo., 10 bass, 20-5, $900
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers were:
7th: Stan Harris, Searcy, Ark., nine bass, 20-0, $800
8th: Bruce Thompson, Roland, Ark., eight bass, 19-13, $700
9th: Julio Garza, Houston, Texas, seven bass, 19-10, $600
10th: Shaun Avery, Plainfield, Ill., nine bass, 19-6, $500
The T-H Marine FLW BFL Regional Championship on Grand Lake was hosted by the City of Grove. It featured the top pros and co-anglers from the Arkie (Arkansas), Cowboy (Texas-Louisiana), Illini (Illinois), and Ozark (Missouri) divisions.
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 2020 BFL All-American will be held April 30-May 2 at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina, and is hosted by Visit Anderson. 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 FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.