Boater Rick Tilley of Moneta, Virginia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 18 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the 2018 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Shenandoah Division event at Smith Mountain Lake. Tilley earned $4,350 for his victory.
“I was fishing up the Roanoke River – between the State Park and the bridge,” said Tilley, who earned his first career win in BFL competition. “I was fishing the bank and everything that I caught was coming in less than 2 feet of water.
“There is a unique type of fishing here that a lot of the locals know about,” Tilley said. “The shad spawn at night – between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. – and the bass sit on the rocks and you can throw a topwater bait and they will just annihilate it. With the cloudy conditions on Saturday morning, I knew the leftover fish from the night time would stay there and that they would come into play.
“I had most of my weight by 10:30-11 (a.m.),” Tilley went on to say. “All of my fish came on a blue and silver-colored Lucky Craft Sammy, although I did catch one smallmouth on a swimbait. The key was that you had to be dead up on the bank to catch them. After 12:30 I went deeper and tried to fish ‘big fish’ areas, but I never did upgrade.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Rick Tilley, Moneta, Va., five bass, 18-5, $4,350
2nd: Scooter Lilley, Williamson, N.C., five bass, 17-12, $2,175
3rd: Chad Green, Moneta, Va., five bass, 16-15, $1,451
4th: Brandon Reynolds, Callands, Va., five bass, 16-7, $1,015
5th: Todd Langford, Great Falls, Va., five bass, 15-15, $870
6th: Dexter Andrews, King George, Va., five bass, 15-14, $798
7th: Matthew Funk, Suffolk, Va., five bass, 15-12, $1,540
8th: Martin Villa, Charlottesville, Va., five bass, 15-11, $653
9th: Tommy Little, Chester, Va., five bass, 15-1, $580
10th: Mike McDonald, Randleman, N.C., five bass, 15-0, $508
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Funk caught a bass weighing 4 pounds, 14 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – to earn the Boater’s Big Bass award of $615.
David Williams of Fredericksburg, Virginia, won the Co-angler Division Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces. Johnson earned $2,582 for his victory.
The top 10 co-anglers finished:
1st: David Williams, Fredericksburg, Va., five bass, 16-14, $2,582
2nd: Matt Powers, Glade Hill, Va., five bass, 15-14, $1,088
3rd: Jamie Newton, Falls Church, Va., five bass, 15-13, $726
4th: Tyler Folts, Ashburn, Va., five bass, 15-7, $557
5th: Phil Witmer, Huddleston, Va., five bass, 13-13, $435
6th: William Lane, Midlothian, Va., five bass, 13-11, $399
7th: Lenny Baird, Stafford, Va., five bass, 13-8, $363
8th: Nelson Bailey, Virginia Beach, Va., five bass, 13-4, $326
9th: Michael Duarte, Baltimore, Md., five bass, 12-13, $290
10th: Andre Wynn, Windsor Hill, Md., five bass, 12-10, $254
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 11-13 BFL Regional Championship on the Chesapeake Bay in North East, Maryland. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.
The 2018 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American. The 2018 BFL All-American will be held May 31-June 2 at Cross Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.