Bradford Beavers of Ridgeville, S.C. was the only angler in the Costa FLW Series Championship on Kentucky Lake to catch a 5-fish limit on day three of the tournament, and that pushed his total weight for the event to 45 pounds, 12 ounces, which earned him his biggest win of his young career.
On his way to wining the $50,000 top prize, Beavers was the only angler to weigh in more than 11 fish during the tournament, taking the top spot by a wide margin, winning by more than 8 pounds over second place finisher Todd Hollowell of Fishers, Ind.
Beavers, who fished his first FLW Cup this year at Lake Murray, will again be a part of the FLW Cup field in 2018.
Beavers didn’t take this tournament lightly. He put in 35 hours of practice on the lake, which is known for its shallow bar fishing in the fall. Narrowing down the reservoir to three areas, Beavers said he caught most of his fish in less than two feet of water. This shallow water posed a challenge when using his trolling motor, and he said it wasn’t uncommon to spook some fish no matter how stealthy he tried to be.
On the first two-and-a-half days of the event, Beavers caught his fish on a bone and chrome-colored Heddon Zara Spook, switching to a pearl white Zoom Magnum Fluke halfway through the last day.
Patience was key for Beavers, he said.
“I covered my best spot yesterday and spent six hours to go 300 yards to get 15 bites,” he said.
“I’m speechless. I never thought I’d win one of these. I won a BFL this year and I thought that was unbelievable. I’ve been in the top 10 in four of these, and my fish have always fallen off on the last day. It’s just unbelievable,” he said.
Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C. took seventh place, making him a double-qualifier for the 2018 FLW Cup. And while Beavers’ 15-fish total was notable as the only full three-day limit, Thrift’s top ten finish with only seven total fish is just as notable for the opposite reason. He was the only angler in the final top 10 with so few keepers.
After holding a commanding lead with a 5-fish limit at the end of day one, Thrift struggled to find keepers for the rest of the event, but the quality of his seven fish kept him securely in the top ten. He won $7000.