SUMMERTON – Boater Mark Hutson of Moncks Corner caught a five-bass limit weighing 30 pounds, 14 ounces, Saturday to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division event on the Santee Cooper lakes. For his win, Hutson netted $5,536.
“I fished the upper end of Lake Marion and caught everything off of spawning beds. Most were within a 50-yard stretch of trees,” said Hutson, who notched his third career win on the Santee Cooper lakes in FLW competition. “I used craws in different shapes and colors with 3/16th-ounce weights. I wanted enough weight to hold the bait in place, but still have it light enough to inch along easier in the bed.”
Hutson said he was able to put 12 keepers in the boat throughout the tournament. He added that he caught the majority of his weight between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m.
“I caught a 7-pound, 10-ounce bass on my first cast. It was a great way to start out the morning,” Hutson said.
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Mark Hutson, Moncks Corner, five bass, 30-14, $5,536
2nd: Chad Cook, Cross, five bass, 29-3, $2,668
3rd: Cecil Wolfe, Goose Creek, five bass, 26-5, $1,780
4th: Freddie Gibbs, Darlington, five bass, 26-0, $1,245
5th: Jeremiah Jensen, five bass, 24-2, $1,067
6th: Daniel Howell, Prosperity, five bass, 23-11, $978
7th: Derek Schlotterback, Simpsonville, five bass, 23-10, $989
8th: Allan Williams, Goose Creek, five bass, 22-14, $800
9th: Adam Waters, Denver, N.C., five bass, 22-12, $712
10th: Ronnie McCoy, Lamar, five bass, 22-10, $1,463
McCoy brought an 8-pound, 12-ounce bass to the scale – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $840.
James Simmons of Mount Pleasant won the Co-angler Division and $2,582 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 19 pounds, 13 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: James Simmons, Mount Pleasant, five bass, 19-13, $2,582
2nd: Chris Williams, West Columbia, five bass, 15-14, $1,693
3rd: Christopher Scott, Sumter, five bass, 15-2, $863
4th: Bobby Henderson, Charlotte, N.C., five bass, 13-15, $603
5th: Beau Wilder, Charlotte, N.C., five bass, 13-12, $716
6th: Tristen Trull, Mount Holly, N.C., three bass, 12-12, $473
7th: Kenny Mathis, Boiling Springs, three bass, 12-3, $430
8th: John Christian McKenzie, Hampton, four bass, 12-1, $387
9th: Jack Daniel Hoy, Hollywood, four bass, 11-12, $394
10th: Tyler Dover, Blacksburg, four bass, 11-11, $301
Williams caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division weighing in at 8 pounds, 1 ounce. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $402.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 18-20 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Norman in Huntersville, North Carolina. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.
The 2018 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they 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 BFL All-American. The 2018 BFL All-American will be held May 31-June 2 at Cross Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.