Matt Stoupa of Colonial Heights, Va., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division event on the Potomac River. For his victory, Stoupa earned $4,385 plus a $2,000 Ranger Cup bonus.
In preparation for the upcoming EverStart Series Northern Division tournament on the Potomac River June 20-22, Stoupa decided to fish the two BFL tournaments scheduled prior to get tuned in to the river.
“I caught fish on all covers that the river has to offer,” said Stoupa. “I caught bass on wood, rock and grassy areas. It really was a mixed bag of everything for me. I was using soft plastics, ChatterBaits, swimbaits; there really wasn’t one bait or cover that didn’t work.
“I noticed that on Saturday there was a higher tide than what I had seen on Thursday or Friday during practice. I am not sure if that was a factor for me or not,” Stoupa continued. “I fished in four areas and hit them multiple times throughout the day.
“At 1 p.m. I only had four bass in the livewell. I knew if I wanted a chance to win I needed one more big one. I decided to make a long run back to an area I had already caught one of my larger fish on earlier in the day. At about 1:30 I caught my last fish, and it was about 4 ½ pounds. I think it was just my time to win.”
Rounding out the top 10 pros were:
2nd: Bruce Ring, Front Royal, Va., five bass, 16-14, $2,193
3rd: Robert Grike, Dumfries, Va., five bass, 15-10, $1,463
4th: Jerry Gray, Glen Allen, Va., five bass, 15-5, $1,023
5th: Chris Gepford, Sterling, Va., five bass, 14-13, $877, plus $300 Evinrude bonus
6th: Randy Redden, Farmville, Va., five bass, 14-11, $804
7th: Wesley Harris, Rustburg, Va., five bass, 14-6, $731
8th: James Cassaday, Wirtz, Va., five bass, 13-15, $658
9th: Ronnie Baker, Providence Forge, Va., five bass, 13-12, $548
9th: Rodney Mosley, Woodbridge, Va., five bass, 13-12, $548
Chris Jackson of Marshall, Va., weighed five bass totaling 13 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the co-angler division. Jackson earned $2,193 for his victory.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:
2nd: Vic Gauzza, Fort Washington, Md., five bass, 12-13, $1,096
3rd: Cort Gardner, Jessup, Md., five bass, 12-8, $1,096
4th: Trevor Holman, Durham, N.C., five bass, 12-7, $512
5th: Mark Finley, Palmyra, Va., five bass, 12-0, $439
6th: Burton Collins, Fredericksburg, Va., five bass, 11-14, $402
7th: Mark Garraway, Fredericksburg, Va., five bass, 11-13, $365
8th: Matthew Hedges, Chesapeake, Va., five bass, 11-12, $329
9th: Andre Wynn, Windsor Mill, Md., five bass, 11-2, $292
10th: Ralph Taylor, Rockville, Va., five bass, 11-0, $256
The next BFL Shenandoah Division tournament is scheduled for July 27 on the James River in Richmond, Va. 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