Jimmy Hayes of Fayetteville, N.C., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division event on Lake Gaston. For his victory, Hayes earned $4,584.

“I was fishing in the mid-lake area, below Eaton Ferry,” said Hayes. “I was doing a little sight-fishing, but it was hard due to a big pollen film and the all of the rain. I caught six fish on the day, and my 6-pound 14-ounce kicker came near the end of the day. I was Texas-rigging with a Reaction Innovations Kinky Beaver and Smallie Beaver. That was the only thing the fish would react to. I tried throwing a tube, a craw and a drop-shot rig with no luck. But when I threw that Kinky Beaver in there they jumped all over it.

“My main weapon in this tournament was my Power Poles,” Hayes continued. “Without them I would not have been able to set up on those fish. I stayed in about 3 feet of water all day, and was trying to find water as clear as possible, but it was really nasty.

“I’ve had a lot of stress on me these past few years,” said Hayes. “I forgot about all of that and just went fishing, and I think things are starting to look up. I’ll be fishing the entire Shenandoah circuit, and I look forward to competing in the next tournament.”

The next BFL Shenandoah Division tournament is scheduled for May 5 on Smith Mountain Lake in Huddleston, Va. After the fifth Shenandoah Division tournament is complete, the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 18-20 Regional Championship on Kerr Lake in Henderson, N.C. 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 2012 BFL All-American is being held May 17 – 19 on the Potomac River in National Harbor, Md. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the EverStart Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.


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