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FLW heads to Lake Hamilton for Arkie Division season finale

The 2018 T-H Marine Fishing League Worldwide Bass Fishing League season will conclude Sept. 22-23 for Arkie Division anglers with a two-day tournament on lake Hamilton.

Up to 400 boaters and co-anglers will compete for top awards of up to $11,000 and $4,500, respectively, in the two-day tournament presented by Geared.

Takeoff each day will take place at 7 a.m. both days at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Hulsey Hatchery Access at 350 Fish Hatchery Road. Saturday's weigh-in will be held at Hulsey at 3 p.m., while Sunday's final weigh-in wil be held at Geared, located at 501 Airport Road, and will begin at 4 p.m.

The 2018 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season and five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they 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 BFL All-American.

The 2019 BFL All-American will be held May 30 through June 1 on the Potomac River in Marbury, Md. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.

Lake Hamilton is expected to host a weekend of bass fishing for Arkie Division competitors in the 2018 season finale. While multiple species of bass inhabit Lake Hamilton, largemouth will likely be favored.

According to the AGFC and Greeson's Marine, bass are starting to bite moving baits. Texas-rigged worms, soft-plastics on drop-shot rigs and spoons are still the go-to, but shad-colored swimbaits, crankbaits and flat-sided crankbaits are seeing action as well.

Anglers will likely be seen targeting bass on points, especially with rock outcroppings and gravel bottoms. Topwater baits could also be a factor.

When the BFL visited for a tournament in September 2017, winner Spencer Shuffield used a buzzbait to catch fish up shallow in less than two feet of water. In 2015, Quincy Houchin worked a frog mid-lake in the grass to secure his title.

A two-day cumulative catch of 10 bass weighing 22 pounds will likely be enough to win this year's Arkie Division Super Tournament.

Sports on 09/13/2018

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