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Craig Hipsher of Benton, Ky., won the first LBL Division event of the year with a 24-pound, 4-ounce limit which earned him a $4,900 payday. (FLW)


Ellis wins co-angler title
GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. (March 16, 2015) – Craig Hipsher of Benton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 24 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky Lake. For his victory, Hipsher earned $4,981.
“It feels great to cut a check,” said Hipsher. “All the days of practice paid off.”
After a dense morning fog delayed takeoff for two hours, Hipsher said he headed to the south end of the lake near the U.S. Highway 68 bridge to throw his first casts of the day. Within ten minutes he had three bass in the livewell, including two 6-pounders. Hipsher said he caught his fish using a Rayburn Red-colored Rat-L-Trap crankbait and a crawdad-colored Rapala Shad Rap.
“We concentrated on running points and spawning pockets,” Hipsher said. “The fish had moved a bit compared to where I had found them in practice, but I still ended up pulling in 30 bass.”
Looking to add to his already impressive stringer, Hipsher decided to move to shallow around 1 p.m. Using a Sexy Shad-colored Accent Lures spinnerbait, the Kentucky angler wrestled in a 6-pound, 10-ounce kicker to seal the victory.
“I knew the water would be warmer and figured the big fish would be moving back to their spawning areas,” said Hipsher. “I was sitting in about nine or 10 inches of water and I saw him lurking around a stump.
“It was a good day. Everything went right.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st:          Craig Hipsher, Benton, Ky., five bass, 24-4, $4,981
2nd:         Austin Brown, Benton, Ky., three bass, 14-3, $2,490
3rd:          Terry Bolton, Paducah, Ky., four bass, 12-11, $1,662
4th:          Ed Rounsaville, Indianapolis, Ind., five bass, 12-10, $1,162
5th:          Sam Boss, Paducah, Ky., four bass, 12-4, $954
5th:          Ronny Webb, Dyersburg, Tenn., three bass, 12-4, $954
7th:          Ed Daniell, West Frankfort, Ill., four bass, 10-10, $788
7th:          Bob Drake, Noblesville, Ind., three bass, 10-10, $788
9th:          Chris Beaudrie, Shepherdsville, Ky., four bass, 10-9, $664
10th:        Brent Anderson, Kingston Springs, Tenn., three bass, 9-12, $581
Complete results can be found at
Mike Keller of Metropolis, Illinois, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $760.
Justin Ellis of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, weighed in three bass totaling 13 pounds even Saturday to win $2,490 in the co-angler division.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st:          Justin Ellis, Harrodsburg, Ky., three bass, 13-0, $2,490
2nd:         Rick Boehringer, Troy, Ohio, three bass, 12-8, $1,245
3rd:          James Lee, Ledbetter, Ky., four bass, 11-6, $829
4th:          Les Stracener, West Memphis, Ark., three bass, 8-10, $581
5th:          Shaun Brown, Slippery Rock, Pa., three bass, 8-8, $498
6th:          Thomas Garbacz, Schaumburg, Ill., four bass, 8-7, $457
7th:          Randy Hill, Murfreesboro, Tenn., three bass, 8-6, $415
8th:          Rodney Rowe, Eddyville, Ky., two bass, 7-10, $353
8th:          Greg Tacheny, St. Paul, Minn., three bass, 7-10, $353
10th:        Matt Dobrinic, Crestwood, Mo., two bass, 7-9, $291
Ellis also caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $380.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 22-24 Regional Championship on Neely Henry Lake in Gadsden, Alabama. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C 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 50 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. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the Rayovac FLW Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.

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