Categories
MLF BIG-5

Smith Wins Toyota Series Event on Lake Dardanelle Presented by Fenwick

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (May 10, 2021) – Toyota Series angler Kirk Smith of Edmond, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 15 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series presented by A.R.E. at Lake Dardanelle Presented by Fenwick in Russellville, Arkansas. Mundy’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 51-3 earned him the win by a 6-pound margin over second-place angler Zach King of Clarksville, Arkansas, and earned Smith the top payout of $36,104 in the third and final tournament of the 2021 Toyota Series Plains Division.

Smith said he considers himself an offshore and electronics geek, a combo that helped him blow it out on Lake Dardanelle. While the majority of the field’s success seemed to go up and down throughout the event, Smith had a pattern like no one else that allowed him to lay off early the first two days and still be leading by an ounce.

Saturday, he finally got to show off what that pattern could do, bringing in 19 pounds, 15 ounces – the second-largest bag of the event – to blow away the field by 6 pounds with a 51-3 total.

“I never knew what I had (with my pattern), because I was letting up on on Days 1 and 2,” said Smith. “That final day, I absolutely unleashed the fury on them and just mashed them as hard as I could. Even I’m impressed with what I had.”

In practice, Smith said he was trying to find secret backwaters like many other pros, but it just wasn’t happening. Yet, while idling out of a pocket he inadvertently found something most people came across but simply overlooked.

“I was watching my side-imaging and noticed this little underwater point of grass and that’s when it all started,” said Smith. “I threw a waypoint on it and said, ‘huh, that looks good,’ but I didn’t know exactly where it was. So, I got up on the trolling motor and realized it was 15-20 feet off the bank. That’s when a lightbulb went off. The guys were either on the bank or the guys offshore were way offshore, out too deep. I knew no one else would be fishing that.”

Fishing mainly in the Shoal Bay and Thompson Creek area, Smith found grass points, isolated stumps and isolated stumps with grass that were far off the bank but not deep, and were not getting hit by anyone else. Best of all, Smith said he realized on Day 3 those spots were reloading thanks to the falling water, so it was just a matter of precisely hitting them.

Much like pros do over open water, Smith said he’d get in an area and troll around while watching his electronics for stumps and isolated grass patches. When he saw one, and if he saw a fish on it, he could nearly call his shot tossing a prototype ½-ounce BOOYAH swim jig with a Zoom Super Chunk trailer (both black-and-blue).

“I’m not much of a swim jig guy,” says Smith. “I’m a ¾-ounce, 25-feet of water guy. But getting that bait down there and swimming it, getting kind of aggressive with it was a big, big thing.”
The results spoke for themselves, with Smith catching a limit before 9 a.m. all three days of the tournament.

“It’s been a magical week,” said Smith. “I was talking to a buddy from the Muddy Water Mob before the week. I told him I’m feeling warm and fuzzy about this tournament. I can’t explain it, because when I saw this tournament on the schedule this year … Lake of the Ozarks, I can compete. Grand Lake, I can compete. Dardanelle, I thought I could just survive. So, winning this is just amazing.”

The top 10 pros on Lake Dardanelle finished:
            1st:       Kirk Smith of Edmond, Okla., 15 bass, 51-3, $36,104
            2nd:      Zach King of Clarksville, Ark., 15 bass, 45-3, $13,409
            3rd:       Theron Caldwell of Decatur, Texas, 15 bass, 44-6, $10,381
            4th:       Bruce Parsons of Arbela, Mo., 15 bass, 38-7, $10,151
            5th:       Wayne Dixon of Morrilton, Ark., 15 bass, 37-12, $7,786
            6th:       Jeff Kriet of Ardmore, Okla., 15 bass, 37-0, $6,921
            7th:       Fred Roumbanis of Russellville, Ark., 15 bass, 35-13, $6,056
            8th:       Andy Newcomb of Camdenton, Mo., 14 bass, 35-5, $5,191
            9th:       Chip Hawkins of Little Rock, Ark., 12 bass, 34-9, $4,445
            10th:     BJ Miller of Adams, Neb., 10 bass, 28-12, $3,579

A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.          

Chip Hawkins of Little Rock, Arkansas, took home an additional $119 for the Day One Berkley Big Bass award in the pro division, with a bass weighing 6 pounds, 2 ounces. BJ Miller of Adams, Nebraska, won the Day Two Berkley Big Bass award in the pro division, bringing a 6-pound, 2-ounce bass to the scale.

Bruce Parsons of Arbela, Missouri, took home an extra $1,000 as the highest finishing Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $35,000 per event in each Toyota Series tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

Michael Carter of Raytown, Missouri, won the Strike King Co-angler Division Saturday with a three-day total of 10 bass weighing 26 pounds, 1 ounce. Carter took home the top prize package of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers on Lake Dardanelle finished:1st:       Michael Carter of Raytown, Mo., 10 bass, 26-1, Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat w/115-hp outboard2nd:      Todd Brown of Bigelow, Ark., 11 bass, 25-7, $4,3943rd:       Derrick Damon of Clarksville, Ark., nine bass, 24-5, $3,5944th:       JP Northcutt of Grove, Okla., 10 bass, 24-5, $3,0765th:       Dewey Larson of Fayetteville, Ark., 11 bass, 22-15, $2,6366th:       Tyler Stuart of Manchester, Mo., 10 bass, 20-7, $2,1977th:       Mark Powers of Platteville, Colo., 11 bass, 19-7, $1,7578th:       Austin Ware of Willard, Mo., nine bass, 19-3, $1,538
9th:       Roscoe White, III of Rogers, Ark., six bass, 16-8, $1,318
10th:     Micheal Sharp of Calera, Okla., six bass, 14-13, $1,098
In the Strike King co-angler division, the $79 Day One Berkley Big Bass award winner was David Epema of Jefferson City, Missouri, with a 4-pound bass, 1-ounce bass, while the $79 Day Two award went to Derrick Damon of Clarksville, Arkansas, with a 6-pound, 10-ounce bass.

The Toyota Series at Lake Dardanelle was presented by Fenwick and was hosted by the Russellville Advertising and Promotion Commission. It was the third and final regular-season tournament in 2021 for Plains Division anglers. The next event for Toyota Series anglers will take place on May 13-15 – the Toyota Series at the California Delta in Oakley, California. For a complete schedule, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The 2021 Toyota Series presented by A.R.E. consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and Western – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International division. Anglers who fish all three qualifiers in any of the eight divisions and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series presented by A.R.E. Championship for a shot at winning $235,000 cash, including a $35,000 Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus for qualified anglers. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard.

