Josh Hilton of Clarksville, Ark., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Arkie Division event on Lake Dardanelle. For his victory, Hilton earned $3,289.
“I pre-fished every morning before work for a week for this tournament,” said Hilton. “I had to be to work by 8:15 a.m., so got up and fished from 4:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. making a 20-mile run up the river. I thought I was onto something, and then they dropped the water level by two feet.
“I started in the area that I found during practice, but by 11 a.m. I only had five little ones, so I decided to fish my way back down the river. I pulled into an area with half an hour left in the tournament and caught all the fish I weighed in about 10 minutes. They were stacked and ready to eat.”
According to Hilton, his honey hole was near the Illinois Bayou. It was a ledge where the bass were schooling and chasing baitfish. “I guess all they needed was for the sun to come out to start biting.
“It’s an area I have never fished before in my life,” Hilton went on to say. “I spotted it one morning crossing the bridge. Between my co-angler and I we must have caught about 15 keepers. I was able to cull seven or eight times. It all just happened so fast. It was a good day of fishing.”
Hilton said that he was fishing with 10-inch worms, football jigs and topwater baits to catch his fish.
Rounding out the top 10 pros were:
2nd: Bradley Lequieu, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 17-15, $1,644
3rd: Steven Powell, Dardanelle, Ark., five bass, 17-7, $1,097
4th: Kirk Warren, Russelville, Ark., five bass, 17-5, $767
5th: Zach King, Clarksville, Ark., five bass, 16-7, $658 + $300 Evinrude Bonus
6th: Justin Swayze, Gurdon, Ark., five bass, 16-5, $603
7th: Russell Carothers, Sheridan, Ark., five bass, 16-1, $520
7th: Brandon Lee, Ratcliff, Ark., five bass, 16-1, $520
9th: Mark Hensiek, Humnoke, Ark., five bass, 15-11, $438
10th: Sawyer Grace, Russellville, Ark., five bass, 15-5, $384
Josh Penn of Benton, Ark., weighed five bass totaling 13 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to win the co-angler division. Penn earned $1,644 for his victory.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:
2nd: Kevin Powell, Mabelvale, Ark., five bass, 13-5, $822
3rd: Bruce Thompson, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 12-15, $549
4th: Evan Barnes, London, Ark., five bass, 12-12, $384
5th: Mitch Moon, Rose Bud, Ark., five bass, 12-10, $329
6th: Michael Gross, Gurdon, Ark., five bass, 12-5, $301
7th: Don Billiot, Bryant, Ark., four bass, 12-3, $274
8th: T.J. Miller, Greenbrier, Ark., four bass, 11-15, $247
9th: Hunter Dickey, White Hall, Ark., four bass, 10-6, $219
10th: Stephen Tyson Jr., Camden, Ark., five bass, 10-2, $192
The next BFL Arkie Division tournament is scheduled for Sept. 21-22 on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark. 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 Texoma in Pottsboro, Texas. 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