James Buchanan of Monroe, N.C., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division event on Lake Wylie. For his victory, Buchanan earned $3,671.

“I didn’t have a solid game plan going into the tournament,” said Buchanan. “On Saturday, I got there, looked at the conditions and formulated my plan.

“Conditions were such that I got to fish my strengths,” continued Buchanan. “I’m a shallow-water angler, and the water was just right to set up my plan. The rain that we had over the past week made the water a little dingy, and that was just what I wanted. I know that the bass feed on the bluegill beds, so I set out to find the bluegill beds that I had found during practice a few weeks ago.”

According to Buchannan, he was using a Rebel Pop-R as well as shaky-head rigged worms in no more than 7 inches of water.

“I was in the right place at the right time doing the right thing,” Buchannan went on to say. “I know how hard it is to win one of these BFL tournaments. This is my home lake, and I knew that this was my best chance of winning a tournament in this division, so I really concentrated my efforts on this event. It is really hard to win a BFL when you are traveling, because you fish against the locals that really know the lake. It’s hard to compete against local knowledge at this level.”

Rounding out the top 10 pros were:

2nd: Norm Attaway, Clearwater, S.C., five bass, 15-10, $1,835
3rd: Ken Ellis, Bowman, S.C., five bass, 15-2, $1,224
4th: Ross Burns, Columbia, S.C., five bass, 15-1, $856
5th: Rodney Chastain, Fountain Inn, S.C., five bass, 14-15, $734
6th: Chuck Howard, Elloree, S.C., five bass, 14-10, $673
7th: Reid McGinn, Fort Mill, S.C., five bass, 14-6, $612
8th: Robby Hipps, Simpsonville, S.C., five bass, 14-3, $551
9th: Shane Lehew, Charlotte, N.C., five bass, 13-5, $489 + $300 Evinrude Bonus
10th: Bradley Gunter, Greenwood, S.C., five bass, 13-03, $406
10th: Steve Shaw, Dallas, N.C., five bass, 13-3, $406

Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., weighed five bass totaling 13 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the co-angler division. New earned $1,816 for his victory.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:

2nd: Dennis Burdette, Lindside, W. Va., five bass, 12-3, $908
3rd: D.J. McEachern, Columbia, S.C., five bass, 11-0, $606
4th: Ryan Shoaf, Rockhill, S.C., five bass, 10-14, $424
5th: Steven Felder, Manning, S.C., five bass, 10-0, $363
6th: Dale Surrett, Midland, N.C., five bass, 9-9, $333
7th: Nikki Hames, Gafney, S.C., five bass, 9-7, $303
8th: Patrick Carter, Rock Hill, S.C., five bass, 9-3, $272
9th: Tyler Moore, Walterboro, S.C., five bass, 9-1, $242
10th: Dale Hamby, Waterloo, S.C., five bass, 8-9, $201
10th: Jeff Rikard, Leesville, S.C., five bass, 8-9, $201

The next BFL South Carolina Division tournament is scheduled for Sept. 14-15 on Lake Hartwell in Lavonia, Ga. 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 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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