The winner of the Walmart Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats went to Grae Buck of Harleysville, Pennsylvania. His four bass totaling weighed 10 pounds, 14 ounces on Saturday and his three-day total of 14 bass weighing 34 pounds, 9 ounces got him the win. Buck earned $20,000, a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and a berth into the 2016 BFL All-American Championship.
Buck earned the win by targeting a ditch in a milfoil bed where bass were being pulled in by falling tides. He used a Spro Little John crankbait tied to 12-pound-test Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon line and made long casts to grass on the edges of the ditch with a Dobyns Fury Series cranking rod.
“The rod performed well,” said Buck. “I didn’t lose a fish on it throughout the week.”
Buck’s ditch area faced pressure from other tournament anglers several times throughout the event, but Buck’s key was focusing on the outgoing tide in the afternoon.
“If you got one in the morning it was a bonus fish,” said Buck.
On the final day of competition, Buck was able to catch the morning tidal shift and brought in three keepers at 10 a.m. By the day’s end, Buck only had four fish in the boat – a fact he attributed to the blustery conditions on the water.
“It was just a tough day for everyone with that wind,” said Buck.
The top six boaters that qualified for the 2016 BFL All-American were:
1st: Grae Buck, Harleysville, Pa., 14 bass, 34-9, $20,000 + Ranger Z518C w/ 200-horsepower outboard
2nd: John Vanore, Mullica Hill, N.J., 12 bass, 33-10, $5,000
3rd: Frank Ippoliti, Mercersburg, Pa., 12 bass, 33-4, $4,000
4th: Kyle Weisenburger, Ottawa, Ohio, 13 bass, 31-6, $3,000
5th: Jamie Hartman, Newport, N.Y., 15 bass, 29-11, $2,000
6th: Bruce Neal, Lancaster, Ohio, 13 bass, 28-7, $1,800
Rounding out the top-10 boaters were:
7th: Michael Belter, Reidsville, N.C., 13 bass, 27-15, $1,600
8th: Brian Bylotas, Scott Township, Pa., 11 bass, 27-9, $1,400
9th: Russell Headley, Stuarts Draft, Va., 13 bass, 26-8, $1,200
10th: David Deciucis, Chester, Va., 10 bass, 26-0, $1,000
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
John Duarte of Middle River, Maryland, won the co-angler division and a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower outboard with a three-day total of 12 bass totaling 29 pounds, 2 ounces.
The top six co-angers that qualified for the 2016 BFL All-American were:
1st: John Duarte, Middle River, Md., 12 bass, 29-2, Ranger Z518C w/ 200-horsepower outboard
2nd: Philip Borsa, Redford, Mich., 14 bass, 27-7, $2,500
3rd: Marvin Reese, Gwynn Oak, Md., 10 bass, 25-15, $2,000
4th: Ryan Sykes, Hamilton, Ohio, 12 bass, 25-7, $1,500
5th: Leo Reiter, Greenup, Ill., 11 bass, 23-3, $1,000
6th: Robert Jordan, Hamilton, Ohio, 12 bass, 22-15, $900
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers were:
7th: Brian Ruetz, Toledo, Ohio, seven bass, 21-14, $800
8th: Kyle Gabriele, Baltimore, Md., 10 bass, 20-6, $700
9th: David Bell, Edon, Ohio, nine bass, 17-1, $600
10th: Michael Nelms, Hartwood, Va., seven bass, 16-6, $500
The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 120 tournaments throughout the season, five in each division. The top 50 boaters and co-anglers from each division qualify for a regional tournament and 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 Walmart BFL All-American. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the Rayovac FLW Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.
FLW is the industry’s premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2015 over the course of 240 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport’s richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world. For more information about FLW visit FLWFishing.com and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.