Stuart’s Pilson tops Co-angler Division


HUDDLESTON, Va. (March 20, 2017) – Shane Burns of Durham, North Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 10 ounces, Saturday to win the first T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Shenandoah Division event of 2017 on Smith Mountain Lake. Burns took home $6,042 for his victory.

“I’ve been so close to winning before, and I have wanted one of those big winner trophies for a long time,” said Burns, who earned his first career win in FLW competition after 15 previous top-10 finishes. “I have so many of the fish hook trophies that they give out to the top-10, but it was so awesome to finally get over that hump and get the win.”

Burns said that he caught his winning limit by fishing points in pockets in Craddock Creek. He was originally targeting smallmouth with a jerkbait, but found an area where big females were staging for the spawn and capitalized with a green-pumpkin Dave’s Tournament Tackle football jig with a Dave’s Tournament Tackle Sweet Tail Craw, also in green-pumpkin.

Burns said that he caught eight keepers throughout the day – seven largemouth and one smallmouth – and weighed in five largemouth.

“I had given up on trying to find the deep fish and was planning on committing to the docks, but my Lowrance unit showed me those big largemouth were there. They weren’t stacked up, but I worked the point up and down, both sides. There were enough females there to get me a good limit.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st:          Shane Burns, Durham, N.C., five bass, 19-10, $4,042 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus

2nd:         Brian Calloway, Danville, Va., five bass, 19-5, $2,021

3rd:          Dennis Burdette, Lindside, W. Va., five bass, 16-7, $1,282

4th:          Mike Altizer, Hardy, Va., five bass, 16-1, $896

5th:          Benjamin Clark, Smithfield, Va., five bass, 15-7, $768

6th:          Steve Wagner, Raleigh, N.C., five bass, 15-1, $704

7th:          Andy Francis, Chester, Va., four bass, 14-11, $640

8th:          Rick Tilley, Moneta, Va., five bass, 14-10, $576

9th:          Ben Reynolds, Callands, Va., four bass, 14-8, $512

10th:        Chad Pilson, Bassett, Va., four bass, 14-0, $448

Complete results can be found at

Todd Harris of Clemmons, North Carolina, caught a 7-pound, 6-ounce bass, which was the heaviest of the tournament in the Boater Division. The catch earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $510.

Elliot Pilson of Stuart, Virginia, weighed in four bass totaling 9 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the Co-angler Division and the top prize of $1,921.

The top 10 co-anglers were:

1st:          Elliot Pilson, Stuart, Va., four bass, 9-11, $1,921

2nd:         Timothy Kinder, Culpeper, Va., five bass, 9-5, $960

3rd:          Michael Wade, Midlothian, Va., three bass, 8-13, $641

4th:          John Poos, Manassas, Va., two bass, 7-6, $448

5th:          Dick Allen, Sumerduck, Va., two bass, 7-4, $384

6th:          Isaac Jones, Shawsville, Va., two bass, 6-13, $352

7th:          Zack Stamper, Rural Retreat, Va., two bass, 6-12, $320

8th:          Rob Hilliard, Roanoke, Va., two bass, 5-13, $288

9th:          Tony Toombs, Drakes Branch, Va., two bass, 5-12, $256

10th:        Matt McCluskey, Ashburn, Va., one bass, 5-11, $479

McCluskey weighed a 5-pound, 11-ounce bass which earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award and an additional $255.

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. 19-21 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia. 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 2017 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. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.

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