Fort Mill Times

Angler finds winning fishing pattern on ‘challenging’ Lake Wylie

Staff reports

Tom Rubbo of Lexington, S.C., won the FLW Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division Super Tournament on Lake Wylie.
Tom Rubbo of Lexington, S.C., won the FLW Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division Super Tournament on Lake Wylie. Fishing League Worldwide

Tom Rubbo of Lexington weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 6 ounces, Sept. 25 to win the FLW Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division Super Tournament on Lake Wylie, with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 24 pounds, 14 ounces. Rubbo pocketed $4,531 for his win.

“The lake was challenging, but I was able to get on a shallow-water pattern,” said Rubbo, who logged his first win in FLW competition. “There was a lot of baitfish in the creeks, so I targeted them.”

Rubbo said he fished the lower end of the lake and rotated between six creeks.

“I caught one keeper on a small Luck-E-Strike Rick Clunn Crankbait on Day One,” Rubbo said. “I fished toward the backs of the creeks and ended up catching around 10 keepers with a few different lures.

“On Sunday, I rotated between three of the creeks,” he said. “I caught a limit and culled three or four bass by 10:30 a.m. After that, I realized the fish in my school were all similar-sized, so I spent the remainder of the day looking for a bigger catch.”

Rubbo said he used the Lucky-E-Strike crankbait the entire day Sunday and was able to put eight keepers in the boat.

“I really fished clean – I only lost one bass all weekend,” Rubbo said. “I was able to keep the trolling motor down and maximize my fishing time.”

Locally, two anglers finished in the top 10. Bryan New of Belmont came in third place with a total of 18 pounds, 8 ounce for $1,611. Parks Jones Jr. of Lake Wylie finished in seat six with six bass weight of 13 pounds, six ounces for $813.

Joey Sabbagha of Prosperity caught a bass weighing 5 pounds – the biggest of the tournament in the pro division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $517.

In the co-angler division, Calvin Sharp of Round O won $2,200 with a two-day cumulative catch of six bass weighing 11 pounds, 13 ounces.

Khris Williams of Mount Holly, N.C., came in second for $1,300 with five bass weighing 9 pounds, 12 ounces. Donald Black of Fort Mill finished fourth with four bass weighing 8 pounds, 4 ounces for $513.

Travis Ruff of Connelly Springs, N.C., caught the biggest bass in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 4 pounds, 1 ounce, and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $251.

The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings qualify for the Oct. 13-15 Regional Championship on Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Ga. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $20,000, 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 50 boaters and co-anglers from each division qualify for a regional tournament and are competing 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. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.

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Boater results

1. Tom Rubbo, Lexington, 10 bass, 24-14, $4,531

2 Jason Wilson, Lincolnton, N.C., eight bass, 19-8, $2,465

3. Bryan New, Belmont, N.C., eight bass, 18-8, $1,611

4. Willie McMullen, Oxford, Ga., eight bass, 16-8, $1,057

5. Maurice Freeze, Concord, N.C., seven bass, 15-14, $1,206

6. Parks Jones Jr., Lake Wylie, six bass, 13-6, $831

7. Joey Sabbagha, Prosperity, five bass, 13-4, $1,272

8. Ronnie McCoy, Lamar, seven bass, 12-12, $680

9. Johnathan Crossland, Chapin, six bass, 12-10, $604

10. Winston Husband, Gilbert, six bass, 11-12, $529

Co-angler results

1. Calvin Sharp, Round O, six bass, 11-13, $2,200

2. Khris Williams, Mount Holly, N.C., five bass, 9-12, $1,300

3. David Hutcherson, Campobello, four bass, 9-6, $734

4. Donald Black, Fort Mill, four bass, 8-4, $513

5. Lee Inman, Inman, four bass, 7-13, $490

6. Rodney Tapp, North Augusta, three bass, 6-8, $403

7. Travis Ruff, Connelly Springs, N.C., two bass, 5-7, $618

8. Adam Fincher, Roebuck, two bass, 5-7, $330

9. Randy Brown, Lugoff, two bass, 4-11, $293

10. Mark Wingate, Gaston, three bass, 4-1, $257