FLORENCE, Ala. — J.R. Henard of Rogersville won the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional on Pickwick Lake over the weekend with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 47 pounds, 3 ounces.
For his victory, Henard won a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard plus a Chevy 1500 Silverado and entry into the BFL All-American presented by Chevy.
This regional tournament featured the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers from each of the Bulldog, LBL, North Carolina and Volunteer divisions.
“It feels so good to finally get my first tournament win,” said Henard. “It means everything to me to get to fish the All-American. I got to compete in that event in a few years ago, and once you get there it makes you fish that much harder to get back to it. To win that tournament is a life-changing moment.”
Henard qualified for the All-American by fishing the famed Pickwick ledges throwing a Mann’s original Alabama Rig.
“The Alabama Rig was the key for me in this tournament,” Henard said. “Every fish that I weighed in came on that rig. I have a lot of family in the area, and I got in a lot of practice time. I practiced more for this event than any other tournament in my life. I was only catching big fish when I threw the A-rig, and I knew that I was going to have to throw it in order to win it.
“I was fishing from Wilson Dam down to Waterloo,” Henard continued. “I would start each day fishing the deep ledges in the lake, then in the afternoons I would move to the river and fish the river ledges and find the current.
Although all of Henard’s fish came on the rig, he did use different-sized weights and swimbaits to target different depths each day.
“The bite was very good every day,” Henard went on to say. “I was catching 20 to 25 fish every day. I lost a 6-pounder on day one that really messed with my head, but I decided that I was on the right pattern and told myself to just keep fishing. On the final day, I caught two 5-pounders on one of my first casts. I knew then that I was going to have a great day.”
The top six boaters that qualified for the BFL All-American:
1. J.R. Henard, Rogersville, Tenn., 15 bass, 47-3, Ranger Z518 with 200-horsepower outboard + Chevy 1500 Silverado
2. Lloyd Pickett Jr., Bartlett, Tenn., 15 bass, 42-13, $1,500
3. David Williams, Maiden, N.C., 15 bass, 42-7, $1,100
4. Daniel Langston, Haubstadt, Ind., 13 bass, 42-5, $1,000
5. 5th: David Wright, Lexington, N.C., 14 bass, 40-1, $900
6. Joey Henderson, Mayfield, Ky., 13 bass, 39-8, $800
Rounding out the top 10 pros:
7. Bobby Padgett, LaGrange, Ga., 15 bass, 37-7, $700
8. Jeff Knight, Cleveland, Tenn., 14 bass, 37-4, $650
9. Tim Saylor, Johnson City, Tenn., 12 bass, 34-12, $600
10. Richard Bradford, Hoffman, N.C., 15 bass, 34-9, $550