Co-angler Title Goes to Walnut Hill’s Arning

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SHELBYVILLE, Ill. (Sept. 24, 2018) – Boater Garrett McDowell of Mattoon, Illinois, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament on Lake Shelbyville Sunday with a two-day cumulative catch of 10 bass weighing 26 pounds, 3 ounces. McDowell earned $6,540 for his win.

“I went from one end of the lake to the other running the backs of coves in a foot or less of water,” said McDowell, who earned his first win in FLW competition. “The water was pretty clear but  my polarized Solar Bat sunglasses were key for me. If you didn’t have sunglasses where you could see the wood on the bottom, I wouldn’t have caught what I did. A lot of the stumps were a foot or more under the water where you just can’t see them without the polarized lenses.”

McDowell said he primarily used a custom white swimjig with a White Pearl-colored Zoom Super Chunk. He also rotated in a ChatterBait with a white Keitech swimbait when he needed to cover more water, and noted that it caught one of his largest fish of the day Saturday.

“I probably hit 12 to 15 coves each day, with stumps and laydowns being the deal,” said McDowell. “I saved my southern coves for Sunday. I thought they held better-quality fish.”

McDowell said he ended up catching about eight keepers each day.

“Making multiple casts to the same target was important. Sometimes I had to cast 10 times to a stump before they’d eat the bait.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st:           Garrett McDowell, Mattoon, Ill., 10 bass, 26-3, $4,540 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus

2nd:         Jeremy Mull, Chatham, Ill., 10 bass, 23-5, $2,470

3rd:          Brennon McCord, West Frankfort, Ill., 10 bass, 22-7, $1,515

4th:          Brian Tschudy, Mascoutah, Ill., nine bass, 20-15, $1,159

5th:          Darren Frazier, Anna, Ill., seven bass, 20-13, $908

6th:          Michael Black, Toledo, Ill., eight bass, 20-12, $832

7th:          Mike McGill, Findlay, Ill., nine bass, 20-4, $757

8th:          Dan Morehead, Paducah, Ky., nine bass, 20-1, $981

9th:          Andrew Harper, Shelbyville, Ill., eight bass, 19-2, $605

10th:        Bobby McMullin, Pevely, Mo., nine bass, 17-15, $530

Complete results can be found at

Nick Koehne of Manteno, Illinois, caught a bass weighing 4 pounds, 12 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division. The catch earned him the Boater Big Bass award of $532.

Aaron Arning of Walnut Hill, Illinois, caught a two-day total of eight bass weighing 18 pounds, 15 ounces, to win the Co-angler Division and $2,470.

The top 10 co-anglers were:

1st:           Aaron Arning, Walnut Hill, Ill., eight bass, 18-15, $2,470

2nd:         David Duzan, Oakland, Ill., seven bass, 15-11, $1,135

3rd:          Mark Carlock, Hillsboro, Ill., five bass, 12-10, $757

4th:          Ryan Murphy, Paris, Ill., six bass, 11-12, $530

5th:          Dale Renth, Mascoutah, Ill., seven bass, 11-10, $504

6th:          Adrian Lungu, Palos Hills, Ill., five bass, 11-5, $682

7th:          Aaron Wehmeyer, Odell, Ill., five bass, 11-0, $378

8th:          Austin Sloan, Shelbyville, Ill., four bass, 9-14, $341

9th:          Mario Rossi Jr., Granite City, Ill., five bass, 9-10, $303

10th:        Shane Campbell, Highland, Ill., four bass, 9-7, $265

Lungu caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a fish weighing 4 pounds, 3 ounces – and earned the Co-angler Big Bass award of $266.

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. 25-27 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Chickamauga in Dayton, Tennessee. 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 2018 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 2019 BFL All-American will take place May 30-June 1 on the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland.

For complete details and updated information visit For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League on FLW’s social media outlets at FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube and Snapchat.