Gary Wagner of Martinsville, Ind., weighed in four bass totaling 15 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division event on Lake Patoka. For his victory, Wagner earned $4,575.

“On my first day of practice I never got a single bite,” said Wagner. “It was very discouraging to me, but I knew the fish had to be somewhere. I went out on the second day and changed my game plan up quite a bit. It wasn’t until later that day when I finally found a pattern that worked.

“All my fish came on a Luck-E-Strike RC STX jerkbait,” Wagner continued. “I switched through multiple colors of the bait and finally landed on the chrome-blue color that seemed to work the best. My pattern involved throwing the jerkbait in and around standing timber and stumps, in 7 to 9 feet of water. A lot of the lake was dingy so I also made sure I was fishing the clearest water that I could find. I think that was probably the biggest key to finding the fish.

“I made a last minute hail-mary run to an area that I hadn’t fished in practice,” Wagner went on to say. “On my third cast I caught a 6-pounder. When it’s your day, it just seems to come together. I thought it was going to take between 18 and 20 pounds to win, but it was a very tough day out there.”

Rounding out the top 10 pros were:

2nd:   James Pickett, Trafalgar, Ind., five bass, 14-15, $2,288

3rd:   Ronnie Smith, Walton, Ky., five bass, 14-10, $1,525

4th:   Rich Fye, Galveston, Ind., five bass, 13-15, $1,068

5th:   Danny Abrams, Greensfork, Ind., three bass, 10-13, $915

6th:   Terry McWilliams, Greenfield, Ind., two bass, 9-15, $839

7th:   Clem Schmidt, Batesville, Ind., two bass, 9-11, $763

8th:   James Vitaro, Wooster, Ohio, three bass, 9-3, $686

9th:   Ricky Hiser, Louisville, Ky., two bass, 8-14, $610

10th: Bill Bauer, Carmel, Ind., two bass, 8-11, $534

Complete results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.

Todd Bruggeman of Evansville, Ind., weighed in two bass totaling 10 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win $2,288 in the co-angler division.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:

2nd:   Scott Works, Scipio, Ind., two bass, 9-5, $1,144

3rd:   Dan Schlegel, Cincinnati, Ohio, three bass, 9-0, $762

4th:   Gary Hoffman, Stoutsville, Ohio, three bass, 8-14, $534

5th:   Daren Hanshew, Muncie, Ind., three bass, 8-3, $458

6th:   Lucas McDaniel, Carmel, Ind., one bass, 6-14, $419

7th:   Michael Twyman, Indianapolis, Ind., one bass, 6-4, $381

8th:   Ryan Burton, Indianapolis, Ind., two bass, 5-14, $343

9th:   Russell Deakins, Louisville, Ky., one bass, 5-10, $305

10th: Gary Owens, Columbus, Ind., one bass, 5-3, $267

The next BFL Hoosier Division tournament is scheduled for April 13 at Lake Monroe in Bloomington, Ind. After the last divisional tournament is complete, the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 10-12 Regional Championship on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Ky. 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 2013 BFL All-American is being held June 27–29 on the Nickajack Lake in Chattanooga, Tenn. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the EverStart Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.

Image courtesy FLW Outdoors

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