Ranger Boats Pro Chris Macy earned a trip to compete in the 2021 Forrest Wood Cup by winning the BFL All-American on Lake Hartwell. The angler took home $100,000 for first place and added $20,000 in Ranger Cup bonus money.
The BFL All-American is the culmination of a season-long grind and featured a field of the top 55 boaters and 55 co-anglers from across the 24-division Bass Fishing League, TBF, Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI and High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing.
“It’s just unbelievable,” said Macy of the long season. “I fish in the Ozark division and the All-American constantly proves what kind of fishermen we have in the Ozarks. The path to even get to the All-American is pretty crazy. The competition is top notch.”
After an extensive practice on Hartwell, Macy anticipated the fish to be shallow up in drains and the backs of creeks, but failed to find any fish once competition started.
“I pulled up to the first drain that I had a lot of confidence and dropped the Live Scope down and those fish were gone,” said Macy. “That creek had been full of them.”
With heavy fog rolling in, Macy found himself stuck with no fish in his Ranger livewell. Once the fog lifted, the angler needed to pivot to get a day-one limit.
“The fog put me into scramble mode on day one,” said Macy. “My game plan is shot. I had planned on already having a limit and trying to upgrade by then. I jumped around and was lucky to find five fish and they were all pretty good ones.”
Macy boated a limit of 11 pounds, 6 ounces on day one and followed up on day two with a hard-fought 10 pounds, 3 ounces, which got him inside the top-10 cutline and the chance to fish the final day. He entered the final day 3 pounds behind day-two leader Todd Goade.
“The tournament for me was a grind,” said Macy. “I wasn’t getting a ton of bites. These fish were suspended above brush piles in about 20 to 30 feet of water. Going into day three I was optimistic, but didn’t have a single fish by 11:30. About 20 minutes later, I finally caught my first fish – a 3-pounder and that kind of got my day going.”
With the sun breaking out, the bite quickly turned to favor Macy’s swimbait. He moved to another brush pile and pulled three quality fish from a suspended school.
“I had been struggling all morning because the fish were following the bait but I couldn’t get any reaction out of them,” said Macy. “But I finally figured something out. If I could kill that swimbait and get it to fall, then pop it off the bottom, I could get a reaction bite. I got to the next brush pile and finished out my limit. I had about 11 ½ pounds in the boat.”
The angler fished his way back to the weigh-in, trying to upgrade a couple of fish.
“I stopped at a place about a quarter of a mile from the weigh-in,” said Macy. “I didn’t really have much time to go anywhere else so I put the trolling motor down on a spot I had marked in practice. I had a small one in my livewell that I needed to get rid of. I fired the swimbait out to a large school of fish. With seven or eight minutes left, I pulled in a 3-pounder and culled out the 1-6.
Macy started the day in 10th place, but his bag of 13 pounds, 1 ounce, was enough to overtake second-place finisher Goade. Macy took home the $100,000 first-place prize along with an additional $20,000 in Ranger Cup money. With the BFL All-American win, Macy qualified to fish the 2021 FLW Cup set for next year with the chance to win $200,000.