James Sumerel of Russellville, Ala., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 29 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Choo Choo Division tournament of 2014 on Lake Guntersville. For his victory, Sumerel earned $4,046.
Boater James Sumerel of Russellville, Ala., won the Feb. 8 Walmart BFL Choo Choo Division event on Lake Guntersville with a total catch of 29 pounds, 8 ounces. For his efforts, Sumerel took home more than $4,000 in winnings.
On a cold winter’s day, Sumerel mined the edge of a ledge for 29 pounds and his first BFL win.
“It actually snowed and sleeted while we were getting ready,” said Sumerel. “Luckily it stopped by the time we put in.
“I fished a ledge. The same ledge all day long,” continued Sumerel. “I basically just had a 250-yard stretch that I went up and down. We would throw up on top of the ledge into about 4 to 6 feet of water. The fish were in some greener hydrilla that was right on the edge of the ledge before it broke off into 18 or 20 feet of water.”
Sumerel said that four of the fish he weighed in came on a 6-inch Basstrix swimbait and that his fifth ate a Strike King Red Eye Shad. He said he caught about 15 keepers throughout the day – an impressive feat in an event where only 18 limits were weighed – and culled about one bass per hour on average.
“I had no clue that I was going to win,” finished Sumerel. “I had my limit by 8 o’clock, and I told my co-angler it would take around 35 pounds if they were eating like that everywhere.”
Rounding out the top 10 pros were:
2nd: Johnny Patterson, Grant, Ala., five bass, 23-5, $2,023
3rd: Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., four bass, 22-14, $1,348
4th: Dennis Barnes, Boaz, Ala., five bass, 22-10, $944
5th: Jason Hester, Haleyville, Ala., five bass, 21-14, $809
6th: Bryan Gregory, Fort Payne, Ala., five bass, 21-1, $742
7th: Terry Tucker, Gadsden, Ala., five bass, 20-14, $674
8th: Kenneth Smith, Tullahoma, Tenn., four bass, 20-7, $607
9th: Kyle Mabrey, McCalla, Ala., five bass, 20-4, $539
10th: Jason Tucker, Dutton, Ala., five bass, 19-5, $472
Complete results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Ryan Shields of New Market, Ala., weighed in a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win $2,023 in the co-angler division.
Co-angler Ryan Shields of New Market, Ala., captured the top spot at the Feb. 8 Walmart BFL Choo Choo Division event on Lake Guntersville using a catch of 18 pounds, 15 ounces. Shields ultimately won a little over $2,000 for his victory.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:
2nd: Josh Dees, Mount Olive, Ala., five bass, 18-1, $1,011
3rd: Daniel Crockett, Old Hickory, Tenn., five bass, 17-12, $674
4th: Davis Whitten, Tuscumbia, Ala., three bass, 11-13, $472
5th: Danny Moss, Glencoe, Ala., three bass, 11-10, $405
6th: Gregory Nunnelly, Ohatchee, Ala., three bass, 11-6, $371
7th: Tony Collins, Cohutta, Ga., four bass, 11-1, $336
8th: Robert Russell, Smyrna, Tenn., three bass, 10-10, $303
9th: BJ Balentine, Huntsville, Ala., three bass, 9-14, $270
10th: Jesse Kitchens, Trinity, Ala., three bass, 9-11, $236
The top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 2-4 Regional Championship on the Saint John’s River in Palatka, Fla. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and a Chevy Silverado, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C 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 2014 BFL All-American is being held June 5-7 on Wilson Lake in Florence, Ala. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the Rayovac FLW Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.
Images courtesy FLW Outdoors