Brian Hazel of Clinton, Tn., weighed in a two-day total of 10 bass totaling 30 pounds, 14 ounces Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Volunteer Division super tournament on Watts Bar Lake. For his victory, Mr. Hazel earned $4,268.
Mr. Hazel earned his first BFL win in the closest fashion possible. In fact, Hazel won by virtue of having a heavier bag on the first day, even though he and Bo Cross of Knoxville, tied for the final weight.
“I’ve been practicing for a while, and I’ve been on them really good,” said Mr. Hazel. “I never even went the last weekend because I knew I’d hurt my fish That’s how good I was on them.
“Early in the morning I’d catch them on a Zara Spook on the edge of grass flats,” said Mr. Hazel. “It rained all day Saturday, but the morning bite was still there. Once the rain quit I caught them on a swim jig around docks with grass on them.
"That ended up being the thing for Sunday as well,” said Mr. Hazel. “I only caught one on the Zara Spook the second day. I wasn’t getting many bites, but the bites I did get were quality.
“I’m pretty stoked,” said Mr. Hazel about his win. “This is the first year I’ve fished the BFL’s, and I did pretty good.”
Mr. Hazel said he threw a white Zara Spook and a sexy shad-colored Strike King swim jig.
Rounding out the top 10 pros were:
2nd: Bo Cross, Knoxville, Tenn., 10 bass, 30-14, $2,134
3rd: Jonathan Bowling, Harriman, Tenn., 10 bass, 27-5, $1,423
4th: Tim Smiley, White Pine, Tenn., eight bass, 26-14, $996 + $300 Evinrude Bonus
5th: Steve Coleman, Clayton, Ga., seven bass, 23-12, $854
6th: Craig Powers, Rockwood, Tenn., eight bass, 22-6, $783
7th: George Carroll, Clinton, Tenn., seven bass, 22-4, $711
8th: Larry Rolen, Loudon, Tenn., seven bass, 19-10, $640
9th: Bobby Drinnon, Rogersville, Tenn., six bass, 19-0, $569
10th: Tee Watkins, East Point, Ky., six bass, 18-3, $498
Kyle Warden of Bluff City, Tn., weighed in a two-day total of five bass weighing 13 pounds, 10 ounces Sunday to win $2,134 in the co-angler division.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:
2nd: Dennis Lewis, Powell, Tenn., five bass, 13-4, $1,067
3rd: Darren Kelly, Wartburg, Tenn., five bass, 12-1, $712
4th: Roger Hahn, Fairfield, Ohio, four bass, 11-7, $498
5th: Jason Jackson, Waynesville, N.C., three bass, 9-9, $427
6th: Jim Neece, Bristol, Va., three bass, 9-5, $391
7th: Tyler Duckworth, Gray, Tenn., two bass, 8-14, $356
8th: Eric Topole, Corryton, Tenn., four bass, 8-10, $320
9th: Justin McGaha, Knoxville, Tenn., three bass, 8-7, $285
10th: Steve Kugley, Knoxville, Tenn., three bass, 8-1, $249
The top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 17-19 Regional Championship on Lake Hartwell in Lavonia, Ga. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and a Chevy Silverado, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
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 a regional tournament and compete 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.