Boater Mike Keller of Metropolis took top honors at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament on the Ohio River at Golconda Saturday after catching five bass weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces.
For his efforts, Keller pocketed $3083.
"I fished all the way up the Tennessee River. I worked rock piles along a 30-yard stretch, and the fish were in about 7 feet of water," said Keller, who notched his second win on the Ohio River in BFL competition. "My Bass Cat helped me beat everyone to my first spot, and I ended up staying there all day."
Keller said he used a half-ounce, War Eagle spinnerbait and a Neko-rigged 5-inch, green-pumpkin Yamamoto Senko to catch his fish. He said he caught around eight keepers on the day, and weighed all largemouth.
"I worked the spinnerbait slow. The bite got better around 9 a.m. when the sun came up," said Keller. "I caught my biggest fish - a 4-pounder - on a Neko rig at about 9:30 (a.m.).
"My MotorGuide X5 trolling motor kept me locked on my spot which ended up being huge for me," Keller went on to say. "I didn't have to worry about drifting off or losing my spot when I retied. I had a lot of boats around me, but I could relax and just fish when it was on."
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
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. 24-26 BFL Regional Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma.
Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard.
The 2019 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 2020 BFL All-American will be held April 30-May 2 at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.