Doug Austin of Bristol, Va., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Volunteer Division event on South Holston. For his victory, Austin earned $3,679.

Austin indicated that he had only caught two keeper fish in the two weeks leading up to the tournament and had a rough couple of weeks of practice on South Holston. So he started the tournament in places he knew there should be fish and within the first hour Austin had caught four keeper fish.

“I made my first stop and just started blind casting a worm,” Austin said. “I had four (fish) in about 45 minutes to an hour. I then moved to a second spot and was able to cull twice for about 15 pounds, still using the worm.

“I went to my third spot and started throwing swimbaits in hopes of catching bigger fish. I was in a staging area. The cold front that moved through mid-week really prevented the fish from going up on beds, and I was able to cull two more times. I lost one big one and was down in the dumps for about an hour, but after an hour of sulking I did catch my 4 ½-pounder on a swimbait.

“This was my first win and it really is an unreal experience,” Austin went on to say. “I believe that the FLW BFL is the most prestigious tournament to come to this lake and to be able to win one is really special.”

Doug Austin won the Walmart BFL Volunteer Division tournament on South Holston with 19 pounds, 8 ounces to earn $3,679. (Click here for image)

Rounding out the top 10 pros were:

2nd: Gary Lawson, Meadowview, Va., five bass, 19-6, $1,840
3rd: Corey Neece, Bristol, Tenn., five bass, 18-3, $1,225
4th: Derrick Snavely, Rogersville, Tenn., five bass, 16-4, $859
5th: Jimbo Harris, Maryville, Tenn., five bass, 16-0, $736
6th: Joe Lee, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 15-14, $644
6th: Daniel Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 15-14, $644
8th: Bobby Hicks, Piney Flats, Tenn., five bass, 15-10, $552
9th: Burton Bryan, Sevierville, Tenn., five bass, 15-6, $491
10th: Brad Burkhart, Speedwell, Tenn., five bass, 15-5, $429

Greg Ray of Bandy, Va., weighed five bass totaling 16 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the co-angler division. Ray earned $1,840 for his victory.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:

2nd: Randall Lane, Gate City, Va., five bass, 16-3, $920
3rd: Jonathan Saddler, Bristol, Tenn., five bass, 16-0, $612
4th: Jason Jackson, Waynesville, N.C., five bass, 15-12, $429
5th: Jim Neece, Bristol, Va., four bass, 14-13, $368
6th: Chad Bishop, Harriman, Tenn., five bass, 14-4, $337
7th: Jason Khym, Maryville, Tenn., five bass, 13-10, $307
8th: Kyle Warden, Bluff City, Tenn., four bass, 12-11, $276
9th: Navada Smith, Rogersville, Tenn., four bass, 10-2, $245
10th: Larry Minnick, Bristol, Tenn., three bass, 9-15, $215

The next BFL Volunteer Division tournament is scheduled for May 18 on Douglas Lake in Kodak, Tenn. After the last divisional tournament is complete, the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 17-19 Regional Championship on Lake Hartwell in Lavonia, Ga. 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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