Tim Smiley of White Pine, Tennessee, weighed a three-day total of 15 bass totaling 34 pounds, 7 ounces, to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Lake Cherokee Saturday. For his victory, Smiley took home a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and a Chevy 1500 Silverado as well as entry into the 2015 BFL All-American presented by Chevy. This regional tournament featured the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers from each of the LBL, Mountain, North Carolina and Savannah River divisions.
“It feels great to win,” said Smiley, who also won the BFL Volunteer Division Super Tournament on Watts Barr Lake in September. “I lost my mom to cancer in July, and I’d like to dedicate this win to her.
“I had several different patterns,” Smiley said. “I had three different ways I was catching fish and I just mixed things up every day and ended up catching a limit all three days.”
Smiley said that he flipped a homemade jig up river and fished a Heddon Zara Spook on the main lake and in cuts. He also targeted a trio of offshore humps in 20 to 25 feet of water with crankbaits, a football jig and a shaky-head rig.
“The first day I struggled and broke one off on my shaky head, then I lost three on a topwater and I was kind of panicking,” Smiley said. “After that I swapped from a feathered treble to a plain treble hook on my Zara Spook and I only lost one fish the rest of the tournament. That was definitely a key adjustment. After that I caught three more fish and it really salvaged the day for me.
“The deep fish are more consistent this time of year,” said Smiley. “Once I figured out that I had a few places to catch them it eased my mind a lot.”
Smiley said that he caught the majority of his fish on the trio of deep humps, but all three of his approaches produced key fish for him. The win was his sixth in FLW competition and he was one of only three boaters to catch five-bass limits all three days of competition.
Smiley said his baits of choice were a shaky-head rig, football jig, Strike King 6XD, Rapala DT16, a Heddon Zara Spook and a homemade flipping jig.
The top six boaters that qualified for the 2015 BFL All-American were:
1st: Tim Smiley, White Pine, Tenn., 15 bass, 34-7, Ranger Z518C with 200-horsepower outboard + Chevy 1500 Silverado
2nd: David Williams, Maiden, N.C., 13 bass, 33-9, $1,500 + $300 Evinrude Bonus
3rd: Todd Walters, Kernersville, N.C., 15 bass, 32-13, $1,100
4th: Talmadge Marcum, McKee, Ky., 13 bass, 28-12, $1,000
5th: Jason Wilson, Lincolnton, N.C., 15 bass, 27-8, $900
6th: Zach Grounds, Fortville, Ind., 10 bass, 24-8, $800
Rounding out the top 10 pros were:
7th: Harvey Price, Seneca, S.C., 11 bass, 23-5, $700
8th: Barry Baldwin, Waynesville, Ohio, 10 bass, 21-6, $650
9th: Arby Tevault, Elberfeld, Ind., 11 bass, 21-5, $600
10th: Marshall Thompson, Paducah, Ky., seven bass, 20-3, $550
Complete results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Glen Ruth of Frankfort, Kentucky, won the co-angler division with a three-day total of nine bass totaling 21 pounds, 7 ounces. For his efforts, Ruth took home a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard along with a berth in the 2015 BFL All-American tournament.
The top six co-angers that qualified for the 2015 BFL All-American were:
1st: Glen Ruth, Frankfort, Ky., nine bass, 21-7, Ranger Z518C with 200-horsepower outboard
2nd: Cole Huskins, Mount Holly, N.C., 10 bass, 20-1, $750
3rd: Adam Frye, Burnside, Ky., seven bass, 14-12, $550
4th: Aaron Curry, Waynesville, N.C., nine bass, 14-12, $500
5th: Gerald Glouse, Easley, S.C., six bass, 14-9, $450
6th: Adam Lockler, Charlotte, N.C., seven bass, 14-3, $400
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:
7th: Thomas Jones, Concord, N.C., seven bass, 13-10, $350
8th: Michael Emberton, Tompkinsville, Ky., eight bass, 13-9, $325
9th: Timothy Ernst, Mount Eden, Ky., five bass, 13-7, $300
10th: Tristen Trull, Mount Holly, N.C., seven bass, 12-9, $275
The BFL Regional event held on the Lake Cherokee was hosted by the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce.
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