Milner wacks 16 pounds, Arkansas leads on a tough Truman Lake

Uncertainties shake bite; high water levels, imminent flooding play huge role

Weather conditions left anglers struggling as day one of the 2010 TBF Central Division Championship, Presented by Evinrude E-TEC kicked off today in Warsaw, Mo., on Truman Lake, as 96 anglers from eight states battle it out for the individual and state team championship titles. The three official practice days were lined with thunderstorms and the bite was fairly good by most reports. Today, high pressure, no wind and sunny, bluebird skies dominated. The lake is high which is rising about a foot per day; nearly everything on the bank is trampled by floods, leaving places and banks typically great for fishing out. With conditions nothing close to what they faced pre-fishing, several anglers found it tough to make the bite, as only 9 limits were caught and 26 anglers came up empty handed.

This week of competition will see 16 TBF anglers advance to the 2011 Federation National Championship where they’ll vie for nearly a quarter of a million in cash and prizes and the chance to “Live the Dream” on the FLW Pro Tour for a year with entries paid, travel expense money and use of a wrapped Chevrolet truck and Ranger boat. With all this in mind, anglers look to tomorrow to pick up the bite and see if the weather will shine them a grin.

As is always the case, someone figures out the puzzle. Pulling out above the pack, Kerry Milner, from Bono, Ark., caught a five bass limit today weighing 16lb 3ounces.

Milner started out fishing shallow, then moved to off-shore structure to catch his limit by 9am. “I hope tomorrow’s weather will be better, maybe help us out more,” Milner said. When asked about tomorrow’s strategy he said, “I really took it easy on them in those spots today; I think they’ll be there again.” Milner’s non-boater today also caught a limit of bass. “I had a great partner; we had a good time and both caught limits.”

Holding down second in individual standings is, Dennis Hastings, from Flower Mounds, Texas. Hastings only managed four fish, but they weighed a solid 12lb 13ounces. “Starting out we just made a milk run pitching all different types of vegetation,” Hastings said. He put together a pattern pre-fishing, but today changed all that. “It was nothing like we saw pre-fishing, it was sunny; that changed the bite a lot.” He commented the game plan tomorrow will reflect that, namely, based on what happens in the morning. “It’s just a grind; we adjusted in the morning and covered a lot of water; I actually caught my last fish 20 minutes before weigh-in.” He gave much credit to his Nebraska partner, Robert Hime. “I couldn’t have done what I did without him.”

On the state team side, Arkansas snatched a sound lead bringing in 76lb 4ounces. A few pounds away is the Nebraska state team with 61lb 15ounces. Next, is Kansas with 53lb 12ounces. In fourth, Missouri with 50lb even. Then, Louisiana-42lb 5ounces, Texas-39lb 5ounces, Mississippi-35lb 10ounces and Oklahoma-31lb 15ounces. But with these weights it is far from over, look for things to shake up tomorrow. Day 2 weigh-in begins at 2:30pm tomorrow at Long Shoal Marina and it is free to the public.

Full Results are HERE

Georgia seals the deal; Horton earns title

Team Georgia

Team Georgia

Georgia came for one reason-to take home the title-and they sure didn’t leave home without it. The Georgia state team brought in 128lb 9ounces today making their tournament total 424lb 15 ounces, solidifying their win as the Southern Division Champions, the loins share of the over 32,000.00 in cash and prizes and a year’s worth of bragging rights. The Georgia team was anchored by Al Horton, from Palmetto, Ga., who triumphed in the overall standings to earn the title of the 2010 Southern Division Champion in the individual standings as well. The Championship held in Eufaula, Alabama and presented by the Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce, also saw 14 TBF anglers earn spots in the 2011 Federation National Championship presented by the National Guard. One boater and co-angler from each state will advance to the national contest to compete for nearly a quarter of a million dollars in cash and prizes and the chance to “Live the Dream” fishing the FLW Pro Tour for a year with fully paid entry fees and use of a wrapped Chevrolet truck and Ranger boat and travel money. From the 2011 Championship, two TBF anglers from each of the seven divisions will win the chance to compete in the 2011 BFL All-American and the champion boater and co-angler

Al Horton

Al Horton

births in the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup. With all things said, it was more than an exciting day of fishing.

Champion, Al Horton, caught another five bass limit today of 15lb 8ounces, making his total tournament weight 54lb 14ounces. Horton formed a pattern involving a frog he stuck by for 10 days, seven pre-fishing and three tournament. “It went good; I caught fish early, I caught fish late. When I got tired of throwing the frog, I threw the frog and when I got tired of throwing the frog…. I threw the frog,” Horton said. He was also elected to be Georgia’s team captain and led proud. “It’s a great team to work with; we put it all together and did well. Thanks to our team and guys like Georgia President, Larry Lewis, and Jerry and Skip, these guys are always great.” Horton had an equally enthusiast cheering section. “I’m just thankful for all the support of my family and friends.” This week his wife Janice, son Ryan, daughter Rebecca, father-in-law and friends all gathered to root him on. “I couldn’t be happier; I mean today my wife of 35 years, Janice, just here cheering me on. It just means so much.” Horton’s also qualified for the Federation National Championship in 2004. “It’s a wonderful experience and as close to being with the pros as you can be; it’s a pleasure and honor to be there.”

