The Walmart Bass Fishing League is headed to Kerr Lake Oct. 11-13 for one of six regional championships. This three-day tournament features the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers from each of the Mountain, Northeast, Shenandoah and South Carolina divisions.
Anglers will be competing for a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and a Chevy 1500 Silverado in the Boater Division and a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard in the Co-angler division. Anglers in both divisions are also 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 Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy.
“This time of year can be very challenging fishing on Kerr Lake,” said FLW Tour pro David Wolak of Wake Forest, N.C. “But it really makes for a great tournament. There are so many patterns in play, and the conditions can change very rapidly.
“The water levels are fluctuating all the time,” Wolak continued. “You really have to fish on the fly. You can be fishing a nice school on brush piles during practice, and that same brush pile is gone the next day. The blueback herring have made a huge difference over the past few years and really changed the dynamics of the lake. There are a lot of rogue fish that just sit in the middle of the water column and feed on the herring, and they can be very hard to find.
“The angler that wins this tournament will be fishing very randomly,” Wolak said. “It’s a big body of water and anglers are going to need to cover a lot of it and be able to adjust to conditions and just fish on the fly.”
Wolak said that anglers would be catching fish on multiple different baits and would need to be consistent to get the victory.
“There is always a nice resident population of bass on the banks,” he said. “But they’re going to be catching them all over. Guys are going to find them suspended, and the grass and up in the river. Crankbaits, buzzbaits and spinnerbaits will all produce. Some are going to catch them shallow in the grass throwing a topwater or a frog. Rattle baits have always produced well on this lake as well. The anglers aren’t going to be able to catch them the same way for all three days. They will have to adapt to the conditions.”
Wolak predicted a tournament-winning weight of 45 to 50 pounds, but would not be surprised to see a 20 pound bag cross the weigh-in stage.
“I would say 15 to 17 pounds a day is average on Kerr Lake, but I’ve seen 14 pounds a day win tournaments here. The movement and fluctuation of the water can be such a factor. A guy can go out and catch a monster 22 pound bag, then they drop the water two feet and he only catches 10 pounds the next day. It’s going to be a fun tournament.”
Anglers will take off from Nutbush Bridge State Recreation Area North located at 115 Jack Wade Farm Rd. in Henderson, N.C., at 7:30 a.m. daily. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will be also be held at the takeoff site beginning at 3:30 p.m. Sunday’s final weigh-in will be held at Charles Boyd Chevrolet located at 284 U.S. 158 Bypass, in Henderson beginning at 4:30 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
The BFL Regional Championship event is being hosted by the Vance County Department of Tourism.
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 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 Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the EverStart Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.
Image courtesy FLW Outdoors