Categories
MLF BIG-5

Thliveros Wins Toyota Series Event on Lake Seminole

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (May 10, 2021) – Toyota Series angler Nick Thliveros of St. Augustine, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 21 pounds, 13 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. at Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Georgia. Thliveros’ three-day total of 15 bass weighing 62-11 earned him the win by a 1-pound, 12-ounce margin over second-place angler Matt Baty of Bainbridge, Georgia, and earned Thliveros the top payout of $37,809 in the third and final tournament of the 2021 Toyota Series Southern Division.

Settling down in Spring Creek, Thliveros said he fished one 50-yard stretch all week.

“It’s something I’ve had some previous knowledge on but I’ve never really been here at the right time for it,” said Thliveros. “I’ve never been here far enough in the postspawn to make those fish get in the deeper water.

“It’s basically a sand spot with hydrilla on the edge. The water’s about 10-foot deep around it and the sand is in 15 feet of water. It’s a depression and today they were on the sand.”

The unique aspect of his area was that Thliveros was essentially fishing side-by-side the fourth-place finisher Braxton Clements all three days. The two fished different areas all week, though the areas were nearly a cast apart.

“I have to give a huge shoutout to Braxton,” Thliveros said. “You got to watch him because that boy can fish and he is first class. We were 40 yards apart every day. I didn’t know him, but that’s a good man right there. We worked together – he had his hole, I had mine. We’d congratulate each other on catching fish all week and in this sport you don’t see that often, so to be a part of it is amazing.”

Thliveros said dissecting the grass and sand was a repetitive and meticulous process the entire week. Getting bites early in the day helped to reinforce the fact that the tiny spot still had fish and gave him the confidence to keep grinding.

“I’ve never been in a situation where you can go to one spot and just catch ‘em all three days,” he said. “Today, I could see them on my down imaging and I backed off and it was awesome.”

Thliveros kept it simple and a bit old school with two worms of choice – a Strike King Cut-R Worm or a Strike King Anaconda worm rigged on a 3/16- or ¼-ounce  Bullet Weights Tactical Tungsten  weight. Though he tried other baits, Thliveros said the worm was his primary producer.

“My dad has, you know, 35 years in [tournament fishing on a worm], so I had a pretty good teacher,” he said. “He taught me how to drag a worm and that’s what it took this week.”

With his family cheering him on from the crowd, Thliveros was emotional on stage when his name was announced as champion.

“It’s been two years since my last win,” he said. “I won Okeechobee [2019] and I hadn’t cashed a check since the end of that year, but I came back on this one. I’ve got to thank my family and sponsors, because without y’all I wouldn’t be here. I’m speechless.”

The top 10 pros on Lake Seminole finished:
            1st:       Nick Thliveros of St. Augustine, Fla., 15 bass, 62-11, $37,809
            2nd:      Matt Baty of Bainbridge, Ga., 15 bass, 60-15, $15,651
            3rd:       Clint Brown of Bainbridge, Ga., 15 bass, 59-14, $11,343
            4th:       Braxton Clements of Donalson, Ga., 15 bass, 51-3, $9,452
            5th:       Joey Cifuentes of Clinton, Ark., 15 bass, 50-04, $8,507
            6th:       Brandon Classon, Sr. of Leesburg, Ga., 15 bass, 48-11, $7,562
            7th:       David Ellis of Crestview, Fla., 11 bass, 47-7, $6,617
            8th:       Anthony Ford of New Smyrna, Fla., 12 bass, 44-4, $5,671
            9th:       Nicholas Davico of Cantonment, Fla., 12 bass, 42-2, $4,726
            10th:     Terry Segraves of Kississimmee, Fla., 13 bass, 37-2, $3,781

A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Cole Hewett of Orange Park, Florida, took home an additional $136 for the Day One Berkley Big Bass award in the pro division, with a bass weighing 7 pounds, 15 ounces. Nolan Gaskin of Broussard, Louisiana, won the Day Two Berkley Big Bass award in the pro division, bringing an 6-pound, 12-ounce bass to the scale.

Pro Matt Baty of Bainbridge, Georgia, took home an extra $1,000 as the highest finishing Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $35,000 per event in each Toyota Series tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

Stephen Draghi of Sparrowbush, New York won the Strike King Co-angler Division Saturday with a three-day total of 13 bass weighing 34 pounds, 6 ounces. Draghi took home the top prize package of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers on Lake Seminole finished:1st:       Stephen Draghi of Sparrowbush, N.Y., 13 bass, 34-6, Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat w/115-hp outboard
2nd:      Joe Cifuentes of Clinton, Ark., 11 bass, 32-3, $4,762
3rd:       Allen Carter of Bainbridge, Ga., 13 bass, 31-5, $3,809
4th:       Brandon St. Pierre of Cape Coral, Fla., 12 bass, 28-7, $3,333
5th:       John Stahl of Land O’Lakes, Fla., 10 bass, 26-1, $2,947
6th:       Gary Haraguchi of San Jose, Calif., eight bass, 23-13, $2,381
7th:       Ronald Young of New Braunfels, Texas, eight bass, 21-9, $1,905
8th:       George Kapiton of Inverness, Fla., eight bass, 21-6, $1,667
9th:       John Ebbe of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc., seven bass, 20-7, $1,428
10th:     Mark Denney, Jr. of Perry, Ga., 10 bass, 19-0, $1,515
In the Strike King co-angler division, the $90 Day One Berkley Big Bass award winner was Charles Tucker of Eustis, Florida, with a 6-pound, 6-ounce bass, while the $90 Day Two award went to John Stahl of Land O’Lakes, Florida, with a 7-pound, 10-ounce bass.

The Toyota Series at Lake Seminole was hosted by the Bainbridge Convention and Visitors Bureau. It was the third and final regular-season tournament in 2021 for Southern Division anglers. The next event for Toyota Series anglers will take place May 13-15 – the Toyota Series at the California Delta in Oakley, California. For a complete schedule, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com .

The 2021 Toyota Series presented by A.R.E. consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and Western – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International division. Anglers who fish all three qualifiers in any of the eight divisions and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series presented by A.R.E. Championship for a shot at winning $235,000 cash, including a $35,000 Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus for qualified anglers. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard.

