New Albany’s Wray tops Co-angler Division


IUKA, Miss. (April 10, 2017) – Boater Austin Weaver of Sheffield, Alabama, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 5 ounces, Saturday to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mississippi Division event on Pickwick Lake presented by Navionics. Weaver took home $5,197 for his victory.

“We had a nearly two-hour fog delay that almost messed everything up for me,” said Weaver, who earned his first career victory in FLW competition. “I had an area up river that was a long run – 78 miles round trip. I knew that it was going to take me an hour and a half to get up there and back, so with the added fog delay I was only going to have 3 to 4 hours of fishing time.

“I have a lot of trust in my Triton boat and Mercury outboard and I knew that getting there and back in time wasn’t going to be the gamble, but whether or not the fish were still there,” Weaver continued. “I had found this spot last weekend and my best five weighed more than 26 pounds. I didn’t want anyone else to find it, so I didn’t practice all week because I didn’t want anyone to see me there. I knew that if they were still there and biting, I would win. They were.”

Weaver described his area as a big flat that had a ditch running through it. On top of the flat it was 5 to 6 feet deep, but it dropped to 8 to 9 feet in the ditch. Weaver said that he focused on the ditch and caught his winning limit with a green-pumpkin-colored Johnson Lures shaky-head rig with both a Zoom Trick Worm and a Zoom Finesse Worm.

“I put seven keepers in the boat,” Weaver said. “It was fun to do well on my home lake.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st:           Austin Weaver, Sheffield, Ala., five bass, 20-5, $5,197

2nd:          James Byrd, Florence, Ala., five bass, 19-1, $2,598

3rd:          Heath Gilmore, Meridian, Miss., five bass, 17-12, $1,933

4th:           Christopher Whitehead, Tupelo, Miss., five bass, 15-11, $1,313

5th:           Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., five bass, 14-7, $1,039

6th:           Teddy Cranford, Seminary, Miss., five bass, 14-3, $953

7th:           John Bailey, Terry, Miss., five bass, 13-14, $866

8th:           Brandon Perkins, Counce, Tenn., five bass, 13-9, $780

9th:           Chris Quaintance, Muscle Shoals, Ala., five bass, 13-8, $693

10th:        Jade Keeton, Florence, Ala., five bass, 13-3, $606

Complete results can be found at

Jason Hannah of Forest, Mississippi, caught a 7-pound, 12-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 $810.

Marty Wray of New Albany, Mississippi, weighed in five bass totaling 14 pounds, 1 ounce Saturday to win the Co-angler Division and the top prize of $2,528.

The top 10 co-anglers were:

1st:           Marty Wray, New Albany, Miss., five bass, 14-1, $2,528

2nd:          Daniel Corkern, Florence, Miss., five bass, 13-12, $1,264

3rd:          Weston Smedley, Birmingham, Ala., five bass, 12-14, $845

4th:           Ryan Lecompte, Picayune, Miss., four bass, 12-10, $1,180

5th:           Curtis Powell, Brandon, Miss., five bass, 12-3, $506

6th:           Jeff Carter, Pontotoc, Miss., four bass, 11-14, $464

7th:           Benny Brown, Corinth, Miss., five bass, 11-11, $471

8th:           Brian Dodd, Florence, Ala., five bass, 11-10, $379

9th:           Jason Mitchell, Hamilton, Miss., five bass, 11-8, $337

10th:        Daniel Stover, Hernando, Miss., five bass, 11-5, $295

Lecompte weighed a 5-pound, 6-ounce bass which earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award and $390.

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 the Red River in Bossier City, Louisiana. 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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