By MLF Communications Staff
SENECA, S.C. – The 40th edition of the BFL All-American will take place this week at Lake Hartwell. Competition days are Wednesday through Friday with the tournament launching from the new Seneca Creek Boat Ramp.
The tournament will showcase some of the nation’s best grassroots anglers and awards the winning boater a top prize of up to $120,000 and an automatic qualification into REDCREST 2024. In addition to the automatic REDCREST qualification, the highest-finishing boaters and co-anglers from each of the seven regionals at the All-American advance to the 2023 Toyota Series Championship.
The All-American was previously held on Lake Hartwell in 2020, but that event launched out of Anderson. The All-American often serves as a steppingstone for anglers who wish to advance to the Toyota Series, MLF Invitationals and ultimately the Bass Pro Tour. Former All-American champions who currently compete on the Bass Pro Tour and/or the Invitationals include Shaw Grigsby (1984), Stephen Browning (1996), Jacob Wheeler (2011), Jeremy Lawyer (2016), Nick LeBrun (2018) and Connor Cunningham (2022).
“This is going to be a fun event and we’re going to see a lot of fish caught from Lake Hartwell next week,” said Bass Pro Tour angler Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C. “They’ll be catching fish a lot of different ways, too. Out deep with a dropshot rig, up shallow targeting bream beds with a topwater, and the docks will play too. It’s going to be interesting to see what patterns are strongest in this one.
“A lot of it will depend on the weather,” Ashley continued. “I think it’ll likely take a mixed bag every day – largemouth and spots. Something like working the brushpiles early, then throwing a shallow topwater during the afternoon. Or opposite – starting shallow early and then moving deep. Playing the weather is going to be the key.”
Ashley said that if he were fishing the event, he’d make sure that he had a Lucky Craft Sammy, a Zoom Super Fluke and a shaky-head rig tied on.
“I think if a guy can catch 16 or 17 pounds a day they’ll be right there at the end,” Ashley went on to say. “The three-day winner is going to have right around 50 to 52 pounds, I predict.”
Anglers will launch each day at 6:30 a.m. CT from the Seneca Creek Boat Ramp, located at 280 Seneca Creek Road. Weigh-in each day will be held at the boat ramp and will begin at 2:30 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all launch and weigh-in events and encouraged to follow the event’s online coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The full field of 49 boaters and 49 co-anglers will compete on Days 1 (Wednesday) and 2 (Thursday) of the event. After two days of competition, the field is cut to just the Top 10 boaters and co-anglers, based on two-day total cumulative weight, and the final 10 anglers compete on Friday. The boater and co-angler who catch the heaviest three-day total weight will be crowned the 40th BFL All-American champions.
The 2022 BFLs were a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, 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, advanced to one of six Regional Championships, where they competed to finish in the Top 6, which then advanced them to compete in the All-American.