The Georgia state team, host of the 2010 Southern Division Championship, showed us what consistency is all about, leading the way in the team standings all three days. Larry Lewis, Georgia President, had a lot to say about his state’s solid performance and teamwork this week. “This was the best ever, team wise, in the last four years. They’re good guys that worked hard; in the end, they all just about used the same thing fishing all week,” Lewis said. As president of the championship’s host state, Georgia, Lewis was foremost in sending out thanks to all the states. “To all the states that came, I hope they really enjoyed themselves.” Lewis also exercised some playful bragging rights as he did a little joking during the interview. “Tell them we’ll see ‘em next year at green river-we hear they have five fish up there-.” Lewis, who was needed to fish the last day of the event as the Georgia alternate, stepped up today and caught a whopping 16lb 7ounces to help his team, showing everyone the kind of teamwork and dedication the Georgia state team is made of.

Despite North Carolina’s mighty push, they came up a little short, proudly walking away in second with 150 total fish weighing 396lb 10ounces. They were definitely a crowd favorite, as they’re cheering section spurred excitement all through the weigh-in.

Herman Vining, SC

Herman Vining, SC

The collective team standings are as follows: Ga., 424lb 15ounces; N.C., 396lb 10ounces; S.C., 355lb 5ounces; Tenn., 346lb 7ounces; Ala., 346lb 6ounces; Ky., 328lb 13ounces; Fla., 308lb 5ounces.

In the overall standings, Herman Vining, from Gilbert, S.C., came up just ounces short, of Morton for the overall title, but he will be representing South Carolina as the boater at the 2011 Federation National Championship. Vining caught a limit of bass weighing 21lb 14ounces, making his tournament total 53lb 10ounces. Vining had a lot of praise to his team, as well as, to his sponsor, PJ Lures. “PJ Lures played a huge part, without that jig I wouldn’t have caught what I did,” Vining said. They gave me a brand new skirt color to try out but I only had 10 jigs.” Vining said he has caught more fish in less time using these jigs than anything else. “I ended up driving home last night to get my last one and I used it to catch a limit in 35 min today. Moral of the story-next time I order from PJ Lures, I’ll make sure to order more than enough.”

Next to finish on the South Carolina state team was Jay Keith, from Camden, S.C., the 2009 Federation National Champion who will be represented the TBF next year as the “Living the Dream” angler on the FLW Pro Tour. In lieu of his commitment to the tour, the South Carolina State team co-angler will be Darrell Shull, from West Columbia, S.C. Shull respectively steps up to represent his state team this year at the national event.

The 14 TBF Southern Division Champions are as follows (angler, co-angler): Ala., Robbie Robinson, Jason Hester; Fla., Jesse Woodring, J. Nobel Willits; Ga., Marvin (Al) Horton, Jeff Williams; Ky., Gregory Hoskinson, William Lowther; N.C., Jeff Hager, Brian Fritts; S.C., Herman Vining, Darrell Shull; Tenn., Charles L. Davis, David Presley.

2011 TBF National Championship Southern Contenders

2011 TBF National Championship Southern Contenders

Full results are here.

Georgia means business; Horton leads the way making 19lb 11ounces the trend

Georgia state team made a statement today-they’re here to win it-but North Carolina proves they’re not a force to be discounted as they fought to close the gap as day two of the 2010 Southern Division Championship presented by Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce wrapped up in Eufaula, Ala., today. Only one day of tournament fishing left to decide who will walk away as 2010 Southern Division Champions.

There’s a lot at stake as over $32,000 in tournament Prizes, 14 spots in the 2011 Federation National Championship are up for grabs. The anglers are ready to bring all they got, one last push to see who will be crowned champions as the final day of 2010 Southern Division Championship will decide.

Knocking down 19lb 11ounces yesterday, Al Horton, from Palmetto, Ga., brings another 19lb 11ounces today.

Marvin Horton, GA

Marvin Horton, GA

Horton’s leading the Georgia state team and the overall tournament standings with a total tournament weight of 39lb 6ounces. Horton struggled until around 9:30 this morning, then came up with a limit around 1:30pm. “I was blessed both days with 19lb 11ounces doing mostly the same thing for the last nine days,” Horton said. When asked about his plans tomorrow he said, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” So, we’ll see if he can wrangle in another 19lb 11ounces tomorrow and hold down the top spot for the overall championship title.

Fighting to take it away is yesterday’s tournament leader and North Carolina leader, Brian Fritts, from Raleigh, N.C., who caught a limit of bass weighing 17lb 14ounces making his tournament total 38lb 6ounces.

