Veteran Angler Lowen Earns First Bassmaster Elite Series Victory At Pickwick

FLORENCE, Ala., March 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Bill Lowen turned in an impressively consistent performance at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite…

FLORENCE, Ala., March 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Bill Lowen turned in an impressively consistent performance at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Pickwick Lake, but he’ll never forget the 8-pound, 5-ounce largemouth that buoyed his Championship Tuesday performance and delivered a winning total of 83-5.

The only competitor to break 20 pounds three of the four days, Lowen placed third on Day 1 with 21-3 and improved to second a day later by adding 23-13. He earned his final-round berth on Day 3 with a limit of 17-10 that put him in a first-place tie with Chad Pipkens.

On Tuesday, Lowen surged across the finish line with a limit of 20-11. Edging second-place Brock Mosley by 2-10, Lowen claimed his first Elite win and earned $102,000, which includes the daily and overall Phoenix Boats Big Bass awards.

Lowen’s game-changing kicker bit around 10:30 a.m., when he skipped his black and blue Signature Series 3/8-ounce Lure Parts Online jig with a chunk trailer under a dock near Kogers Island. He initially snagged a piece of submerged cover, but then his line tightened.

«I had to pitch way up in there so the bait could get down in the current and sweep it through,» Lowen said. «I felt my jig get into a limb or a piece of brush, and as I hopped the jig over I felt the bite.

«I hesitated because I wanted to be sure, but when I got big pressure, I set the hook and it was game on.»

Lowen described that emotional catch: «There were so many feelings going through my head. You could hear me screaming and hollering and that’s not me. But that’s 14 years of excitement built up for this day. It all came out.»

The Tennessee Valley Authority steadily worked the volume through the system. But with Wilson Dam dumping approximately 180,000 cubic feet per second into Pickwick, the rising water and intense current dramatically changed Lowen’s game plan.

«My main goal was to start the tournament out on the grass flat by Koger Island. When all this rain and current came through I (was concerned) because I didn’t have anything else.

«The first morning of the event I ran down there and saw what was going on, and I said, ‘These fish have to slide to the sides — whether it’s on the island where I was fishing or the docks on the other side.’ Fortunately, when I pulled up and started flipping trees I got a bite, which keyed me in.»

That pattern worked for three days, but in the final round, falling water had drained much of Lowen’s prime habitat.

«Today, my main area (shallow cover on the outskirts of Kogers) was a foot and a half low,» he said. «A lot of the wood I was catching fish on was dry, so I started running some deeper stuff. I switched from the 3/8-ounce jig to a 1/2 and caught a couple key fish.»

Earlier in the tournament, Lowen used the 3/8-ounce jig so he could float it through the shallow, current-swept cover without getting hung up. He also used a Strike King Rodent Texas-rigged on a 5/0 Hayabusa flipping hook with a 5/16-ounce Reins tungsten weight for flipping reeds.

«Anytime I’m fishing current and I can keep a flipping rod in my hand, that’s my comfort zone,» Lowen said. «I grew up on the Ohio River, which looks just like (Pickwick) when it’s flooded. I’m used to rising, muddy water; it doesn’t affect me or make me get spun out. I just went out and fished the way I’d fish at home.»

Brock Mosley of Collinsville, Miss., finished second with 80-11. Entering the final day in sixth place, Mosley caught the day’s heaviest limit — 22-14. His previous weights were 19-9, 21-8 and 16-12.

Having cut his teeth on Pickwick, Mosley said he knew the famous Horseshoe area of the Wilson Dam tailrace held tremendous potential, but he waited until the final day to fish this area.

«I’ve been waiting all week for the current to slow down,» Mosley said. «I don’t like fishing the tailrace when it’s 120,000 CFS. I saw that it was going to slow down yesterday, but you usually give them a half day to reposition.

«I went up there this morning and threw a 3/4-ounce spinnerbait with tandem willow-leaf blades. In the first 10 minutes, I hooked up with two good ones.»

After leaving the tailrace, Mosley fished a big paddletail swimbait on the bluffs across from McFarland Park. He would rotate his areas once more and pick up a 5-pound fish 15 minutes before check-in.

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Canada, entered Championship Tuesday in third place and ended in that position with 79 pounds. His daily weights were 18-9, 15-3, 25-5 and 19-15.

After focusing on main-river current breaks the previous days, Johnston realized his opportunities were dwindling in the falling water. Transitioning to docks with 8 to 10 feet of water at the ends proved to be strategic adjustment.

Johnston caught his fish on a 7/16-ounce black/blue Punisher jig with a matching chunk trailer.

