By Brain Carter
Boater Richard Owen of Chester, Virginia, caught a three-day cumulative total of 15 bass weighing 40 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the T-H Marine Fishing League Worldwide Bass Fishing League Regional event on the James River presented by Costa Sunglasses. Owen earned $65,000 for his win, a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard, and an automatic berth into the 2018 BFL All-American Championship.
“The win is still sinking in – I can’t believe it,” said Owen, who earned his second career win in bass competition. “The James River is my home waters. I’ve waited years to qualify for a BFL Regional tournament on it.”
Owen said he fished a small area upriver near Richmond throughout the weekend. He sat his boat in 8-10 feet of water while he targeted rock jetties, wood, and docks.
“The fish were relating to anything that blocked the current. They were using rocks or docks as an ambush point,” said Owen. “With the steep banks and high water, they couldn’t spread out too far. They were confined to the main channel, which really suited my style of fishing.”
Owen said he primarily used a four-inch watermelon and blue-fleck-colored Zoom Dead Ringer worm on a six-foot Berkley Lightning Rod.
“I worked through the area slowly, which was key for me,” said Owen. “I prefer to pick apart an area rather than cover a ton of water. It really worked out well.”
The top six boaters who qualified for the 2018 BFL All-American, were:
1st: Richard Owen, Chester, Va., 15 bass, 40-11, $65,000.
2nd: James Wall, Greensboro, N.C., 15 bass, 40-7, $10,000.
3rd: Ralph Ray, Youngsville, N.C., 15 bass, 39-10, $5,000.
4th: Chris Panetta, West Simsbury, Conn., 14 bass, 39-7, $3,000.
5th: Chris Daves, Spring Grove, Va., 15 bass, 39-4, $2,200.
6th: Jackson Pleasant , Raleigh, N.C., 14 bass, 39-2, $1,900.
Rounding out the top-10 boaters were:
7th: Jason Wilson, Lincolnton, N.C., 15 bass, 38-11, $1,600.
8th: Craig Chambers, Charlotte, N.C., 15 bass, 38-8, $1,400.
9th: Tim Teague, Belmont, N.C., 15 bass, 37-4, $2,200.
10th: Robert Stinger, Williamsburg, Va., 15 bass, 36-0, $1,000.
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.