Categories
MLF BIG-5

Cullman’s Wiggins Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League on Lewis Smith Lake

JASPER, Ala. (May 4, 2021) – Boater Jordan Wiggins of Cullman, Alabama, wins the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine at Lewis Smith Lake in Jasper, Alabama. Wiggins earned $5,839 for his victory at the event, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County.
TOP 10 RESULTS

RANK
 
BOATER NAME/HOMETOWN
 
BASS
 
WEIGHT
 
AWARD
 
1st
 
Jordan Wiggins of Cullman, Ala.
 
5
 
17-6
 
$5,839
 
2nd
 
John Simmons of Jasper, Ala.
 
5
 
14-3
 
$2,419
 
3rd
 
Andy Chappell of Warrior, Ala.
 
5
 
14-0
 
$1,614
 
4th
 
Justin Blalock of Cullman, Ala.
 
5
 
13-12
 
$1,859
 
5th
 
Lee Black of Danville, Ala.
 
5
 
13-8
 
$968
 
6th
 
Wesley Smith of Vinemont, Ala.
 
5
 
13-6
 
$846
 
6th
 
Destry Ford of Tuscaloosa, Ala.
 
5
 
13-6
 
$1,346
 
8th
 
Ethan Flack of Baileyton, Ala.
 
5
 
13-4
 
$726
 
9th
 
Carl Hayes, III of Eatonton, Ga.
 
5
 
13-3
 
$645
 
10th
 
Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala.
 
5
 
12-15
 
$536
 
10th
 
Cameron Robinson of Jasper, Ala.
 
5
 
12-15
 
$536
 
RANK
 
STRIKE KING CO-ANGLER NAME/HOMETOWN
 
BASS
 
WEIGHT
 
AWARD
 
1st
 
Michael Benson of Cullman, Ala.
 
5
 
11-7
 
$2,419
 
2nd
 
Chaz McMahan of Leoma, Tenn.
 
5
 
11-5
 
$1,210
 
3rd
 
Johnny Suratt of Lawrenceburg, Tenn.
 
5
 
11-3
 
$807
 
4th
 
William Maddox of Trussville, Ala.
 
5
 
10-15
 
$565
 
5th
 
Troy Calloway of Sylacauga, Ala.
 
5
 
10-13
 
$484
 
6th
 
Brad Smith of Montevallo, Ala.
 
5
 
10-12
 
$769
 
7th
 
Willie Hill of  Tuskegee, Ala.
 
5
 
10-9
 
$403
 
8th
 
Randy Wiggins of Birmingham, Ala.
 
5
 
10-5
 
$363
 
9th
 
Daniel Corkern of Florence, Miss.
 
5
 
10-1
 
$302
 
9th
 
Terry Harper of Ranburne, Ala.
 
5
 
10-1
 
$302
 

CONTINGENCY AWARDS

AWARD
 
NAME
 
CONTINGENCY
 
PAYOUT
 
Boater Big Bass
 
Justin Blalock of Cullman, Ala.
 
5-pound, 14-ounce bass
 
$730
 
Strike King Co-Angler Berkley Big Bass
 
Jacob Robinson of Temple, Ga.
 
4-pound, 11-ounce bass
 
$365
 
Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus
 
Destry Ford of Tuscaloosa, Ala.
 
Eligible Phoenix Boat*
 
$500
 

* Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
WINNING BAITS

ANGLER
 
BAIT
 
COLOR
 
Boater
 
Unspecified Shaky Head
 
N/A
 
Strike King Co-Angler
 
Unspecified Berkley MaxScent
 
N/A
 

2021 QUALIFICATION OPPORTUNITIES

EVENT
 
DATE
 
LOCATION
 
HOST
 
Bama Division – Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship
 
Oct. 7-9
 
Wheeler Lake, Decatur, Ala.
 
Decatur Morgan County Tourism
 
Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American
 
June 3-5
 
Douglas Lake, Dandridge, Tenn.
 
Jefferson County Department of Tourism
 

The 2021 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine is 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 Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championships. Boaters will compete for a $60,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while Strike King co-anglers will fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The top six finishers in each regional will then qualify for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American.
The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division will also earn priority entry into the Toyota Series, the pathway to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour.

Categories
MLF BIG-5

Georgia’s Pare Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League on Lake Hartwell

LAVONIA, Ga.  (May 4, 2021) – Boater Mitchell Pare of Statesboro, Georgia, wins the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine at Lake Hartwell in Lavonia, Georgia. Pare earned $4,072 for his victory at the event.
 TOP 10 RESULTS

RANK
 
BOATER NAME/HOMETOWN
 
BASS
 
WEIGHT
 
AWARD
 
1st
 
Mitchell Pare of Statesboro, Ga.
 
5
 
15-14
 
$4,072
 
2nd
 
Tra Dumit of Greer, S.C.
 
5
 
14-6
 
$1,796
 
3rd
 
Ronnie Wilson of Kings Mountain, N.C.
 
5
 
13-14
 
$1,201
 
4th
 
Sammy Moody of Piedmont, S.C.
 
5
 
13-13
 
$1,338
 
5th
 
Matthew Guffey of Simpsonville, S.C.
 
5
 
12-12
 
$718
 
6th
 
John Bitter of Maitland, Fla.
 
5
 
12-9
 
$659
 
7th
 
Steve Thornhill of Pineville, S.C.
 
5
 
11-12
 
$599
 
8th
 
Roger Vinson of Flowery Branch, Ga.
 
5
 
11-7
 
$539
 
9th
 
Lane Gerbers of Blackstock, S.C.
 
5
 
10-11
 
$479
 
10th
 
James Wade of Loris, S.C.
 
5
 
10-9
 
$419
 
RANK
 
STRIKE KING CO-ANGLER NAME/HOMETOWN
 
BASS
 
WEIGHT
 
AWARD
 
1st
 
Harold Addison, II of Columbia, S.C.
 
5
 
10-4
 
$1,796
 
2nd
 
Brandon Hendrix of Anderson, S.C.
 
5
 
9-15
 
$898
 
3rd
 
Samuel Jones of Raleigh, N.C.
 
5
 
9-9
 
$598
 
4th
 
Wayne Hancock of Cumming, Ga.
 
5
 
8-13
 
$419
 
5th
 
Kenny Mathis of Boiling Springs, S.C.
 
5
 
8-5
 
$359
 
6th
 
Tim Chadwick of Mount Pleasant, S.C.
 
