Ray Hanselman of Del Rio, Texas, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 15 pounds, 13 ounces to win the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River. Hanselman’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 46 pounds, 11 ounces earned him $50,000 and a berth into the Forrest Wood Cup in the event that featured 171 of the best semi-professional bass-fishing anglers from across the country.
Ray Hanselman of Del Rio, Texas, won the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River. with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 46 pounds, 11 ounces. For his win, Hanselman took home $50,000 and a berth into the Forrest Wood Cup.
“To win this championship is unbelievable. I’m in shock,” said Hanselman, who became the first angler to ever win four FLW Series events in one season, sweeping the Texas Division before winning the Championship. “My only goal coming into this tournament was to qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup. I guess it was meant to be.”
Hanselman said he won the tournament by targeting bass in slack water between rip currents and eddys created by specific structure on the Tennessee River, about a quarter mile from the Kentucky Dam.
“I followed the same pattern all three days of competition,” said Hanselman. “I had three areas that I rotated through and they kept replenishing so it worked.
“Within the first 15 minutes on the water today I had a keeper in the boat,” continued Hanselman. “I was really dialed-in on that slack current. I could feel the change in the current’s speed with every cast. It set up perfect. After catching two more decent-sized fish I made a move into the main current and caught a 4-pounder. From there, I drifted to other isolated areas of structure and put together a quality limit of bass.”
Hanselman said he caught his winning stringer of four smallmouth and one largemouth on an umbrella rig using 3-, 4- and 5-inch swimbaits on Strike King Squadron Swimbait Jig Heads.
“I tried my best to imitate the small Asian carp – a popular baitfish,” said Hanselman. “I saw a lot of them in the grass and even caught a couple during practice so I knew they’d be a factor. I don’t think many other anglers realized their potential so they became a crucial part of my pattern.”
The top finishing boater from each of the five Rayovac FLW Series that qualified for the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup were:
Texas Division: Ray Hanselman, Del Rio, Texas, 15 bass, 46-11, $50,000
Central Division: Brandon Perkins, Counce, Tenn., 13 bass, 38-9, $20,000
Southeastern Division: Trevor Fitzgerald, Belleview, Fla., 11 bass, 38-2, $15,000
Northern Division: David Barnes Sr., China, Maine, 10 bass, 35-4, $7,000
Western Division: Charlie Weyer, West Hills, Calif., six bass, 20-5, $4,000
Additionally, the overall top five finishers that were not already selected as the highest finisher in their division qualify for the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup. Those five anglers were:
4th: Brian Holder, Belmont, N.C., 13 bass, 37-4, $12,000 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
5th: Nick Prvonozac, Warren, Ohio, 13 bass, 36-10, $10,000 + $1,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
6th: Tyler Suddarth, Valdosta, Ga., 13 bass, 35-14, $8,000
8th: Jeff Hippert, Hamburg, N.Y., 14 bass, 35-3, $6,000
9th: Bill Chapman, Salt Rock, W. Va., 14 bass, 34-8, $5,000
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Todd Kline of San Clemente, California, won the co-angler division and a Ranger Z117 with 12 bass weighing 25 pounds, 3 ounces, followed by Scott Stallings of Glencoe, Oklahoma, who finished in second place with eight bass weighing 20-7 worth $9,000.
The top 10 co-anglers finished the tournament:
1st: Todd Kline, San Clemente, Calif., 12 bass, 25-3, Ranger Z117 w/ 90-horsepower outboard
2nd: Scott Stallings, Glencoe, Okla., eight bass, 20-7, $9,000
3rd: Dave Crawford, Springfield, W. Va., 11 bass, 20-0, $7,500
4th: Bill Fussell, Thibodaux, La., 11 bass, 18-15, $6,000
5th: Jimmy Ballard, Paris, Texas, 13 bass, 18-15, $5,000
6th: Lorne Dornak, Cedar Park, Texas, eight bass, 18-0, $4,000
7th: Buddy Hicks, Port Neches, Texas, five bass, 16-15, $3,500
8th: Kirk Sims, Lowell, Ark., six bass, 16-15, $3,000
9th: Michel Purvis, Canton, Ga., eight bass, 15-2, $2,500
10th: Tom Rubbo, Lexington, S.C., seven bass, 12-10, $2,000