Georgia came for one reason-to take home the title-and they sure didn’t leave home without it. The Georgia state team brought in 128lb 9ounces today making their tournament total 424lb 15 ounces, solidifying their win as the Southern Division Champions, the loins share of the over 32,000.00 in cash and prizes and a year’s worth of bragging rights. The Georgia team was anchored by Al Horton, from Palmetto, Ga., who triumphed in the overall standings to earn the title of the 2010 Southern Division Champion in the individual standings as well. The Championship held in Eufaula, Alabama and presented by the Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce, also saw 14 TBF anglers earn spots in the 2011 Federation National Championship presented by the National Guard. One boater and co-angler from each state will advance to the national contest to compete for nearly a quarter of a million dollars in cash and prizes and the chance to “Live the Dream” fishing the FLW Pro Tour for a year with fully paid entry fees and use of a wrapped Chevrolet truck and Ranger boat and travel money. From the 2011 Championship, two TBF anglers from each of the seven divisions will win the chance to compete in the 2011 BFL All-American and the champion boater and co-angler
births in the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup. With all things said, it was more than an exciting day of fishing.
Champion, Al Horton, caught another five bass limit today of 15lb 8ounces, making his total tournament weight 54lb 14ounces. Horton formed a pattern involving a frog he stuck by for 10 days, seven pre-fishing and three tournament. “It went good; I caught fish early, I caught fish late. When I got tired of throwing the frog, I threw the frog and when I got tired of throwing the frog…. I threw the frog,” Horton said. He was also elected to be Georgia’s team captain and led proud. “It’s a great team to work with; we put it all together and did well. Thanks to our team and guys like Georgia President, Larry Lewis, and Jerry and Skip, these guys are always great.” Horton had an equally enthusiast cheering section. “I’m just thankful for all the support of my family and friends.” This week his wife Janice, son Ryan, daughter Rebecca, father-in-law and friends all gathered to root him on. “I couldn’t be happier; I mean today my wife of 35 years, Janice, just here cheering me on. It just means so much.” Horton’s also qualified for the Federation National Championship in 2004. “It’s a wonderful experience and as close to being with the pros as you can be; it’s a pleasure and honor to be there.”
The Georgia state team, host of the 2010 Southern Division Championship, showed us what consistency is all about, leading the way in the team standings all three days. Larry Lewis, Georgia President, had a lot to say about his state’s solid performance and teamwork this week. “This was the best ever, team wise, in the last four years. They’re good guys that worked hard; in the end, they all just about used the same thing fishing all week,” Lewis said. As president of the championship’s host state, Georgia, Lewis was foremost in sending out thanks to all the states. “To all the states that came, I hope they really enjoyed themselves.” Lewis also exercised some playful bragging rights as he did a little joking during the interview. “Tell them we’ll see ‘em next year at green river-we hear they have five fish up there-.” Lewis, who was needed to fish the last day of the event as the Georgia alternate, stepped up today and caught a whopping 16lb 7ounces to help his team, showing everyone the kind of teamwork and dedication the Georgia state team is made of.
Despite North Carolina’s mighty push, they came up a little short, proudly walking away in second with 150 total fish weighing 396lb 10ounces. They were definitely a crowd favorite, as they’re cheering section spurred excitement all through the weigh-in.
The collective team standings are as follows: Ga., 424lb 15ounces; N.C., 396lb 10ounces; S.C., 355lb 5ounces; Tenn., 346lb 7ounces; Ala., 346lb 6ounces; Ky., 328lb 13ounces; Fla., 308lb 5ounces.
In the overall standings, Herman Vining, from Gilbert, S.C., came up just ounces short, of Morton for the overall title, but he will be representing South Carolina as the boater at the 2011 Federation National Championship. Vining caught a limit of bass weighing 21lb 14ounces, making his tournament total 53lb 10ounces. Vining had a lot of praise to his team, as well as, to his sponsor, PJ Lures. “PJ Lures played a huge part, without that jig I wouldn’t have caught what I did,” Vining said. They gave me a brand new skirt color to try out but I only had 10 jigs.” Vining said he has caught more fish in less time using these jigs than anything else. “I ended up driving home last night to get my last one and I used it to catch a limit in 35 min today. Moral of the story-next time I order from PJ Lures, I’ll make sure to order more than enough.”
Next to finish on the South Carolina state team was Jay Keith, from Camden, S.C., the 2009 Federation National Champion who will be represented the TBF next year as the “Living the Dream” angler on the FLW Pro Tour. In lieu of his commitment to the tour, the South Carolina State team co-angler will be Darrell Shull, from West Columbia, S.C. Shull respectively steps up to represent his state team this year at the national event.
The 14 TBF Southern Division Champions are as follows (angler, co-angler): Ala., Robbie Robinson, Jason Hester; Fla., Jesse Woodring, J. Nobel Willits; Ga., Marvin (Al) Horton, Jeff Williams; Ky., Gregory Hoskinson, William Lowther; N.C., Jeff Hager, Brian Fritts; S.C., Herman Vining, Darrell Shull; Tenn., Charles L. Davis, David Presley.