5
 
8-4
 
$329
 
7th
 
Westley Denny of Westminster, S.C.
 
5
 
8-1
 
$299
 
8th
 
Brian Bultman of Aiken, S.C.
 
5
 
7-7
 
$269
 
9th
 
Gage Spagnola of Columbia, S.C.
 
5
 
7-3
 
$239
 
10th
 
Ken Hodges of Hodges, S.C.
 
5
 
7-2
 
$210
 

CONTINGENCY AWARDS

AWARD
 
NAME
 
CONTINGENCY
 
PAYOUT
 
Boater Big Bass
 
Mitchell Pare of Statesboro, Ga.
 
4-pound, 15-ounce bass
 
$230
 
Boater Big Bass
 
Brian Anthony of Pickens, S.C.
 
4-pound, 15-ounce bass
 
$230
 
Strike King Co-Angler Berkley Big Bass
 
Jace Ramey of Easely, S.C.
 
4-pound, 9-ounce bass
 
$230
 
Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus
 
Sammy Moody of Piedmont, S.C.
 
Eligible Phoenix Boat*
 
$500
 

* Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
WINNING BAITS

ANGLER
 
BAIT
 
COLOR
 
Boater
 
Unspecified Jig/Blades
 
N/A
 
Strike King Co-Angler
 
Unspecified Jerkbait/Dropshot
 
N/A
 

2021 QUALIFICATION OPPORTUNITIES

EVENT
 
DATE
 
LOCATION
 
HOST
 
South Carolina Division – Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship
 
Oct. 21-23
 
St. Johns River, Palatka, Fla.
 
Putnam County Tourist Development Council
 
Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American
 
June 3-5
 
Douglas Lake, Dandridge, Tenn.
 
Jefferson County Department of Tourism
 

The 2021 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine is 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 Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championships. Boaters will compete for a $60,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while Strike King co-anglers will fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The top six finishers in each regional will then qualify for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American.
The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division will also earn priority entry into the Toyota Series, the pathway to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour.

Categories
MLF BIG-5

Tenn’s McDavid Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League on Douglas Lake

DANDRIDGE, Tenn.  (May 4, 2021) – Boater Gregory McDavid of Blountville, Tennessee, wins the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine at Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee. McDavid earned $13,056 for his victory at the event, hosted by the Jefferson County Department of Tourism.
TOP 10 RESULTS

RANK
 
BOATER NAME/HOMETOWN
 
BASS
 
WEIGHT
 
AWARD
 
1st
 
Gregory McDavid of Blountville, Tenn.
 
5
 
18-8
 
$13,056
 
2nd
 
Jeremy Shuman of Louisville, Tenn.
 
5
 
16-0
 
$2,403
 
3rd
 
Jacob McCray of Big Stone Gap, Va.
 
5
 
15-5
 
$1,605
 
4th
 
Rocky Huff of Chilhowie, Va.
 
5
 
14-11
 
$1,121
 
5th
 
Curtis Hoskins of LaFollette, Tenn.
 
5
 
14-7
 
$961
 
6th
 
Nick Hatfield of Greeneville, Tenn.
 
5
 
14-4
 
$881
 
7th
 
Michael Anderson of Knoxville, Tenn.
 
5
 
14-0
 
$801
 
8th
 
Bryant Ailor of Knoxville, Tenn.
 
5
 
13-11
 
$721
 
9th
 
Philip Gordon of Middlesboro, Ky.
 
5
 
13-9
 
$641
 
10th
 
Hunter Price of Morristown, Tenn.
 
5
 
13-8
 
$561
 
RANK
 
STRIKE KING CO-ANGLER NAME/HOMETOWN
 
BASS
 
WEIGHT
 
AWARD
 
1st
 
Matthew Jones of Bean Station, Tenn.
 
5
 
14-0
 
$2,415
 
2nd
 
Jeff Short of Bean Station, Tenn.
 
5
 
13-0
 
$1,207
 
3rd
 
Dusty Kelley of Kingsport, Tenn.
 
5
 
12-4
 
$806
 
4th
 
Travis Pridemore of White Pine, Tenn.
 
5
 
11-13
 
$523
 
4th
 
Mike Holtsclaw of Limestone, Tenn.
 
5
 
11-13
 
$523
 
6th
 
Lloyd Pickett, Jr. of Bartlett, Tenn.
 
5
 
11-7
 
$422
 
6th
 
Pop Catalin of Cookeville, Tenn.
 
5
 
11-7
 
$422
 
8th
 
Harrison Heins of Knoxville, Tenn.
 
5
 
10-8
 
$362
 
9th
 
Bradley Stringfield of Oliver Springs, Tenn.
 
5
 
10-4
 
$322
 
10th
 
Konnor Sweet of Abingdon, Va.
 
5
 
10-3
 
$282
 

CONTINGENCY AWARDS

AWARD
 
NAME
 
CONTINGENCY
 
PAYOUT
 
Boater Big Bass
 
Brian Vicchio of Gray, Tenn.
 
5-pound bass
 
$725
 
Strike King Co-Angler Berkley Big Bass
 
Matthew Jones of Bean Station, Tenn.
 
4-pound, 13-ounce bass
 
$360
 
Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus
 
Gregory McDavid of Blountville, Tenn.
 
Eligible Phoenix Boat*
 
$7,000
 

* Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
WINNING BAITS

ANGLER
 
BAIT
 
COLOR
 
Boater
 
Unspecified Swim Bait/Jig
 
N/A
 
Strike King Co-Angler
 
Neko Rig
 
N/A
 

2021 QUALIFICATION OPPORTUNITIES

EVENT
 
DATE
 
LOCATION
 
HOST
 
Volunteer Division – Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship
 
Oct. 14-16
 
Lake Murray, Columbia, S.C.
 
Capital City Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board
 
Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American
 
June 3-5
 
Douglas Lake, Dandridge, Tenn.
 
Jefferson County Department of Tourism
 

The 2021 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine is 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 Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championships. Boaters will compete for a $60,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while Strike King co-anglers will fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The top six finishers in each regional will then qualify for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American. The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division will also earn priority entry into the Toyota Series, the pathway to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour.

Categories
MLF BIG-5

North Carolina’s Blankenship Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League on Kerr Lake

HENDERSON, N.C.  (May 4, 2021) – Boater James Blankenship of Siler City, North Carolina, wins the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine at Kerr Lake in Henderson, North Carolina. Blankenship earned $5,488 for his victory at the event, hosted by the Vance County Tourism Development Authority.
TOP 10 RESULTS

RANK
 
BOATER NAME/HOMETOWN
 
BASS
 
WEIGHT
 
AWARD
 
1st
 
James Blankenship of Siler City, N.C.
 
