RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (April 9, 2016) – Pro Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 3 ounces Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event on Grand Lake presented by Evinrude with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 51 pounds, 13 ounces. For his win, Birge took home $40,000.
Birge, who started the day in eighth place, said he spent the majority of his tournament targeting prespawn bass in three mid-lake areas that were littered with small chunk rock.
“I’d fish a 300-yard staging area in Wolf Creek, and then leave it alone to replenish,” said Birge, who earned his third career victory in FLW competition. “I’d make my way down to the mouth of the creek and fish another 200-yard stretch, and then make my way back up. There were fish moving up shallow throughout the day, so I just kept bouncing around and junkfishing.”
Birge said he rotated through his three areas for the duration of the three-day event, and that his bites gradually got heavier.
“I know the fish in this lake and their quality,” said Birge. “I knew the numbers were here if I stuck with it until they started to bite. I probably casted my lure a thousand times each day. I just kept chunking and plowing the bottom with it. I just about wore the paint and bill off of it.”
The Oklahoma pro said he used one lure and rod to catch his bass over the course of the tournament – a Live Baby Bluegill-colored 6th Sense Crush Mini 25X Crankbait on a 7-foot, medium-action Falcon Cara T7 casting rod.
“I found that the bigger bass didn’t like bluegill and were biting at them,” Birge said. “One of my keepers spit up a bluegill in my livewell yesterday, and it reassured me that what I was doing was right.”
The top 10 pros on Grand Lake were:
1st: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 15 bass, 51-13, $40,000
2nd: Toby Hartsell, Afton, Okla., 14 bass, 50-5, $15,500
3rd: Sammy Burks, Joplin, Mo., 15 bass, 48-7, $12,000
4th: Quaker State pro Matt Arey, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 48-3, $10,000
5th: Chad Warren, Sand Springs, Okla., 14 bass, 47-1, $9,300
6th: Jesse Wolfe, Nelson, Wis., 13 bass, 47-0, $8,000
7th: Bill Tervin, Pocola, Okla., 12 bass, 44-11, $7,000
8th: Matt Cooper, Smithville, Texas, 12 bass, 39-7, $6,000
9th: Russell Cecil, Willis, Texas, 10 bass, 37-0, $5,000
10th: Earl Hoskins, Burns Flat, Okla., 10 bass, 33-2, $4,000
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Allen Head of Pryor, Oklahoma, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division Friday, a fish weighing 7 pounds even that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $300.
Steven Meador of Bella Vista, Arkansas, won the co-angler division and a Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower Mercury outboard motor. Meador earned his win with a three-day total catch of 13 bass weighing 38 pounds, 9 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers on Grand Lake were:
1st: Steven Meador, Bella Vista, Ark., 13 bass, 38-9, Ranger Z117 w/ 90-horsepower outboard motor
2nd: Shane Hill, Lufkin, Texas, 11 bass, 36-2, $5,000
3rd: Kelly Banks, Bartlesville, Okla., 12 bass, 35-1, $4,000
4th: Derek Rowsey, Ada, Okla., 11 bass, 30-11, $3,500
5th: Randy Baskins, Owasso, Okla., nine bass, 30-1, $3,000
6th: Robert Myers, Broken Arrow, Okla., nine bass, 26-14, $2,500
7th: Randall Vaughan, Blanco, Texas, nine bass, 24-4, $2,000
8th: Lonnie Miller, Broken Arrow, Okla., seven bass, 22-0, $1,750
9th: Chase Hux, New Braunfels, Texas, seven bass, 20-4, $1,500
10th: William Lovelace, Broken Arrow, Okla., seven bass, 19-15, $1,250
Johnny Lankford of Springdale, Arkansas, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division Friday, a bass weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $200.
The Costa FLW Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments with competitors vying for valuable points that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the Costa FLW Series Championship. The 2016 Costa FLW Series Championship is being held Nov. 3-5 on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri.
The Costa FLW Series on Grand Lake was hosted by the City of Grove. It was the second Southwestern Division tournament of 2016. The next Costa FLW Series tournament will be a Western Division event, held April 21-23, on Clear Lake in Lakeport, California. For a complete schedule, visit FLWFishing.com.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Costa FLW Series on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2016 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 235 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Periscope: @FLWFishing.