Blake Wilson Takes the AFT Championship Victory
ATHENS, Ala. -Running out of Forsyth Park in Monroe, LA anglers fought through low and steadily dropping water conditions for the entire week. The fish that had been found before the off-limits period had moved and had to be re-located. All three days were needed to figure them out. The area had not had any rainfall and the river was below normal pool, making it difficult to reach some of the preferred backwater locations for bass.
Blake Wilson of Prattsville, AR finished on top of the field catching a five-fish limit on all three days, capping it off with the biggest bag of the tournament on the final day at 16.09 lbs. Blake was sitting in fifth place after the scales closed on day two, just two pounds back from the leader. He knew he would need a big bag on the final day to come out on top. On day three Blake sealed his victory, with the biggest bag of the tournament weighing in at 16.09 pounds, giving him a three-day total of 36.74 pounds. Blake took home a brand-new Triton Boats powered with a Mercury Motor package and loaded with T-H Marine products, two Garmin units, and a MotorGuide trolling motor for his First-place finish.
“I fished an area today that I stumbled on during practice by accident. I had been fishing up a small creek all week getting what I could before the water dropped. During practice I ran out of gas and had to call one of my friends to bring me some, so I started fishing. I caught a fish that was close to five pounds and thought it was a fluke. I went down the bank and caught another that was around three, and scratched my head. The third fish was close to five pounds, so I put my rod down. The water was a little deeper there and I knew if I could save those fish for the last day, I might be able to come in with a good bag and have a shot at winning. It paid off, I had a little over 16 pounds, and I’m taking home a Triton Boats 21 TRX. What a week,” said Blake.
Finishing in second place for the boaters was Kenny Covington of West Monroe, LA with a three-day total of 13 fish for 31.78 pounds. Kenny took home $5000 for his second-place finish.
Placing third for the boaters was William Sheffield of Hawkinsville, GA with 15 bass over the three days weighing 29.76 pounds. William took home $2000 for his efforts.
The Angler of the Year (AOY) from each division had a tournament within the tournament, each competing for the top spot among all AOY participants for the top prize of a new Triton Boats 21 TRX.
John Simonof of Jacksonville, AR was in position to make a run at the title. However, his five-fish limit on day two was a bit lighter than he had hoped, settling him in 11th place overall. With three other AOY contenders sitting 6th, 7th, and 8th, but only two pounds ahead of him, a move had to made.
“Day, one was good, but I wasn’t happy with day two. I had five fish, but only for six pounds, the second day. I had some bites that I didn’t execute well, and was unable to get them in the boat. They would have made a big difference. Knowing the water level was dropping all week every bite counted. I wasn’t sure I would be able to get to those fish by the end of the week. I was using a push pole to reach some of the areas I had no problem getting in to during practice. I had high hopes for day three and being only 1.87 pounds back from the next AOY in the standings, I knew I had to grind it out. I had a really good day on day three and I was able to land those quality fish I had lost the day before, weighing 11.88 pounds. Obviously, I couldn’t be happier with the end results and that Triton Boats 21 TRX is going home with me tomorrow. ABA is a great organization and I am going to be with them for a long time. I love these tournaments” said Simonof.
For the non-boaters, day two was a turning point for Larry Franklin of Waverly, TN. Larry came to the scales with a five-fish limit for 8.49 pounds that nearly doubled his weight from day one, moving him more than half way up the field to 25th place and he knew it was a big deal. The Highest placing non-boater of the tournament was towing home a 19’ Triton TRX equipped with a Mercury Outboard, Motor Guide, and Garmin electronics.
“I had a great day on day 2 to put me in position, but with this field of anglers I knew I would have to stay consistent. That is important in these multiple day events. I had just under a three-pound lead from the next non-boater in the standings, but as tough as the fishing had been I knew it could all change in a hurry. When we came off the water on the last day I had it in my mind that it had slipped away from me. I only had two fish for 2.23 pounds. I had my fingers crossed but wouldn’t know until the scales closed at the end of the day. My wife was keeping up with all the weights as everyone was weighing in, but I still wasn’t going to relax until it was official. I’m just thrilled about everything. It was a beautiful week on the water,” said Larry.
The Ram American Fishing Tour offers low cost, close to home bass tournaments that are designed for the weekend angler. All ABA anglers fish for money and points. The points advance the angler to their divisional championship and the top 500 anglers in the US are invited to the Ram American Fishing Tour National Championship. For more information on American Bass Anglers please visit www.americanbassanglers.com or call (256)232-0406.
American Bass Anglers, Inc. is supported by Ram Trucks, Triton Boats, Mercury Outboards, Carlisle Tires, GEICO, Berkley, Abu Garcia, T-H Marine, Livingston Lures, Best Western Hotels, Maui Jim, Power Pole, Simms, Garmin, and SiriusXM Marine Weather.
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