5
 
19-9
 
$5,488
 
2nd
 
Billy Shelton, III of La Crosse, Va.
 
5
 
18-2
 
$3,824
 
3rd
 
Aaron Falwell of Forest, Va.
 
5
 
16-8
 
$1,829
 
4th
 
Wesley Cashwell of Roanoke Rapids, N.C.
 
5
 
16-3
 
$1,281
 
5th
 
Larry Church of Keysville, Va.
 
5
 
15-11
 
$1,098
 
6th
 
Kevin Kane of Woodbridge, Va.
 
5
 
15-10
 
$1,006
 
7th
 
Alden Patterson of Mebane, N.C.
 
5
 
15-9
 
$915
 
8th
 
Greg Lahr of Fayetteville, N.C.
 
5
 
15-3
 
$823
 
9th
 
Wayne Burchett of Pulaski, Va.
 
5
 
14-11
 
$732
 
10th
 
Brian Morgan of Mooresville, N.C.
 
5
 
14-10
 
$640
 
RANK
 
STRIKE KING CO-ANGLER NAME/HOMETOWN
 
BASS
 
WEIGHT
 
AWARD
 
1st
 
Kenneth Brown of Leesburg, Va.
 
5
 
18-1
 
$2,744
 
2nd
 
Lenny Baird of Stafford, Va.
 
5
 
14-1
 
$2,012
 
3rd
 
Matthew Waldron of Wake Forest, M.C.
 
5
 
11-10
 
$702
 
3rd
 
Christopher Mills of Manassa, Va.
 
5
 
11-10
 
$702
 
3rd
 
Timothy Kinder of Manassas, Va.
 
4
 
11-10
 
$952
 
6th
 
Jason Hinger of Tinberlake, N.C.
 
5
 
11-7
 
$503
 
7th
 
Tanner Glasglow of Newport News, Va.
 
5
 
11-4
 
$457
 
8th
 
Scott Howard of Bedford, Va.
 
5
 
11-2
 
$389
 
8th
 
Philip Ragland, Jr. of Fairfield, Va.
 
5
 
11-2
 
$389
 
10th
 
Anthony Pulley of Chester, Va.
 
5
 
10-14
 
$320
 

CONTINGENCY AWARDS

AWARD
 
NAME
 
CONTINGENCY
 
PAYOUT
 
Boater Big Bass
 
Billy Shelton, III of La Crosse, Va.
 
6-pound, 7-ounce bass
 
$880
 
Strike King Co-Angler Berkley Big Bass
 
Lenny Baird of Stafford, Va.
 
5-pound, 5-ounce bass
 
$440
 
Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus
 
Tyler Trent of Nathalie, Va.
 
Eligible Phoenix Boat*
 
$500
 

* Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
WINNING BAITS

ANGLER
 
BAIT
 
COLOR
 
Boater
 
Unspecified Jig
 
N/A
 
Strike King Co-Angler
 
Carolina Rig
 
N/A
 

2021 QUALIFICATION OPPORTUNITIES

EVENT
 
DATE
 
LOCATION
 
HOST
 
Piedmont Division – Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship
 
Oct. 14-16
 
Potomac River, Marbury, Md.
 
Charles County Board of Commissioners
 
Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American
 
June 3-5
 
Douglas Lake, Dandridge, Tenn.
 
Jefferson County Department of Tourism
 

The 2021 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine is 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 Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championships. Boaters will compete for a $60,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while Strike King co-anglers will fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The top six finishers in each regional will then qualify for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American.
The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division will also earn priority entry into the Toyota Series, the pathway to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour.

Categories
MLF BIG-5

Tenn’s Singleton Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing Leagueon Kentucky-Barkley Lake

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. (May 4, 2021) – Boater Gary Singleton of Dickson, Tennessee, wins the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine at Kentucky-Barkley Lake Presented by TINCUP Whiskey in Gilbertsville, Kentucky. Singleton earned $5,743 for his victory at the event, hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau.
TOP 10 RESULTS

RANK
 
BOATER NAME/HOMETOWN
 
BASS
 
WEIGHT
 
AWARD
 
1st
 
Gary Singleton of Dickson, Tenn.
 
5
 
18-0
 
$5,743
 
2nd
 
Brady Bickers of Carrollton, Ky.
 
5
 
16-3
 
$2,082
 
3rd
 
Stephen Barga of Benton, Ky.
 
5
 
15-13
 
$1,387
 
4th
 
Doug Caskey of Madisonville, Ky.
 
5
 
14-15
 
$971
 
5th
 
Keith Claridge of Oakland City, Ind.
 
5
 
14-11
 
$1,333
 
6th
 
Richard Meuth of Henderson, Ky.
 
5
 
14-5
 
$763
 
7th
 
Edward Gettys of Paris Tenn.
 
5
 
14-1
 
$694
 
8th
 
Scott McWaters of Clarksville, Tenn.
 
5
 
13-12
 
$625
 
9th
 
David Hames of Trezevant, Tenn.
 
5
 
13-10
 
$555
 
10th
 
Brandon S. Johnson of Crofton, Ky.
 
5
 
13-9
 
$486
 
RANK
 
STRIKE KING CO-ANGLER NAME/HOMETOWN
 
BASS
 
WEIGHT
 
AWARD
 
1st
 
Terry Bassemier of Carmi, Ill.
 
4
 
8-13
 
$2,041
 
2nd
 
Kevin Mulverhill of Moria, N.Y.
 
3
 
8-11
 
$1,021
 
3rd
 
Carl Oelker of Greenbrier, Tenn.
 
4
 
8-10
 
$808
 
4th
 
Brant Gish of Evansville, Ind.
 
4
 
8-9
 
$476
 
5th
 
Chuck Ledbetter of Fort Campbell, Ky.
 
3
 
8-5
 
$408
 
6th
 
Chuck Condiff, Jr. of Fort Branch, Ind.
 
3
 
8-3
 
$374
 
7th
 
John Dunn of Paducah, Ky.
 
4
 
7-13
 
$340
 
8th
 
Jordan McWhirter of Carmi, Ill.
 
3
 
7-12
 
$306
 
9th
 
Johnny Brantley of Medon, Tenn.
 
