Alabama’s Weidler wins Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division finale on Lake Chickamauga
Published By OutdoorsFIRST Media Published May 8, 2017
Alabama angler William Weidler of Bessemer, brought a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 3 ounces to the scale Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division finale on Lake Chickamauga presented by Lowrance. Weidler's two-day total of 10 bass weighing 45 pounds, 2 ounces, was enough to earn him the win by a 1-pound, 7-ounce margin and a check for $48,200.
Normally a three-day event, the tournament was shortened to two days of competition after Thursday, Day One, was canceled due to strong winds and dangerous conditions. The tournament resumed Friday and Saturday with the full field fishing each day. The pro and co-angler winners were determined by the cumulative weight of two days of competition instead of three.
"I think I'm still in shock," said Weidler, who was fishing in just his third career Costa FLW Series event. "I wasn't even entered in this tournament and I just decided to get in on Tuesday, this week. To come up here and get the win... I am blown away."
Weidler said that he made the decision to enter the tournament after a strong 6th place finish in the B.A.S.S. Open event just one week prior.
"After my finish last week, I figured I might just have a chance. I'm a shallow-water fisherman - I caught all of my fish this week swimming a jig in 18 inches of water or less," Weidler said. "I caught around 35 keepers on Friday and around 30 today. I was fishing transition areas, spawning bays and bluegill beds."
Weidler said that his most productive area this week was just five minutes from the launch ramp - near the lower end of the island at the mouth of the Hiwassee River. He said that every fish that he caught came on the jig, a black and blue-colored ½-ounce Dirty Jigs No-Jack Swim Jig with an H&H Lures Swamp Frog.
"The frog comes black with white feet, but I dye the feet blue to match the black and blue of the swimjig," Weidler said.
"The key for me this week was just having patience," Weidler went on to say. "Around 1 (p.m.) today I didn't have much weight in the livewell and I started hearing the little voices in my head. But the sun came out and it warmed up, and then some clouds moved in and it got a little overcast. I just knew that they were going to start biting, and they did. I was fishing a bluegill bed and I ended up culling everything in my livewell. It was a magical spot."
The top 10 pros on Lake Chickamauga were:
1st: William Weidler, Bessemer, Ala., 10 bass, 45-2, $48,200
2nd: Barry Wilson, Birmingham, Ala., 10 bass, 43-11, $19,500
3rd: Brian Merriman, Falkville, Ala., 10 bass, 43-4, $14,000
4th: Taylor Ashley, Warrior, Ala., 10 bass, 42-12, $12,200