Bass Angler Magazine

NPFL: Corbishley Conquers Lake Hartwell

North Carolina angler Mike Corbishley clinched victory at the second stop of the NPFL season on Lake Hartwell with a three-day total of 44 pounds, 1 ounce, earning the NPFL Shield and a $100,000 top prize.

Mike Corbishley NPFL Lake Hartwell Champion

Hosted by Anderson County, the NPFL event saw Corbishley overcome a challenging first day with 12 pounds, 9 ounces, followed by a robust 17 pounds, 7 ounces on day two, and 14 pounds, 1 ounce on the final day to secure the win.

Adopting a dynamic “run and gun” approach on Lake Hartwell, Corbishley improved as the competition progressed, particularly benefiting from cloud cover later in the afternoon.

“It was fairly bright out there until 3 pm and I was exhausted from running around, sitting down, standing up, over and over,” he said. “When the storms rolled in, I caught a second wind and went hard in the paint. I had 9 pounds at that time, and culled up three times in the last couple hours.”

Corbishley fished a mix of herring patterns and brush piles throughout the event, but on the final day, he dedicated his efforts to his “best brush” and burned 40 gallons of gas running circles around Hartwell.

Lowrance Active Target 2

“I had a mix of piles,” he added. “On day one, I caught some on a herring pattern and some on brush/rock. On day two, it was mostly the piles. My practice was horrible; in the past, when I had a bad practice and could not get things going, I like to run and mark as much good stuff as I can and revisit it throughout the event with Lowrance Active Target 2, and it works out.”

When the action picked up in the afternoon, Corbishley’s first cull was a 3-pounder. On the very next pile, he hooked a 5-pound largemouth and lost it 10 feet from the boat. His hopes of finally getting it done diminished, but he stayed put and made two crucial culls before check-in.

“I thought I blew it; I thought that was how it was going to end and I was going to come up short again,” he added. “When I was in the weigh-in line, I weighed my fish; I knew what I had. When Big Al told me what I needed, I knew it was going to be super close. It was unbelievable to finally make it happen after being so close so many times.”

With the victory, Corbishley takes him the NPFL Shield and a cool $100,000 payday for his efforts. Now, what will he do with the money?

“It’s life-changing,” he concluded. “My wife and I have been talking about buying land to build a house and this will make it possible. I want to give a big shout-out to my wife and my sponsors, without them and their support, I would never be able to do this – I don’t know what to say. Lowrance, Mercury Marine, Victaulic, Power-Pole, Dirty Jigs, Nichols Lures, National Coatings and Supplies, Hatterasman, Bajio Sunglasses, 13 Fishing and Cashion Rods – thank you.”

Hunter Sales

After a tough start to his tournament with 9 pounds, 10 ounces on day one, Hunter Sales added 16 pounds, 9 ounces on day two and 17 pounds, 5 ounces on the final day to earn his first NPFL victory with a three-day total weight of 43 pounds, 8 ounces on Lake Hartwell.

Despite a tough day one, Sales made a huge comeback this week with some of the biggest bags of each of the final two days. Staying versatile and adapting as things changed was key to getting his event back on track.

“Any time you have a tough day, it’s easy to look back and think about things you could have done differently,” he said. “You just have to roll with it; god has a plan for everyone. I found a topwater bite late on day one and I wish I could have gotten on it sooner, but it was staying open to change that turned things around.

On day two, Sales fully expected to catch fish on top water, but after a few bites early, it faded and he had to make a change yet again. 

“I threw a fluke on day one and it did not work, but later on day two, they got on it. Today, I caught almost everything on a fluke and weighed one fish on a Neko rig. Hartwell is one of those lakes you have to adapt and sometimes it seems like it’s hour by hour.”

One of his best finishes in a tour-level tournament, Sales was disappointed by the second-place finish but is going to use it as fuel to get back to the top the rest of the season.

“It’s the best finish of my career, biggest payday and I am tickled to death,” he added. “Second stings, especially after my tough day one, but god takes care of his people, and he took care of me this week – I am blessed. I was almost not going to be able to fish this week but a lot of my sponsors stepped up to get me on the water – Yamaha Motors, Morristown Marine, Seaguar Line, SaltX, Thompson Truck Group, Z-Man, National Kennel Club, and more, the list goes on and on.”

Kyle Welcher

With a three-day total weight of 42 pounds, 9 ounces, Kyle Welcher finished the event on Lake Hartwell in third place. Welcher caught 16 pounds, 11 ounces on day one, had his toughest day on day two with 9 pounds, 10 ounces, and added 16 pounds, 2 ounces on the final day to wrap up an excellent week.

Knowing he needed a big bag to make up for his slip-up on day two, Welcher started his day ensuring he was going to get paid. With a double-digit limit, he set off to find something new, where he may find something to give him a chance at winning.

“I fished free today, running around and looking at new stuff,” he said. “If I did what I had done, I had no shot to win. I caught a 4.5-pound fish off a bed, and the rest of my fish came on traditional herring-type deals.”

While finishing in third place wraps up a solid week, Welcher had a mental blunder on day two that cost him the win this week. 

“On day two, I tied on a hook for soft plastics, one I hate throwing, but I knew it worked out here. A lot of people had caught fish on it and I gave it a shot,” he added. “It cost me big – I lost three big fish on that before swapping hooks, but those bites were why I only had 9 pounds yesterday. That is fishing, I made a mental mistake.”

Will Harkins

Will Harkins caught a three-day total weight of 42 pounds, 4 ounces to finish stop number two of the NPFL season in fourth place. Despite a costly penalty on day two, where he had to release his limit of fish at the midpoint of the day, he salvaged his day with 9 pounds, 14 ounces. Harkins had a weight of 16 pounds, 4 ounces on day one and 16 pounds, 2 ounces on day three.

Richard Kee

Richard Kee started on day one with 14 pounds, 7 ounces, added 11 pounds, 7 ounces on day two, and 15 pounds, 15 ounces on day three to finish in the fifth-place spot with a total weight of 41 pounds, 13 ounces.

Rest of the Best:

Jason Burroughs 41-13

Trent Palmer 41-11

Drew Cook 41-9

John Cox 41-5

Bailey Gay 41-4

ABOUT NPFL

The National Professional Fishing League  NPFL was designed to bring simplicity back to professional bass fishing. One lake, 120 anglers, and three days of fishing with the heaviest combined three-day weight winning. The full field will compete all three days with one in three anglers getting paid at each event. The goal of the NPFL is to put the anglers first and build a trail that gets back to what the founders of bass fishing intended it to be.

See more bass tournament news here

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