Pro angler Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C., brought the largest stringer to the scale on Sunday – for the third time in four days of competition – to win the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Hartwell presented by Ranger Boats. Ashley weighed in a five-bass limit worth 15 pounds, 10 ounces to win the $100,000 prize after leading wire-to-wire in the four-day event that showcased 176 of the best bass-fishing professionals in the world.
Ashley’s four-day total of 20 bass weighing 68 pounds, 5 ounces gave him an impressive 14-pound, 8-ounce margin of victory over second-place finisher Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., whose four-day total of 20 bass weighed 53 pounds, 13 ounces and earned him $30,000.
“This week has been magical,” said Ashley, who earned the first Walmart FLW Tour victory of his career. “I’m not taking away from any major tournament that I’ve won, but it really means a lot to win at home. When you win at home, everybody you know is here. A lot of times my family gets to travel to my closer tournaments, but at home everybody gets to be there. A lot of them were out on the water watching me. I think the whole town of Donalds is here. It’s just an awesome feeling.”
Ashley said that he concentrated his efforts this week fishing the lower end of Lake Hartwell in the clear water. He targeted deep brush piles from 25 to 40 feet deep.
“A lot of the stuff that I was fishing was natural brush,” Ashley said. “I knew that would hold up well despite the screwy weather going into this tournament and I felt like that would be the only way that you can win. Every move that I made this week was the right one.”
Ashley said that he caught all of his fish this week throwing a green pumpkin-colored ½-ounce Shooter Lures hand-tied jig trailered with a Zoom Super Chunk Jr. and a shaky-head rig with a watermelon candy- or gourd green-colored Zoom Finesse Worm.
“I caught around 10 fish today,” Ashley continued. “I didn’t catch many because I was running some new stuff trying to catch big fish. I ended up catching my 4-pounder where I’d been fishing all week. When I got the big one, I knew it was game over.”
The top 10 pros finished the tournament in:
1st: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., 20 bass, 68-5
2nd: Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 20 bass, 53-13
3rd: Clent Davis, Montevallo, Ala., 19 bass, 50-9
4th: Repel pro Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., 19 bass, 49-14
5th: John Cox, Debary, Fla., 16 bass, 48-14
6th: Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., 18 bass, 46-14
7th: Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 18 bass, 43-15
8th: George Foreman pro Dan Morehead, Paducah, Ky., 13 bass, 43-14
9th: Ryan Davidson, Huntington, W. Va., 16 bass, 41-4
10th: Charlie Ingram, Centerville, Tenn., 16 bass, 40-2
A complete list of results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 41 bass weighing 98 pounds, 15 ounces caught by pros Sunday. Five of the final 10 pros caught five-bass limits.
David Redington of Sulphur Springs, Texas, won the co-angler division and $25,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 10 bass weighing 31 pounds, 8 ounces, followed by Todd Lee of Jasper, Ala., in second place with 13 bass weighing 30 pounds, 15 ounces worth $7,500.
Pros competed for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17 on Lake Murray and is hosted by Capital City Lake Murray Country. Anglers could win as much as $500,000 – professional bass-fishing’s richest prize.
The FLW Tour stop on Lake Hartwell presented by Ranger Boats was hosted by the Mountain Lakes Convention and Visitors Bureau. It was the second of six events in the Walmart FLW Tour’s 2014 season. The next Walmart FLW Tour event will be held at Sam Rayburn Reservoir March 27-30 in Lufkin, Texas, and is presented by Chevy. The event will be hosted by the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau, and boats will launch from Cassels-Boykin County Park in Zavalla. For a complete schedule, visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Coverage of the Lake Hartwell tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs May 24 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.