FLW Tour pro Grae Buck of Harleysville, Pennsylvania, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake Saturday after catching five bass weighing 16 pounds, 13 ounces, according to a press release.
For his win, Buck earned $5,471 and 250 points in the Northeast Division presented by Gajo Baits standings. The winner of the division’s Angler of the Year title after five tournaments will win $3,000.
“I was working in 8 to 12 feet of water and targeting areas that had a mix of rock and grass,” said Buck, who earned his fourth career win in BFL competition – second on Oneida Lake. “I ran around and probably hit 20 different spots. I never found a school – I was plucking them off here and there. There are a bunch of small perch fry in those areas right now, so I was looking for the bait and matching the hatch.”
Buck said he used a Tennessee Shad-colored and Purple-colored Cornerstone Baits Shimmy Shot on a drop-shot rig with a No. 2 Hayabusa DSR 132 hook and a ¼-ounce Eco Pro Tungsten Full Contact Drop Shot weight. His line was 18-pound-test Gliss Supersmooth Monotex Yellow Line, with a 12-inch, 8-pound-test Seaguar InvisX fluorocarbon leader. Buck’s setup was rigged on Dobyns DX 703SF Champion Extreme rods and Ardent C-Force 3000 reels.
“I caught all of my fish on the Shimmy Shot – probably 15 or so total. It’s got a piece of foil on the belly which gives it a little extra glimmer,” said Buck. “When I casted out there I’d let it sit on the bottom, and then let the slack out without moving the rig. It was a subtle bite, but I could see the line start moving away. They’re finicky when they are eating perch fry.”
Buck also credited his Lowrance HDS electronics and Navionics chip with helping him identify productive areas around the lake with ease, and said all of the fish he weighed were smallmouth.
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Grae Buck, Harleysville, Pa., five bass, 16-13, $5,471
2nd: Andrew Heivly, Malvern, Pa., five bass, 16-8, $2,486
3rd: Mandel Pettus, Rocky Point, N.Y., five bass, 16-5, $1,424
4th: Ed Casey, Whiteford, Md., five bass, 15-12, $997
5th: Michael Cooper, Sellersville, Pa., five bass, 15-10, $854
6th: Robert Parmer, Linden, Pa., five bass, 15-1, $783
7th: Trevor Topken, Warwick, N.Y., five bass, 15-0, $712
8th: Joe LaBarbera, Montrose, Pa., five bass, 14-11, $641
9th: Chris Caravan, Pottsville, Pa., five bass, 14-6, $569
10th: Nick Diamandas Jr., Oak Ridge, N.J., five bass, 14-5, $498
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Tyler Morgan of Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, caught a bass weighing 4 pounds, 9 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $595.
Steve Cram of Williamstown, New Jersey, won the Co-angler Division and $2,100 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 16 pounds even.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Steve Cram, Williamstown, N.J., five bass, 16-0, $2,100
2nd: Jeff Straka, Kenmore, N.Y., five bass, 15-7, $1,342
3rd: Greg Rzeplinski, Wellsville, Pa., five bass, 15-1, $701
4th: Jacob Weisman, Indian Head, Md., five bass, 14-10, $590
5th: Michael Duarte, Baltimore, Md., five bass, 14-3, $470
6th: Henry McKee, Haddon Heights, N.J., five bass, 14-2, $535
7th: Jeff Morton, Baldwinsville, N.Y., five bass, 13-9, $350
8th: Dylan Boyle, Coopersburg, Pa., five bass, 13-0, $315
9th: Chris Sanno, Shermans Dale, Pa., five bass, 12-12, $280
10th: Chad Bushnaq, Buffalo, N.Y., five bass, 12-0, $345
Straka caught the heaviest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 2 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $252.
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. 17-19 BFL Regional Championship on the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard.
The 2019 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 2020 BFL All-American will be held April 30-May 2 at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina, and is hosted by Visit Anderson. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.