Darrin Stratton of Russellville, Ark., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2014 on the Arkansas River. For his victory, Stratton earned $4,948.
Stratton milked one breakline to pick up his first BFL win in the first BFL tournament that he has ever entered.
“I caught ‘em on a swimjig,” said Stratton. “I was fishing a little break the fish were moving up on. I had lots of boats around me, it was a community area. I went back and forth all day along a 70-yard stretch in a backwater.”
Stratton said that the water depth on his break was 1- to 2-feet deep, and that he didn’t make a cast in water deeper than 3 feet.
“We probably caught 15 fish. They kept moving in all day. I had three waypoints marked and you could almost count on a fish if you gave them a 15 minute rest.
“I didn’t think I would win,” continued Stratton. “I pre-fished the last two weeks and had one spot where I thought I could catch 40 fish. But it was so shallow that I got stuck on a sandbar and couldn’t get in there.
“It’s pretty exciting to win. I fished tournaments until my son got old enough to play baseball. At that point, I stopped fishing tournaments for six years. He’s not playing travel baseball this year, so I’m getting back into it.”
Rounding out the top 10 pros were:
2nd: Kevin Treece, Fort Smith, Ark., five bass, 19-7, $2,474
3rd: Ed Barton, Vian, Okla., five bass, 19-5, $1,649
4th: Christopher Jones, Bokoshe, Okla., five bass, 18-13, $1,155
5th: Darren Mize, Spiro, Okla., five bass, 17-13, $990
6th: Nick Aber, Piedmont, Okla., five bass, 17-4, $907
7th: Mike Michelson, Altus, Okla., five bass, 17-0, $825
8th: David Youngblood, Owasso, Okla., five bass, 16-15, $742
9th: Jeff Ransom, Muldrow, Okla, five bass, 16-8, $660
10th: Chris McCall, Brookeland, Texas, five bass, 16-7, $577 + $300 Evinrude Bonus
Complete results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Steve Sanders of Gore, Okla., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win $2,474 in the co-angler division.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:
2nd: Wesley Potter, Colcord, Okla., five bass, 18-6, $1,237
3rd: Steven Whitaker, Sallisaw, Okla., five bass, 16-2, $824
4th: Jereme Cullen, Haysville, Kan., four bass, 14-12, $536
4th: John Hubbard, Broken Arrow, Okla., five bass, 14-12, $536
6th: Heath Eldridge, McAlester, Okla., five bass, 14-5, $454
7th: Kalin Leinberger, Muskogee, Okla., three bass, 12-8, $412
8th: Chris Leuze, Wichita, Kan., five bass, 11-9, $371
9th: David Blackstock, The Colony, Texas, four bass, 11-0, $330
10th: James Rogers, Springdale, Ark., five bass, 10-12, $289
The top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 16-18 Regional Championship on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Jasper, Texas. 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. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the Rayovac FLW Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.
Image courtesy FLW Outdoors