Craig Hipsher of Benton, Ky., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division event on Lake Barkley. For his victory, Hipsher earned $4,385.

“I lost one out there that was over 6 pounds,” said Hipsher. “I thought that one was going to cost me the tournament. Besides that fish, everything went perfectly for me in this event.”

Hipsher said that he targeted the underwater bushes and brush in 4 to 5 feet of water. He said that he fished all over, covering water south of the U.S. Highway 68 bridge to just north of the Blood River.

“I fish on the lake 300 days a year,” said Hipsher, who owns his own guide service on Lake Barkley. “I knew that they were on the bushes close to the drops and channels.”

Hipsher said multiple baits and colors produced for him, including Strike King Lures crankbaits and jigs from Cumberland Pro Lures, Punisher and Lunker Lures. He trailered his jigs with a green-pumpkin-colored Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver.

“I really need to credit my co-angler, Dan Eddington, for some of my success,” Hipsher went on to say. “I had a real big smallmouth jump 5 feet into the air right at the boat. Dan caught her with the net, right as she spit the hook. He was a great co-angler. The best I’ve ever drawn. It was perfect.”

Rounding out the top 10 pros were:

2nd: Shane Ross, Pembroke, Ky., five bass, 19-13, $2,193
3rd: Marty Sisk, Evansville, Ind., five bass, 19-2, $1,463
4th: John Hopkins, Hendersonville, Tenn., five bass, 18-14, $1,023
5th: Kenneth McGar, Crofton, Ky., five bass, 18-8, $877 + $300 Evinrude Bonus
6th: Sam Boss, Paducah, Ky., five bass, 18-6, $804
7th: Harry Barber, Earlington, Ky., five bass, 17-8, $731
8th: Rob Vannerson, Benton, Ky., five bass, 17-6, $658
9th: Jamie Cox, Lexington, Ky., five bass, 17-5, $585
10th: Chuck Callahan, Cincinnati, Ohio, five bass, 16-12, $486
10th: David Young, Mayfield, Ky., five bass, 16-12, $486

Joe Totten of Eddyville, Ill., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win $2,193 in the co-angler division.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:

2nd: Jerry Sterling, Jackson, Mo., five bass, 15-10, $1,096
3rd: Larry Swallows, Evansville, Ind., five bass, 15-5, $730
4th: Bob Craig, Carbondale, Ill., five bass, 15-3, $512
5th: Robert Pillow, Versailles, Ky., five bass, 15-2, $439
6th: Jerrod Hagan, Paducah, Ky., five bass, 14-13, $383
6th: Bradley Smith, Saint Jacob, Ill., five bass, 14-13, $383
8th: John Wilkerson, Nashville, Tenn., five bass, 14-6, $329
9th: David Dieling, Elmhurst, Ill., five bass, 13-15, $274
9th: Ronald Robbs, Ironton, Mo., five bass, 13-15, $274

The next BFL LBL Division tournament is scheduled for June 1 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes in Hardin, Ky. After the last divisional tournament is complete, the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 3-5 Regional Championship on Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Ala. 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 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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