Jeremy Lawyer of Sarcoxie, Missouri, brought a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 10 ounces to the scale Saturday to win the 2016 BFL All-American on Lake Barkley. Lawyer’s three-day cumulative weight of 15 bass totaling 50-12 gave him a 6-pound, 2-ounce edge over second-place finisher Todd Walters of Kernersville, North Carolina, in the internationally-televised event which hosted the nation’s top weekend anglers.
“I’ve fished many BFL events and have never won, so I guess if you’re going to come out on top, this is the event to do it at,” said Lawyer, who qualified for the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup – the world championship of bass fishing – with his win Saturday. “I’ve had so much support from friends and family this week. I’m happy for myself, but I’m also glad I could pull through for everyone that was counting on me. I’m just tickled to death right now.”
Lawyer said he needed one bait to catch his limit today – a green-pumpkin-colored Zoom Mag Finesse Worm.
“I started out the morning on a bluff in the mouth of the Little River and caught my biggest fish – a 5-pounder – at 8 a.m.,” said Lawyer. “That catch really set the pace for the day. Within an hour or two I boated a keeper around the Highway 68 bridge off of a rocky point. I ran back to the Little River bluff at 11 a.m., and was able to nab two more keepers – a 3- and 4-pounder. At that point I started doing the math to figure out how much weight the other competitors would need to catch me.”
In addition to the Zoom Mag Finesse Worm, Lawyer said a Herring-colored Bandit Lures 200 Series Crankbait and a green-pumpkin-blue Zoom Brush Hog were also key baits this week.
“By 2 p.m., I still didn’t have a fifth keeper,” said Lawyer. “With 12 minutes left to fish, I returned to the bluff end and caught a 4-pounder. I think it was all of the boat traffic that got the area so active. The crawdads were stirred up and the fish were chasing them, and the wake from the boats were pushing the fish up onto the bank to where I could catch them. This was one of those tournaments where everything went my way. I’m going to enjoy this feeling for as long as I can.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:
1st: Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., 15 bass, 50-12, $100,000 + $20,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Todd Walters, Kernersville, N.C., 15 bass, 44-10, $20,000
3rd: Clabion Johns, Covington, Ga., 15 bass, 43-3, $15,000 + $8,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
4th: John Vanore, Mullica Hill, N.J., 15 bass, 40-7, $14,000 + $7,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
5th: Kyle Weisenburger, Ottawa, Ohio, 15 bass, 40-5, $13,000
6th: Drew Boggs, Lebanon, Tenn., 14 bass, 39-5, $12,000
7th: Mike Devere, Berea, Ky., 13 bass, 38-9, $11,000 + $4,500 Ranger Cup Bonus
8th: Nelson Walker, Manning, S.C., 14 bass, 38-1, $10,000 + $4,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
9th: Thomas Helton, Charleston, Tenn., 14 bass, 36-2, $9,000 + $3,500 Ranger Cup Bonus
10th: Jim Eakin, Clarksville, Tenn., 11 bass, 28-10, $13,000 + $3,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Wesley Smith of Vinemont, Alabama, won the co-angler division and $50,000 with a three-day total of 11 bass weighing 26 pounds, 4 ounces, followed by Mike Allen of Crystal Springs, Mississippi, in second place with eight bass weighing 25-4, worth $15,000.
The top 10 co-anglers are:
1st: Wesley Smith, Vinemont, Ala., 11 bass, 26-14, $50,000
2nd: Mike Allen, Crystal Springs, Miss., eight bass, 25-4, $15,000
3rd: Adam Wood, Guyton, Ga., nine bass, 24-3, $6,000
4th: Marvin Reese, Gwynn Oak, Md., 10 bass, 23-11, $5,000
5th: John Wilkerson, Nashville, Tenn., nine bass, 23-5, $4,500
6th: John Duarte, Middle River, Md., nine bass, 21-8, $4,000
7th: Randy Smith, Fayetteville, Ga., eight bass, 21-4, $3,500
8th: Bill Haunert, Blue Ash, Ohio, seven bass, 15-9, $3,000
9th: Jesse Parks, Avondale, Ariz., six bass, 14-8, $2,500
10th: Jamie Eynard, Holts Summit, Mo., five bass, 12-15, $2,000