Patrick Walters of Summerville, S.C., leads the Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings with 264 points. Seth Feider of New Market, Minn., is in second with 246, followed by Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, with 245, Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., with 242 and Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., with 239.

New leads the Rookie of the Year standings with 239 points.

Lowen took home $3,000 for being the highest-placing entrant in the Toyota Bonus Bucks program, and Hank Cherry of Lincolnton, N.C., earned $2,000 for being the second-highest placing entrant.

As part of the Yamaha Power Pay program, Lowen earned $2,500 for being the highest-placing entrant while Palaniuk claimed an additional $1,500 for being the second-highest placing entrant.

The tournament was hosted by Florence-Lauderdale Tourism.

Finish

Name

Hometown

Total lbs-oz

Earnings

1

Bill Lowen

Brookville, IN

83-05

$102,000

2

Brock Mosley

Collinsville, MS

80-11

$35,000

3

Cory Johnston

Cavan, Ontario, CANADA

79-0

$31,000

4

Steve Kennedy

Auburn, AL

77-04

$25,000

5

Hank Cherry Jr

Lincolnton, NC

73-11

$21,000

6

Tyler Rivet

Raceland, LA

73-09

$19,000

7

Brandon Palaniuk

Rathdrum, ID

73-03

$18,000

8

Bryan Schmitt 

Deale, MD

72-01

$17,000

9

Chad Pipkens

Dewitt, MI

68-14

$16,000

10

Buddy Gross

Chickamauga, GA

64-11

$15,000

11

Koby Kreiger            

Alva, FL

56-05

$10,000

12

Patrick Walters

Summerville, SC

56-00

$10,000

13

Kyle Welcher

Opelika, AL

54-07

$10,000

14

Brandon Lester            

Fayetteville, TN

54-03

$10,000

15

Caleb Sumrall

New Iberia, LA

53-09

$10,000

16

Wes Logan          

Springville, AL

52-14

$10,000

17

Ray Hanselman Jr            

Del Rio, Texas

52-08

$10,000

18

David Mullins        

Mt Carmel, TN

52-03

$10,000

19

Bryan New            

Belmont, NC

51-10

$10,000

20

Greg DiPalma

Millville, NJ

50-13

$10,000

21

Scott Martin

Clewiston, FL

50-08

$10,000

22

Matt Herren

Ashville, AL

50-06

$10,000

23

Joshua Stracner

Vandiver, AL

50-05

$10,000

24

Chris Johnston            

Otonabee, Ontario CANADA

50-03

$10,000

25

Seth Feider        

New Market, MN

49-12

$10,000

26

Brad Whatley          

Bivins, TX

49-07

$10,000

27

Marc Frazier        

Newnan, GA

48-07

$10,000

28

Lee Livesay

Longview, TX

48-06

$10,000

29

Drew Cook        

Cairo, GA

47-15

$10,000

30

Brandon Card

Salisbury, NC

47-03

$10,000

31

Chris Zaldain

Fort Worth, TX

46-11

$10,000

32

Jason Christie

Park Hill, OK

46-02

$10,000

33

Shane LeHew              

Catawba, NC

45-15

$10,000

34

John Crews Jr          

Salem, VA

45-09

$10,000

35

Hunter Shryock

Ooltewah, TN

44-09

$10,000

36

Skylar Hamilton

Dandridge, TN

43-01

$10,000

37

Frank Talley        

Temple, TX

43-01

$10,000

38

Cliff Prince

Palatka, FL

43-01

$10,000

39

Pat Schlapper

Eleva, WI

42-14

$10,000

40

Stetson Blaylock          

Benton, AR

42-00

$10,000

41

Kyle Monti

Okeechobee, FL

41-11

$10,000

42

Todd Auten              

Lake Wylie, SC

41-10

$10,000

43

Luke Palmer

Coalgate, OK

41-03

$10,000

44

Ed Loughran III        

Richmond, VA

40-14

$10,000

45

Clifford Pirch

Payson, AZ

40-04

$10,000

46

Randy Sullivan

Breckenridge, TX

39-05

$10,000

47

Drew Benton            

Blakely, GA

39-03

$10,000

48

Robbie Latuso       

Gonzales, LA

38-12

$10,000

49

KJ Queen            

Catawba, NC

26-05

$10,000

50

Paul Mueller      

Naugatuck, CT

25-04

$10,000

2021 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2021 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha

2021 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Bass Pro Shops, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Marathon, Rapala

2021 Bassmaster Elite Series Conservation Partner: AFTCO

 

Media Contact: Emily Harley, B.A.S.S. Communications Manager, 205-313-0945, eharley@bassmaster.com

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SOURCE B.A.S.S.