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Chris Epting of Chapin, S.C., won the March 21 South Carolina Division event on Santee Cooper with a 30-pound, 2-ounce limit to net a check worth over $3,600.
Cox wins co-angler title
SUMMERTON, S.C. (March 23, 2015) – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679.
“It feels great to win a tournament against the talented anglers on this lake,” said Epting. “I couldn’t believe the size of the fish I was catching. That’s probably the heaviest stringer I’ve ever weighed.”
In order to reach the impressive 30-pound mark, Epting threw a Texas-rigged Zoom Baits U-Tail worm around grassy points, mats and isolated trees in lower-lake spots.
“I had my limit before 9 a.m.,” Epting said. “After that I put a larger bait in my hand and went big fish hunting. It worked out.”
Around 10:30 a.m., Epting said that he switched to a solid brown jig with a brown trailer and began catching some sizable bass. He said he culled every fish he had caught that morning.
“Even though the sun didn’t shine as much as I wanted, the fish still were up shallow in less than 4 feet of water,” Epting said. “They were pulling up to spawn and looking to eat everything that they could.
“During practice I checked out 35 to 40 spots,” Epting said. “I didn’t even need to return to half of them. I’d pull in, make 10 or 15 casts and head to the next place. It was a lot of runnin’ and gunnin’.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
               1st:          Chris Epting, Chapin, S.C., five bass, 30-2, $3,679
               2nd:         Lex Costas, Daniel Island, S.C., five bass, 26-12, $1,840
               3rd:          Jess Williams, Sumter, S.C., five bass, 22-14, $1,225
               4th:          Brent Riley, Cross, S.C., five bass, 22-10, $859
               5th:          Wade Grooms, Bonneau, S.C., five bass, 22-0, $736
               6th:          Wayne Clifton, Moncks Corner, S.C., five bass, 21-4, $675
               7th:          Daniel Howell, Starr, S.C., four bass, 20-12, $613
               8th:          Sandy Oliver, Hartsville, S.C., five bass, 20-0, $552
               9th:          Carlton Thompkins, Myrtle Beach, S.C., five bass, 19-15, $491
               10th:        Bo Chappell, Olanta, S.C., five bass  , 19-12, $429
Complete results can be found at
Chris Marshall of Forest City, North Carolina, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $480.
Dennis Cox of Pinewood, South Carolina, weighed in three bass totaling 16 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to win $1,840 in the co-angler division.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
          1st:          Dennis Cox, Pinewood, S.C., three bass, 16-9, $1,840
          2nd:         Michael Smith, Piedmont, S.C., five bass, 12-1, $920
          3rd:          Brian Howard, Andrews, S.C., three bass, 11-15, $612
          4th:          Judd Bolen, Summerton, S.C., five bass, 11-9, $429
          5th:          Jeff Rikard, Leesville, S.C., five bass, 11-8, $368
          6th:          Ernest Stephens, Orrum, N.C., three bass, 9-7, $337
          7th:          Gregory Littles, Columbia, S.C., three bass, 8-10, $307
          8th:          Chad Craven, Irmo, S.C., three bass, 8-4, $276
          9th:          Shannon Bryson, Cheraw, S.C., four bass, 8-0, $245
         10th:        Stephen Britt, Columbia, S.C., two bass, 7-12, $215
Cox also caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $240.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 8-10 Regional Championship on Lake Sinclair in Milledgeville, Georgia. 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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