Fritts had his limit by 10:20am junk fishing. “I’m fishing shallow, deep, all over and tomorrow I’m going to go out there and just fish,” Fritts said. This would be his first time to qualify for the federation national championship and he won’t be leaving anything out there tomorrow to make sure that happens.

In third, just an ounce away, is Gregory Hoskinson, from Louisville, Ky., with five fish weighing 19lb 3ounces making

Brian Fritts

Brian Fritts

his tournament total 38lb 5ounces. Hoskinson is holding the top spot in the state of Kentucky with a six pound lead. He qualified for the 2009 Federation National Championship and this week he’s fishing hard with the drive to make a repeat, what he brings tomorrow will decide if this will be year two in a row for this champion angler.

In fourth, is Jeff Hager, from Alexis, N.C., with a limit weighing 19lb 13ounces making his total 36lb 7ounces. Close behind, is Robbie Robinson, from Mobile, Ala., with five fish weighing 21lb 2ounces making his tournament total 35lb 15ounces. Robinson is also currently first in the state of Alabama.

Next, is 2009 Federation National Champion, Jay Keith, from Camden, S.C., who is South Carolina’s team leader with a limit of fish today weighing 17lb 7ounces making his total tournament weight 35lb 8ounces.

Greg 'Hosko' Hoskinson, KY

Greg 'Hosko' Hoskinson, KY

In seventh, is the Florida state team leader, Jesse Woodring, from Jupiter, Fla., with five fish weighing 16lb 14ounces, making his total 32lb 11ounces. Woodring knocked out the tournament big bass today by an ounce with a nice keeper weighing 6lb 14ounces. His third fish of the day was his big one, around 8:30am flippin grass mats in about 2ft water. “When I reeled it in I thought, yep, that will take big bass,” Woodring said.

In team standings, Georgia’s in first catching 142lb 8ounces, with a tournament total of 296lb 6ounces. North Carolina’s close behind with 145lb 6ounces and a tournament total of 274lb 15ounces. In third, is South Carolina, with 114lb 12ounces making their total 232lb 9ounces. Full standings are as follows; Fla., 110lb 15ounces/230lb; Tenn., 118lb 6ounces/225lb 11ounces; Ky., 124lb 7ounces/224lb 14ounces; Ala., 117lb 8ounces/221lb 12ounces

The overall and team standings are tight, so only the bites tomorrow will decide who will be our 2010 Southern Division Champions. The tension is on, the anglers focused, the final day will definitely be an exhilarating test of skill and luck as the anglers head out to fish for bragging rights and the esteemed championship titles.

Full Results are HERE.

TBF Southern Division Anglers “Bring the Heat”

One hot summer day kicked off the 2010 TBF Southern Division Championship presented by Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce in Eufaula, Ala., today as 83 anglers from seven states vie for the championship titles both overall and for their respective state teams. 14 TBF anglers will advance to the 2011 Federation National Championship. There’s a lot on the line; you could see it on their faces as the first push was made on day one of the 2010 Southern Division Championship.

Georgia is leading with 57 fish weighing 153lb 14ounces. It was close all day, but in the end their state team put together some nice bags to pull out on top. Just a good day’s catch away, is the North Carolina state team with 47 fish weighing 129lb 9ounces. In third, Florida with 50 fish weighing 119lb 1ounces. Just pounds behind them, with 43 fish weighing 117lb 13ounces is the state team of South Carolina. Next, is Tennessee with 45 fish weighing 107lb 5ounces. Alabama and Kentucky follow close with 104lb 4ounces and 100lb 7ounces respectively.

Just one ounce separates the top angler in the overall standings, Brian Fritts, from Raleigh, N.C. Fritts caught a limit of

Bryan Fritts

Bryan Fritts

bass weighing 20lb 8ounces. He is representing the North Carolina state team this week and has helped his team hold down the second place spot.

One ounce behind him is Herman Vining, from Gilbert, S.C. who brought in a limit of bass weighing 20lb 7ounces. Vining is the South Carolina Team Captain and is leading his team well. He had a few top-water spots in the morning and caught a limit of bass in the first hour. “We went back to those spots later and just found bigger fish; I ended up culling everything for some better keepers,” Vining said. “I hope it goes well again tomorrow; today, I lost a six and four pounder, which would have definitely put me up there.” Right on his heels, Joe Harris, from Taylorsville, Ga., had a limit weighing 19lb 15ounces. In fourth, Marvin Horton, from Palmetto, Ga., with four fish weighing 19lb 11ounces. Next, Gregory Hoskinson, from Lousiville, Ky., with five fish weighing 19lb 2ounces. There’s only a five pound spread between the first and fifteenth anglers, so tomorrow, anything can and will certainly happen.

Georgia’s Allen Helbert is leadinng the big bass pool with a 6.13 ounce beauty weighed in today.

Full results are here.

Big Bass Leader - Helbert

Big Bass Leader