One of only five anglers in history to win both of pro bass fishing’s major championship events – the Forrest Wood Cup and the Bassmaster Classic – pro Dion Hibdon of Stover, Missouri, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Ozark Division tournament on Lake of the Ozarks Sunday with a two-day cumulative catch of 10 bass weighing 32 pounds, 10 ounces. For his win, Hibdon netted $8,595.
Hibdon said he fished docks along a 20-mile stretch of lake, hitting both the Osage and Niangua rivers. He said he caught them a couple of different ways – on the ends of docks early, and under the docks as the day progressed.
“You could catch them loose around the ends of docks early, especially ones with brush,” said Hibdon, who earned his fifth career victory in FLW competition. “I could swim a jig and pitch to the corners early – you didn’t need to worry about skipping. Once they started missing the bait and jerking the trailer I started getting up under the docks and putting it where they were.
“I think the docks with brush held more fish,” Hibdon continued. “You could catch them on docks without brush, but you’d be limited. A lot of guys in the top 10 caught them out of the brush, but the fish got out of it. Fishing pressure will drive them out of that stuff and toward the docks. As far as I’m concerned, fishing pressure helps me because that’s where I want them to be.”
Hibdon said he caught 90-percent of his fish on a jig. He said he used a homemade black jig with a black and blue flake-colored Ledgerock Lures crawdad trailer and a brown jig with a green pumpkin-colored Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver. He said he ended up with around 12 keepers Saturday and 15 on Sunday.
“I also caught some bass on a spinnerbait and a worm, but didn’t weigh any of them,” said Hibdon. “I had a limit each day fairly quick. On Sunday, we had a fog delay, so the loose stuff finished up a bit quicker, but I still had five within an hour so. I used 25-pound-test Berkley Fluorocarbon line – these fish aren’t line-shy.”
Hibdon noted that the fishing was sporadic, a factor he had to deal with in practice.
“I had to cover a lot of water. You could hit 50 docks and not catch one, and then pull up on the next that looks the same as the others and catch two or three. I caught fish off of docks that I haven’t fished in years,” HIbdon went on to say. “Luckily, I got a couple of those tough days in practice to see what I was in for. I hustled pretty hard and fast and that’s probably what made the difference.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Dion Hibdon, Stover, Mo., 10 bass, 32-10, $6,595 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Cody Spinks, Springfield, Mo., 10 bass, 30-3, $3,148
3rd: Rob Bueltmann, Osage Beach, Mo., 10 bass, 29-14, $3,173
4th: John Taylor Jr., Pacific, Mo, nine bass, 29-12, $1,469
5th: Jason Rhyne, Foristell, Mo., 10 bass, 29-9, $1,259
6th: Donovan Hensley, Nixa, Mo., 10 bass, 29-5, $1,254
7th: Marcus Sykora, Osage Beach, Mo., 10 bass, 28-12, $1,049
8th: Jeremy Johnson, Kansas City, Kan., nine bass, 27-5, $944
9th: David McCormick, Lee’s Summit, Mo., 10 bass, 26-14, $839
10th: Tom Silber, Labadie, Mo., 10 bass, 26-4, $734
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Bueltmann caught a bass weighing 5 pounds, 12 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division. The catch earned him the Boater Big Bass award of $877.
Larry Rothweil of Saint Charles, Missouri, caught a two-day total of eight bass weighing 23 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the Co-angler Division and $3,148.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Larry Rothweil, Saint Charles, Mo., eight bass, 23-12, $3,148
2nd: Ryan Hopping, Lake Saint Louis, Mo., eight bass, 21-3, $1,574
3rd: Jordan Williams, Oak Grove, Mo., six bass, 16-4, $1,250
4th: Brandon Hecker, Camdenton, Mo., seven bass, 15-15, $734
5th: Dennis Young, Olathe, Kan., five bass, 13-8, $630
6th: Michael Fey Sr., Cuba, Mo., six bass, 12-6, $577
7th: Nathan Klepper, Union, Mo., four bass, 12-2, $525
8th: Jeremy Fiedler, Sullivan, Mo., six bass, 11-14, $472
9th: Rick Dahlman, Mokena, Ill., five bass, 11-3, $470
10th: Carl Breeden, Valley Park, Mo., four bass, 10-8, $367
Kyle Anderson of Foley, Missouri, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a fish weighing 5 pounds, 4 ounces – and earned the Co-angler Big Bass award of $219.
The 2018 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Ozark Division finale on Lake of the Ozarks was hosted by the Tri-County Lodging Association and the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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. 18-20 BFL Regional Championship on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Kentucky. 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 2019 BFL All-American will take place May 30-June 1 on the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland.
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.