Deakins Wins 2017 BFL All-American

Marshall Deakins of Dunlap, Tennessee, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 15 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the 34th annual T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American on Pickwick Lake. Deakins’ three-day cumulative catch of 15 bass weighing 60 pounds, 6 ounces was enough to earn him $125,000 and a berth into the world championship of bass fishing – the Forrest Wood Cup.

“This is the biggest win of my career by far,” said Deakins, who had five prior wins at the BFL level in FLW competition. “I didn’t think I had a shot at winning at this tournament, even with my 10-pound lead going into the final day. I figured somebody would catch them better – but it worked out.”

Deakins’ primary areas this week were located between the Natchez Trace Bridge and Kogers Island. His first – which produced the majority of his fish – was a ledge just downriver from the Natchez Trace Bridge that had a large rock pile protruding from it. Deakins said he took advantage of the current to make the spot work for him.

“I couldn’t catch fish there unless the current was really strong to wash my jig up over the rocks,” said Deakins. “Yesterday there was a lot of current and I could fish the jig over it, but today it got hung up.”

Deakins’ second area was a shell bar on top of a main-river ledge, just upriver from Kogers Island.

“I kept the boat in 18 to 21 feet of water and I threw up to 4 to 6 feet on top of it,” said Deakins. “I weighed two from the shell bar today, and finished out my limit back at the bridge.”

Deakins’ key bait throughout the event was an October Pumpkin-colored Profound Lures football-head jig with a Rootbeer Pepper Green-colored Zoom Fat Albert Twin Tail Grub trailer. Today’s final limit was also caught with the help of a Morning Dawn-colored Roboworm on a drop-shot rig, but Deakins said the jig and its color were the most crucial factor to his strategy this week.

“I fished with (former FLW Tour pro) Lionel Botha before he competed in the 2013 All-American on Nickajack Lake, which sets up a lot like Pickwick Lake,” said Deakins. “He used that color and caught a lot on it. I’ve fished it ever since then and it works – especially early in the summer.”

The top 10 boaters on Pickwick Lake finished:

1st:          Marshall Deakins, Dunlap, Tenn., 15 bass, 60-6, $125,000

2nd:         Brent Anderson, Kingston Springs, Tenn., 15 bass, 52-12, $20,200

3rd:          Justin Atkins, Florence, Ala., 15 bass, 48-0, $23,100

4th:          Brandon Gray, Bullock, N.C., 15 bass, 46-3, $14,000

5th:          Lloyd Pickett Jr., Bartlett, Tenn., 15 bass, 44-9, $19,000

6th:          Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., 15 bass, 43-14, $17,000

7th:          William Merrick, Mount Juliet, Tenn., 15 bass, 43-3, $11,000

8th:          Ronald Nutter, Saint Louisville, Ohio, 15 bass, 43-2, $10,000

9th:          Brad Fowler, Townville, S.C., 14 bass, 40-2, $9,000

10th:        Jeff Knight, Cleveland, Tenn., 10 bass, 34-6, $11,000

For a full list of results, visit

Overall there were 44 bass weighing 116 pounds, 3 ounces caught by nine boaters Saturday. The catch included eight five-bass limits.

Alex Hester of Crossville, Tennessee, won the Co-angler Division and $50,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 49 pounds even, followed by Jacob Harris of Bonne Terre, Missouri, in second place with 14 bass weighing 36-10.

The top 10 co-anglers finished:

1st:          Alex Hester, Crossville, Tenn., 15 bass, 49-0, $50,000

2nd:         Jacob Harris, Bonne Terre, Mo., 14 bass, 36-10, $15,200

3rd:          Randy Westerfield, Constantine, Mich., 11 bass, 35-3, $6,000

4th:          Jim Budde, Waterloo, Ill., 13 bass, 32-10, $5,050

5th:          Brody Campbell, Oxford, Ohio, 12 bass, 31-1, $4,500

6th:          Peter Balishin, Sharps Chapel, Tenn., 12 bass, 30-15, $4,000

7th:          Dennis Taylor, Murray, Ky., 11 bass, 30-4, $3,500

8th:          Jim Stone, Greenwood, Ind., 12 bass, 28-3, $3,000

9th:          Pat Kendrick, Bumpass, Va., 11 bass, 28-2, $2,500

10th:        Greg Ravitsky, Ashburn, Va., 10 bass, 25-3, $2,000

Overall there were 32 bass weighing 90 pounds even caught by nine co-anglers Saturday. The catch included two five-bass limits.