3
 
7-10
 
$272
 
10th
 
Dalton Wilson of Bowling Green, Ky.
 
4
 
7-7
 
$238
 

CONTINGENCY AWARDS

AWARD
 
NAME
 
CONTINGENCY
 
PAYOUT
 
Boater Big Bass
 
Gary Singleton of Dickson, Tenn.
 
5-pound, 12-ounce bass
 
$580
 
Strike King Co-Angler Berkley Big Bass
 
Alan Scott of Shelbyville, Ind.
 
5-pound bass
 
$280
 
Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus
 
Keith Claridge of Oakland City, Ind.
 
Eligible Phoenix Boat*
 
$500
 

* Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
WINNING BAITS

ANGLER
 
BAIT
 
COLOR
 
Boater
 
Unspecified Chatterbait & Beaver Bait
 
N/A
 
Strike King Co-Angler
 
Unspecified Chatterbait &Bandito Bug
 
N/A
 

2021 QUALIFICATION OPPORTUNITIES

EVENT
 
DATE
 
LOCATION
 
HOST
 
LBL Division – Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship
 
Oct. 7-9
 
Lake Norfork, Mountain Home, Ark.
 
Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce
 
Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American
 
June 3-5
 
Douglas Lake, Dandridge, Tenn.
 
Jefferson County Department of Tourism
 

The 2021 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine is 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 Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championships. Boaters will compete for a $60,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while Strike King co-anglers will fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The top six finishers in each regional will then qualify for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American.  The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division will also earn priority entry into the Toyota Series, the pathway to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour.

Categories
MLF BIG-5

Keith Combs Wins Toyota Series Event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir Presented by Berkley

BROOKELAND, Texas (May 2, 2021) – Pro Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas, brought five bass to the scale Friday weighing 10 pounds, 15 ounces to go wire-to-wire and win the Toyota Series presented by A.R.E. at Sam Rayburn Reservoir Presented by Berkley . Combs weighed in 15 bass over three days of competition totaling 63 pounds, 3 ounces, earning the win by an 8-pound, 10-ounce margin over second-place angler Josh Bensema of Willis, Texas. For his victory, Combs earned the top payout of $36,764 in the third and final regular-season tournament of the 2021 Toyota Series Southwestern Division.

Combs said it was actually his first win of any kind on Sam Rayburn, which was surprising considering his Huntington, Texas, address, and his years as a top-level pro angler.

“I’ve fished very few tournaments and not had a top 10 or 15 on this place,” said Combs. “I’ve finished second and third, but never won one. That was fun, I always wanted to.”

Weighing 22-9 on Day 1 and 29-11 on Day 2, Combs staked himself to a lead of more than 17 pounds heading into the third and final day. After a weather delay at takeoff that lasted more than 2 hours, Combs was forced to scramble a bit Friday to make sure of the win.

“The first couple days were really easy, but today we just didn’t have enough time,” said Combs. “I went to try to catch a couple big ones, but I had to just catch some fish. I would have loved to have had a full day to go out and stand on ‘em and try to catch a big bag again. They’re definitely there.”

On the first two days, Combs did what he’s famous for – catching big bass offshore.

“I stayed out, I cranked, I threw a big spinnerbait and a big swimbait,” said Combs. “I fished a lot of different spots, some of them were shallow, 4- to 6-foot. Some of the fish I’ve caught this week have been as deep as 16.

“There’s just not many fish out there. I had a good bag the first day and moved around and checked on a bunch of places. I felt like if I stayed out all day and fished for those big ones, I’d have a chance to catch five. Thursday, I stayed out all day, and I only caught seven fish, but the smallest one was a 4-pounder.”

On Day 3, Combs ended up altering his strategy and put a jerkbait and a crankbait in hand to nab a limit.

“Friday I just went and caught schooling fish on a little gravel bar,” said Combs. “It has a ton of 2- and 3-pounders. I hadn’t fished there all week, but I felt like I just needed to go catch a limit of fish today, so that’s what I did.”

Combs said he targeted a mix of hard spots on points and flats and isolated stumps. For the stumps, he could often pull up and make just a handful of casts, but he found himself fishing around a little more on the other offshore areas.

“I used my Humminbird MEGA 360 a lot. The stumps I know about, but a lot of the stuff was real big flats, and main lake points,” said Combs. “I would pull up, and I could look at 360 and fish around, and eventually you might see a fish or two. Then at least I knew which direction to throw. They’re big areas, so it was very important to run that this week.”

For his baits, Combs said he used a big single swimbait, a 1-ounce Strike King Bottom Dweller Spinnerbait in blue glimmer, a Strike King Magnum Squarebill 4.0 in Tennessee shad and a Strike King 6XD in chartreuse and blue.

With his fourth-place finish in the Southwestern standings and his win, Combs is now qualified for the Toyota Series Championship this fall on Pickwick Lake. From the sounds of it, he’s going to be a handful.

“I’m excited about that,” said Combs. “That’s a big money tournament. It’s pretty good to get an opportunity to fish for that kind of money. To me, it’s pretty incredible to fish for that kind of jack without having to spend $50,000 in entry fees. I think it will be a really good tournament. I got the opportunity to see what really lives in Pickwick when we were there for the Elites, and I know it will be tougher in the fall, but I think I’ll get a lot of practice time and I’m excited about it.”

The top 10 pros on Sam Rayburn Reservoir finished:

                  1st:           Keith Combs, Huntington, Texas, 15 bass, 63-3, $36,764
                  2nd:          Josh Bensema, Willis, Texas, 15 bass, 54-9, $15,147
                  3rd:          Jeff Bridges, Prosper, Texas, 15 bass, 52-0, $10,952
                  4th:           Todd Castledine, Nacogdoches, Texas, 15 bass, 44-4, $9,127
                  5th:           Cameron Mattison, Benton, La., 15 bass, 42-7, $8,214
                  6th:           Troy Roder, Brookeland, Texas, 15 bass, 40-14, $7,302
                  7th:           Mitchell Webb, Skiatook, Okla., 13 bass, 38-1, $6,639
                  8th:           Shawn Temple, Krugerville, Texas, 15 bass, 37-12, $5,476
                  9th:           Garrett Hilton, China, Texas, 13 bass, 36-9, $4,564
                  10th:        River Lee, Nacogdoches, Texas, 14 bass, 35-11, $3,651

Results for the remainder of the field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Combs also earned both of the Berkley Big Bass awards, weighing a 7-pound, 15-ounce largemouth on Day 1 to claim that prize of $128, then weighing a 7-14 on Day 2 to again earn the $128 awards.

