CALVERT CITY – Benton’s Craig Hipsher added a little padding to his lead in the LBL Division of the Walmart Bass Fishing League with a victory Saturday on Kentucky and Barkley lakes.
Hipsher weighed five bass at 22 pounds, 13 ounces to edge another local angler, Terry Bolton of Paducah, who boated 22-9.
Hipsher said he made a spur-of-the-moment adjustment in his plans at the start of the tourney.
“I practiced a lot for this event and my plan was to run brush piles with a jig and a worm,” Hipsher said. “But it was cloudy and the wind was blowing and I thought the fish could be up on the shallow flats.”
The hunch paid off.
“Some days things just go right and when that happens you are meant to win,” Hipsher said.
The victory earned him $3,756, and increased his lead in division standings over David Hames of Trezevant, Tennessee from 12 points to 60 points, 980 to 920.
Hames caught only two bass Saturday weighing 5-9 and finished 49th among the 73 competitors who were able to come up with at least one fish.
David Young of Mayfield was third, and Jackson Purchase anglers grabbed four of the top five spots as Billy Schroeder of Paducah was fifth behind Edward Gettys of Columbia, Tennessee.
Two more Benton fishermen, Gary Ellenberger and Gerald Andrews, were 14th and 21st, respectively.
Ray Barga of Benton was 31st; Terrence Medley of Calvert City was 62nd; and Kelly Noonan of Gilbertsville was 66th.
In co-angler competition Saturday, Darrell Carroll of Independence was the winner with a catch of 19-14.
Saturday’s tournament was the fourth of five that make up the LBL Division schedule.
Hipsher finished fourth in the first tournament March 1 out of Kentucky Dam Marina; 15th on April 12 in Round 2 out of Moors Resort; and fourth again May 17 in Round 3 out of Kenlake.
The final competition for the LBL Division will be Sept. 20-21 with Moors again serving as the host site.
The top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 9-11 regional championship on Lake Cherokee in Morristown, Tenn.
Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and a Chevy Silverado, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 120 tournaments throughout the season, five in each division.
The top 40 boaters and co-anglers from each division qualify for a regional tournament and compete to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy
Hipsher, who guides on Kentucky Lake and says he fishes “about 300 days per year,” says his goal is winning the LBL Division Angler of the Year title.