In true “Bass Warrior” fashion, Louis Fernandes did what he does best this week in Oklahoma at stop number five of the NPFL season. With his largest bag of the week on the final day at 15 pounds, he becomes an NPFL Champion earning $100,000 and the NPFL Sheild.
With his weights increasing each day, Fernandes started with 11 pounds, 9 ounces on day one, added 13-pounds on day two, and came from behind with his best day of the week on Showdown Saturday to slam the door shut with a three-day total of 39-pounds, 9-ounces.
Coming into the event, Will Harkins had one goal to give himself a shot at the Progressive AOY going into his home Lake Lanier. With a three-day total of 39 pounds, 9 ounces, finished the event in second place moving him up in the AOY standings and going back to Georgia to end the season.
Harkins started the event with 13 pounds, 15 ounces on day one, added 12 pounds on day two, and caught another 13-pound, 10-ounce bag on the final day to move into second, tied with winner Louis Fernandes, but lost the tiebreaker.
“Fishing offshore like that is my favorite way to fish,” said Harkins. “At the final weigh-in, I knew it was going to be close, but not that close”
Harkins started on docks each of the first two mornings before going to his offshore area but opted against it for day three. He made a right turn and ended up in a pocket with schooling fish which got his day started quickly and took some pressure off.
“I was culling early in there but they were 2-pounders and I left them to look for bigger fish,” he added. “I ran some brush, and I got away from the normal stuff and fished off the beaten path a little bit. I caught that big one and culled twice more.”
Despite fishing offshore and around brush, most of the bigger bass were not in the brush, but cruising around, and he was able to target them with a drop shot and a jig to get some key bites.
“I was casting the jig around blind and catching them and used the drop shot when I could see one.”
Patrick Walters added 12 pounds, 12 ounces on the final day at Eufaula to finish the event in the third-place spot with a three-day total of 36 pounds, 9 ounces. Walters started on day one with 11 pounds, 13 ounces, and added 12 pounds on day two to slide into the top ten going into the final day.
Despite his weight dropping each day, Marc Schilling finished the event in fourth place spot with a total weight of 36 pounds, 8 ounces. Schilling caught 13 pounds on day one, 12 pounds, 13 ounces, and added another five-bass limit on day three weighing 10 pounds, 11 ounces.
Brandon Perkins began the event in sixth place overall in the AOY race and helped his cause yet again this week in Oklahoma where he has a decent track record. He started the event on day one with 15 pounds, 14 ounces, added 9 pounds and, 11 ounces on day two, and another limit of bass today weighing 10 pounds, 10 ounces. He finished the event in fifth place with a total weight of 36 pounds, 3 ounces.
At the end of the day, Brandon Perkins is happy with a top-five finish at a tough event fishing how he wanted to fish, but looking back, the opportunity to steal another win was there.
“First off, I had some quality brush pile this week I was saving and I never fished them,” said Perkins. “And this morning, I had pick of my starting spot and I opted to start where I had been all week. In the back of my mind, I knew I should go to the back where my biggest fish of day one came, and I broke one off yesterday too. I never went.”
Fishing is all about decisions, and it’s hard to argue with yourself after the season he has had, winning an event and sitting securely within the championship cut line in AOY. Despite missed opportunities, he made a decision and will live with it.
“I felt like this afternoon I was going to catch some bigger fish and it just didn’t happen. I fished for a check and that’s what I got. The win was right there today, but I did not know that until after. It is what it is; I enjoyed fishing docks and it was a good week,” he added.
Rest of the best:
Jason Wilson 35-0
Stephanie Hemphill –Pellerin 33-10
Jesse Wise 33-4
John Cox 32-10
Todd Goade 32-7