Bensema took home an extra $1,000 as the highest finishing Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $35,000 per event in each Toyota Series tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

Kevin Carter of Spring, Texas, won the Strike King Co-angler Division Friday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 36 pounds, 1 ounce. For his victory, Carter won the top prize package of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers on Sam Rayburn Reservoir finished:

                  1st:           Kevin Carter, Spring, Texas, 15 bass, 36-1, Phoenix 518 Pro boat w/115-hp Mercury outboard
                  2nd:          Kevin Bonds, Cleveland, Texas, 15 bass, 31-6, $4,616
                  3rd:          Robert Davis, Lufkin, Texas, 12 bass, 30-12, $3,693
                  4th:           Jason Geesey, Heartland, Texas, 12 bass, 27-5, $3,231
                  5th:           John Goebel, Lumberton, Texas, 14 bass, 26-9, $2,770
                  6th:           Dustin Robinson, Glendale, Ariz., 13 bass, 25-1, $2,308
                  7th:           Jason Cochran, Pearland, Texas, 12 bass, 24-11, $1,846
                  8th:           Robert Spangenberg, Magnolia, Texas, 12 bass, 23-8, $1,616
                  9th:           Mike Power, Conroe, Texas, 12 bass, 22-13, $1,385
                  10th:        Kenny Moser, Alba, Texas, 10 bass, 20-5, $1,154

HOTTEST NEW LURES FOR 2020

Co-angler Steve Baskins of Owasso, Oklahoma, weighed the largest bass of the day for co-anglers on Day 1, boating a 5-pound, 15-ounce bass to earn the $85 Berkley Big Bass award. Tristan Riddle of Nacogdoches, Texas, earned the $85 Berkley Big Bass award on Day 2 with a 6-pound, 8-ounce largemouth.

Despite the successful tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, the fishing community was deeply saddened on Thursday after an accident at the event claimed the life of a co-angler. Major League Fishing (MLF) announced Friday that the identity of the co-angler that died after falling from the boat had been released. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) confirmed that co-angler Pete Lammons of Houston, Texas, fell overboard near the San Augustine Park area. Attempts to rescue Lammons were unsuccessful. Lammons was an experienced co-angler, competing in his 57th career MLF event. He was also a former NFL football player, who played tight end for the New York Jets from 1966-1971, including winning the AFL Championship with them in 1968 and Super Bowl III in 1969.

The Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. at Sam Rayburn Reservoir Presented by Berkley was hosted by the Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Chamber of Commerce. It was the third and final regular-season tournament in 2021 for Southwestern Division anglers. The next events for Toyota Series anglers will be a double-header, both held May 6-8 – the Toyota Series at Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Georgia, and the Toyota Series at Lake Dardanelle Presented by Fenwick in Russellville, Arkansas. For a complete schedule, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com .

The 2021 Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. consists of six divisions – the Central Division Presented by Neat Companies, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and Western – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International division. Anglers who fish all three qualifiers in any of the six divisions and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Championship for a shot at winning $235,000 cash, including a $35,000 Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus for qualified anglers. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The 2021 Toyota Series Championship Presented by A.R.E. will be held Oct. 28-30 on Pickwick Lake in Counce, Tennessee, and is hosted by the Hardin County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Categories
MLF BIG-5

Becker Earns First Career Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Victory at Googan Baits Stop 3 at Lake Murray

COLUMBIA, S.C. (April 25, 2021) – Favorite Fishing pro Matt Becker of Finleyville, Pennsylvania, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 17 pounds, 11 ounces, to hold off a massive charge from local favorite Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity and win the four-day MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Googan Baits Stop 3 Presented by Favorite Fishing – Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina. Becker’s four-day total of 20 bass weighing 76-5 earned him the victory by a 2½-pound margin over Gagliardi and earned Becker the top prize of $137,500, including the lucrative $35,000 MLF Phoenix BIG5 Bonus.

“This has been years and years in the making,” said an emotional Becker on stage after being crowned champion. “I was really beginning to think that I couldn’t win. I’ve always been consistent, near the top of the standings. But I was really starting to doubt that I could win. Just to make a top 10 against this group of hammers is unbelievable. They always say when it’s your time, it’s your time. And man, did I live that this week.”

The 2018 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Rookie of the Year started Day 1 of the event with a plan to target docks and sight-fish spawning bass. But, before doing that, Becker slotted in a little time to try a risky timing/herring-spawn pattern, and he ended up never changing. He kept hitting, and re-hitting, as many points as possible knowing that eventually the schools of bass would move shallow to feed.

“The spot I caught them Day 2, I had fished three times before I caught them,” said Becker. “I knew the fish were there, but I rotated through multiple times and never had a bite. Then I came back and they were there and they were eating. I went from zero to 14 pounds in minutes.”

Becker said his key baits throughout the week were a couple of different soft-plastic jerkbaits, with the Googan Baits Dart (Green Gizzard Shad) being his best option. He rigged the Dart on rigged on a TroKar TK 180 hook with a TroKar TK 300 treble hook as a stinger. He threw that on a 7-foot, 5-inch medium-heavy Favorite Fishing Hex rodFavorite Fishing Soleus XCS reel and 15-pound-test Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon line.

“All week, the little things just always lined up,” Becker said. “Today, I pulled into a cove and I got this overwhelming feeling I was going to go to the first point and catch a 3 ½-pounder, and then I’d go to the second point and catch another 3 ½-pounder. And that’s exactly what happened. That pretty much got me the win.”

The top 10 pros on Lake Murray finished are:
                1st:        Matt Becker of Finleyville, Pa., 20 bass, 76-5, $137,500
                2nd:       Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., 20 bass, 73-13, $30,000
                3rd:       Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn., 20 bass, 71-8, $25,000
                4th:        Adrian Avena of Vineland, N.J., 20 bass, 68-2, $20,000
                5th:        David Williams of Maiden, N.C., 20 bass, 64-13, $19,000
                6th:        Tai Au of Glendale, Ariz., 20 bass, 64-9, $18,500
                7th:        Evan Barnes of Hot Springs, Ark., 20 bass, 63-10, $17,000
                8th:        Cody Huff of Ava, Mo., 20 bass, 63-0, $16,000
                9th:        Derrick Snavely of Piney Flats, Tenn., 18 bass, 60-2, $15,000
                10th:     Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., 17 bass, 57-9, $14,000

Full results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 46 bass weighing 151 pounds, 5 ounces caught by the final 10 pros Sunday. The catch included eight five-bass limits.

