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Birge Wins Costa FLW Series on Grand Lake

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.

“I’d fish a 300-yard staging area in Wolf Creek, and then leave it alone to replenish,†said Birge, who earned his third career victory in FLW competition. “I’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. 

“I know the fish in this lake and their quality,†said Birge. “I 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.

“I found that the bigger bass didn’t like bluegill and were biting at them,†Birge said. “One 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

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.