CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Richard Szczerbala of Apex, N.C., won the Walmart Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional on Lake Chickamauga Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 43 pounds, 15 ounces. For his victory, Szczerbala won a 198VX Ranger boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor plus a Chevy 1500 Silverado and a berth in the BFL All-American Championship tournament.
This regional tournament featured the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers from the Bama, Music City, Piedmont and Savannah River divisions of the BFL circuit.
“Sometimes you just get lucky,” said Szczerbala. “I fished consistently all week, which is something the other anglers weren’t able to do, and that is what made the difference.
“On the first two mornings, there was a good topwater bite going on,” continued Szczerbala “I was using the Zara Spook. In the afternoon I would switch to flipping grass mats and caught a lot of key fish with the black-and-blue NetBait Paca Craw in about 5 to 8 feet of water.
“This was my first time on Lake Chickamauga,” Szczerbala went on to say. “I grew up fishing mats in Florida, and it’s my favorite way to fish. I am used to small baits with big weights, and it really played to my advantage for this tournament. On the first day of practice, I found a grassy bank that was near an old river channel that ran about 30 feet deep. I stuck with that area all week long, and it really paid off for me.”
The remaining top six boaters and also qualifying for the BFL All-American:
2nd: Terry Steele, Sparta, Tenn., 15 bass, 41-4, $1,500
3rd: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 14 bass, 39-13, $1,100
4th: Jayme Rampey, Liberty S.C., 12 bass, 39-3, $1,000
5th: Patrick Bone, Cleveland, Ga., 14 bass, 38-14, $900
6th: Tim Staley, Dowelltown, Tenn., 15 bass, 37-12, $800
Rounding out the top 10 boaters:
7th: Brian Tidwell, Seneca, S.C., 14 bass, 37-8, $700
8th: Andy Kilgore, Kingston, Ga., 11 bass, 36-7, $650
9th: Eric Jeter, Asheville, N.C., 12 bass, 34-6, $600
10th: Dax Bumpers, Jackson, Ala., eight bass, 26-8, $550
Curvin co-angler champion
Scott Curvin of Jacksonville, Ala., won the Co-angler Division with a three-day total of eight bass weighing 28 pounds. He took home a 198VX Ranger boat including a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor along with a berth in the BFL All-American Championship tournament.
The remaining top six co-anglers and also qualifying for the BFL All-American:
2nd: Michael Smith, Piedmont S.C., nine bass, 25-3, $750
3rd: Rodney Stevens, Garner, N.C., eight bass, 24-8, $550
4th: Jake Akin, Powder Springs, Ga., nine bass, 20-15, $500
5th: Shawn Marquis, Columbus, Ga., seven bass, 18-3, $450
6th: James Bullard, Harriman, Tenn., six bass, 16-11, $400
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers:
7th: DJ Boggs, Murfreesboro, Tenn., seven bass, 16-0, $350
8th: Marcus Corbett, Heflin, Ala., six bass, 15-15, $325
9th: Rod Huff, Monterey, Tenn., six bass, 15-7, $300
10th: Frank Chappell, Sterrett, Ala., five bass, 14-14, $275
The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers with 120 tournaments throughout the season, five in each division. The top 40 boaters and co-anglers from each division qualify for one of six regional tournaments and are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the EverStart Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.
About FLW Outdoors
FLW Outdoors is the largest tournament-fishing organization in the world, offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world’s richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing at FantasyFishing.com, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player's Advantage to gain an edge.