FLIPPIN, ARK (June 7, 2017) Ranger Boats Pro Marshall Deakins earned a trip to compete in the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup by winning the BFL All-American on Pickwick Lake, June 3. The angler took home $105,000 for first place and added $20,000 in Ranger Cup bonus money. Deakins fished the tournament out of his 2009 Ranger Z520C, trusting in Ranger’s legendary reputation for reliability, smooth ride and unmatched fishability.
“That is the best-riding Ranger I have ever sat in,” said Deakins. “It’s a great boat. I have fished in a bunch of other boats where your co-angler moves around and it about throws you out. Rangers don’t do that and the wind doesn’t affect it like other boats. I have a new Ranger ordered and can hardly wait for it.”
Deakins began the Pickwick event with a bang by bringing in the biggest bag of the tournament on day one – 24 pounds, 6 ounces. The angler kept above the 20-pound mark on day two with 20 pounds, 11 ounces.
The angler’s success on the first two days came from two primary spots – a ledge near the Natchez Trace Bridge and a shell bar on a ledge up the river from Koger’s Island. Deakins relied on a Profound Outdoors Swampers Lures Football Jig in October Pumpkin with a Zoom Double-Tail Grub.
“I think I had the right bait,” said Deakins. “I fished with a guy who lives down there before the cutoff and he showed me around. I tried to use the baits he was using but I couldn’t get anything going. I kept going back to that jig and got bites every time. It just seemed to work.”
Deakins headed into the final day with a 10-pound lead. Even with such a big lead, the last day of competition wasn’t without worry and anxiety for the longtime Ranger pro.
“I thought someone would bust a big bag,” said Deakins. “Jeff Knight and I room together and I thought he had a chance to catch me. He had lost two big ones every day.”
Day three started slow for Deakins when his jig failed to produce quality fish.
“The last day they didn’t pull any current, at least nothing like the first two days,” said Deakins. “They didn’t bite the jig well. I caught one good one then my co-angler put a worm on a Carolina rig and he caught them. He caught some big ones, one nine-pounder and a five-pounder. I had two fish when he had a limit with those two huge ones.”
Struggling alongside another angler who is hot can spin some anglers out of their mental game, but Deakins leaned on his extensive experience and made the switch to a dropshot.
“When I picked up that dropshot with the Roboworm, that’s what really sealed it for me,” Deakins said. “I ran back to my first place and picked up a dropshot and caught three that finished my limit. I caught one more on a dropshot and culled. But, I never got another bite the rest of the day.”
The angler weighed 15 pounds, 5 ounces, for a three-day total of 60 pounds, 6 ounces. Although Deakins has won other BFL tournaments, this is his biggest victory to date.
“I can’t describe it,” said Deakins. “After second-place Brent Anderson weighed, I knew I had it but had to hear them say it.”
The win qualifies Deakins for the 2017 FLW Forrest Wood Cup set for Aug. 11-13 on Lake Murray.
About Ranger Boats
Headquartered in Flippin, Ark., Ranger Boats is the nation’s premier manufacturer of legendary fiberglass and aluminum fishing boats, with acclaimed models and series in the bass, multi-species, fish ‘n play, saltwater, waterfowl utility and pontoon boat segments. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water. For more information, go to RangerBoats.com, RangerAluminum.com or RangerPontoons.com.