The four top performers who now qualify to compete in the MLF Bass Pro Tour B&W Trailer Hitches Stage Four at Lake Chickamauga in Dayton, Tennessee, June 4-9, are Matt Becker, David Williams, Tai Au and Evan Barnes.

The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Googan Baits Stop 3 Presented by Favorite Fishing – Lake Murray air on a two-hour action-packed television show that premieres on the Outdoor Channel on Sunday, July 25 from 7 to 9 a.m. ET and re-air on the Sportsman Channel this fall.

The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Googan Baits Stop 3 Presented by Favorite Fishing – Lake Murray was hosted by the Capital City Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board. The next event for Pro Circuit anglers will be the Grundéns Stop 4 Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama, May 13-16, 2021.

In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of 161 anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The field was cut to 50 anglers on Saturday. Only the top 10 pros based on their three-day cumulative weight advanced to Sunday where the winner was determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days of competition.

HOTTEST NEW LURES FOR 2020

Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where they will compete for up to $235,000. The 2021 TITLE will be on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Aug. 17-22, and is hosted by Explore La Crosse.

Categories
MLF BIG-5

Pennsylvania’s Becker Moves Ahead on Day Two of Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Googan Baits Stop 3 at Lake Murray

COLUMBIA, S.C. (April 23, 2021) – Pro Matt Becker of Finleyville, Pennsylvania, caught five bass weighing 19 pounds, 9 ounces Friday to move from second into first place after Day 2 of the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Googan Baits Stop 3 Presented by Favorite Fishing – Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina. Becker’s two-day total of 10 bass weighing 41 pounds, 2 ounces gives him a 2-pound, 12-ounce advantage heading into Day 3 of the four-day competition that features a field of 161 bass-fishing professionals from around the world competing for a top cash award of up to $135,000.

Pro Derrick Snavely of Piney Flats, Tennessee, jumped from 15th place to 2nd with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 15 ounces, giving him a two-day total of 38 pounds, 6 ounces.

Becker managed to turn only a couple 10-minute flurries into some of the biggest bags on Lake Murray. Utilizing great timing and a schooling-fish pattern, he turned three flurries into 21 pounds, 9 ounces on Day 1, followed by just one flurry on Day 2 that helped him toward his 19-9 bag – putting him in the lead with 41-2 total.

“We survived another day, but boy was it stressful and risky,” said Becker, the 2018 Pro Circuit Rookie of the Year. “I was super lucky on my timing again where I pulled up and was able to catch four of the five I weighed in within a few minutes. Otherwise, it was a struggle.”

Becker said that flurry came at 9 a.m. but before that, he hadn’t had a bite.

“I fished that spot three times today before I caught anything,” said Becker. “I knew the fish were there, but I rotated through multiple times and never had a bite. Then I came back and they were there and they were eating. I went from zero to 14 pounds in minutes.”

Becker said he originally planned to just hit the edges of the points quickly on the first morning before moving on to bed-fishing or fishing docks, but was fortunate to get a couple bites early on Day 1 to point him in the right direction.

Although that timing has held out so far, a significant storm system is set to roll through the region early tomorrow morning, with a 100-percent chance of severe thunderstorms most of Saturday, which could change everything for Becker, as well as the other pros.

“I say we cancel tomorrow. It’s one less day I have to hang on to the lead,” laughed Becker. “I think it’s going to be really hard and it’s going to hurt my fish. The sun has been real important, and that rain is probably going to put a damper on that tomorrow. With this weather changing, it’s anyone’s game going into the weekend.”

The top 20 pros after Day 2 on Lake Murray are:
            1st:       Matt Becker of Finleyville, Pa., 10 bass, 41-2
            2nd:      Derrick Snavely of Piney Flats, Tenn., 10 bass, 38-6
            3rd:       Miles Howe of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., 10 bass, 37-9
            4th:       Evan Barnes of Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 37-0      
            5th:       Dean Rojas of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 10 bass, 35-9
            6th:       Tommy Dickerson of Orange, Texas, 10 bass, 34-15
            7th:       Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., 10 bass, 34-14          
            8th:       Clabion Johns of Social Circle, Ga., 10 bass, 34-9   
            9th:       Matthew Stefan of Junction City, Wisc., 10 bass, 34-9
            10th:     Adrian Avena of Vineland, N.J., 10 bass, 33-13       
            11th:     Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C., 10 bass, 33-10                    
            12th:     Jim Tutt of Longview, Texas, 10 bass, 33-5 
            13th:     Jamie Horton of Centerville, Ala., 10 bass, 33-4
            14th:     David Williams of Maiden, N.C., 10 bass, 33-3       
            15th:     Josh Butler of Hayden, Ala., 10 bass, 32-14
            16th:     Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 32-11
            17th:     Kurt Mitchell of Milford, Del., 10 bass, 32-10
            18th:     Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., 10 bass, 32-5
            19th:     Mitch Crane of Columbus, Miss., 10 bass, 32-4
            20th:     Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., 10 bass, 32-1

For a full list of results and to see the top 50 anglers that will continue to Day 3, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma, won the day’s $500 Berkley Big Bass award bringing a largemouth weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces to the scale.

Overall, there were 744 bass weighing 1,983 pounds even caught by 160 pros Friday. The catch included 133 five-bass limits.

The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Googan Baits Stop 3 Presented by Favorite Fishing – Lake Murray is hosted by the Capital City Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board.

In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of 161 anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advanced to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros will continue competition on Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.

Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where they will compete for up to $235,000. The 2021 TITLE will be on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Aug. 17-22, and is hosted by Explore La Crosse.

Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. ET Saturday and Sunday from Dreher Island State Park, located at 3677 State Park Road in Prosperity. Weigh-ins will also be held at the park daily at 3 p.m. Attendance is limited to competing anglers, family, essential staff and media covering the event. Fans are encouraged to follow the action online through the MLF NOW! live stream and coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Googan Baits Stop 3 Presented by Favorite Fishing – Lake Murray will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the Outdoor Channel on Sunday, July 25 from 7 to 9 a.m. ET and re-air on the Sportsman Channel this fall. Weigh-ins will be streamed daily and fans can catch live on-the-water action all day Saturday and Sunday, April 24-25 on MLF NOW! beginning at 7 a.m. ET at MajorLeagueFishing.com.