Chuck Howard of Elloree, S.C., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 27 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division event on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Howard earned $5,466.

“I live very near the lake, but I hadn’t been out fishing on it in a while,” said Howard. “My co-angler gave me some ideas on the right areas to find the fish, and that really helped me out. We stayed in the upper lake area for the entire day. I was fishing trees and caught most of my fish near timber that was 3 to 4 feet deep and had some grass around it.

“The fish were definitely in a post-spawn pattern,” Howard continued. “The big females were just hanging out in the shade, and they really did not want to feed yet so you had to fish very slow and thorough. I was using a watermelon-colored Zoom Trick Worm, with 8-pound-test line. I just fished it real light, and real slow. The key for my victory was capitalizing on the bites that I got. I didn’t lose any bites – when I hooked one, I got it in the boat. I only caught 12 fish throughout the day, so it was crucial that I made those bites count.”

Rounding out the top 10 pros were:

2nd:   Lex Costas, Daniel Island, S.C., five bass, 27-6, $1,733

3rd:   Jayme Rampey, Liberty, S.C., five bass, 22-14, $1,155

4th:    Dearal Rodgers, Camden, S.C., four bass, 21-13, $809 + $1,000 Evinrude Bonus

5th:    Chad Cook, Summerville, S.C., five bass, 21-10, $693

6th:    Eddie Herlong Sr., Prosperity, S.C., five bass, 21-9, $635

7th:    Jay Keith, Camden, S.C., five bass, 21-8, $578

8th:    Lyn Langston, Timmonsville, S.C., four bass, 19-11, $520

9th:    Dennis Reedy, Siler City, N.C., three bass, 18-13, $462

10th:  Ron Brown, Mount Pleasant, S.C., five bass, 18-12, $404

Complete results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.

Scott Frye of Sumter, S.C., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 15 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win $1,733 in the co-angler division.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:

2nd:   Kenneth Morrison, Waxhaw, N.C., five bass, 11-2, $866

3rd:   Todd Gambrell, Duncan, S.C., four bass, 8-3, $577

4th:    Michael Smith, Piedmont, S.C., three bass, 7-15, $404

5th:    Bart Jacobus, Turbeville, S.C., three bass, 7-10, $347

6th:    John King, Santee, S.C., two bass, 7-0, $318

7th:    Will Prosser, Andrews, S.C., one bass, 6-13, $289

8th:    Dale Webber, Kernersville, N.C., two bass, 6-11, $260

9th:    Christopher Hall, Sumter, S.C., three bass, 6-5, $231

10th: Anthony Spivey, Aynor, S.C., two bass, 6-0, $202

The next BFL South Carolina Division tournament is scheduled for June 2 on Lake Wateree in Camden, S.C. After the fifth South Carolina Division tournament is complete, the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 11-13 Regional Championship on Kerr Lake in Henderson, N.C. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and a Chevy Silverado, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.

The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 120 tournaments throughout the season, five in each division. The top 40 boaters and co-anglers from each division qualify for a regional tournament and compete to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy. The 2012 BFL All-American is being held May 17 – 19 on the Potomac River in National Harbor, Md. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the EverStart Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.

photo: FLW Outdoors

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