Pro Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 3 ounces Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event on Grand Lake presented by Evinrude with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 51 pounds, 13 ounces. For his win, Birge took home $40,000.
Birge, who started the day in eighth place, said he spent the majority of his tournament targeting prespawn bass in three mid-lake areas that were littered with small chunk rock.
â€œI’d fish a 300-yard staging area in Wolf Creek, and then leave it alone to replenish,â€ said Birge, who earned his third career victory in FLW competition. â€œI’d make my way down to the mouth of the creek and fish another 200-yard stretch, and then make my way back up. There were fish moving up shallow throughout the day, so I just kept bouncing around and junkfishing.â€
Birge said he rotated through his three areas for the duration of the three-day event, and that his bites gradually got heavier.
â€œI know the fish in this lake and their quality,â€ said Birge. â€œI knew the numbers were here if I stuck with it until they started to bite. I probably casted my lure a thousand times each day. I just kept chunking and plowing the bottom with it. I just about wore the paint and bill off of it.â€
The Oklahoma pro said he used one lure and rod to catch his bass over the course of the tournament – a Live Baby Bluegill-colored 6th Sense Crush Mini 25X Crankbait on a 7-foot, medium-action Falcon Cara T7 casting rod.
â€œI found that the bigger bass didn’t like bluegill and were biting at them,â€ Birge said. â€œOne of my keepers spit up a bluegill in my livewell yesterday, and it reassured me that what I was doing was right.â€
The top 10 pros on Grand Lake were:
1st: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 15 bass, 51-13, $40,000
2nd: Toby Hartsell, Afton, Okla., 14 bass, 50-5, $15,500
3rd: Sammy Burks, Joplin, Mo., 15 bass, 48-7, $12,000
4th: Quaker State pro Matt Arey, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 48-3, $10,000
5th: Chad Warren, Sand Springs, Okla., 14 bass, 47-1, $9,300
6th: Jesse Wolfe, Nelson, Wis., 13 bass, 47-0, $8,000
7th: Bill Tervin, Pocola, Okla., 12 bass, 44-11, $7,000
8th: Matt Cooper, Smithville, Texas, 12 bass, 39-7, $6,000
9th: Russell Cecil, Willis, Texas, 10 bass, 37-0, $5,000
10th: Earl Hoskins, Burns Flat, Okla., 10 bass, 33-2, $4,000
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Allen Head of Pryor, Oklahoma, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division Friday, a fish weighing 7 pounds even that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $300.
Steven Meador of Bella Vista, Arkansas, won the co-angler division and a Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower Mercury outboard motor. Meador earned his win with a three-day total catch of 13 bass weighing 38 pounds, 9 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers on Grand Lake were:
1st: Steven Meador, Bella Vista, Ark., 13 bass, 38-9, Ranger Z117 w/ 90-horsepower outboard motor
2nd: Shane Hill, Lufkin, Texas, 11 bass, 36-2, $5,000
3rd: Kelly Banks, Bartlesville, Okla., 12 bass, 35-1, $4,000
4th: Derek Rowsey, Ada, Okla., 11 bass, 30-11, $3,500
5th: Randy Baskins, Owasso, Okla., nine bass, 30-1, $3,000
6th: Robert Myers, Broken Arrow, Okla., nine bass, 26-14, $2,500
7th: Randall Vaughan, Blanco, Texas, nine bass, 24-4, $2,000
8th: Lonnie Miller, Broken Arrow, Okla., seven bass, 22-0, $1,750
9th: Chase Hux, New Braunfels, Texas, seven bass, 20-4, $1,500
10th: William Lovelace, Broken Arrow, Okla., seven bass, 19-15, $1,250
Johnny Lankford of Springdale, Arkansas, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division Friday, a bass weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $200.