SANDUSKY, Ohio (June 26, 2023) – Boater Ty Fain of Springfield, Ohio, caught a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 12 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Erie Presented by Rabid Baits. The tournament was the second event of the season for the BFL Buckeye Presented by Rabid Baits Division. Fain earned $4,610 for his victory.
“I started out fishing in 12 feet of water on a drop-shot rig and swimbaits,” said the 19-year-old angler. “Then I moved in a little shallower as the sun came out.”
Fain said he targeted large rocks, both isolated rocks and piles, in Canadian waters near Pelee Island, and his efforts resulted in “10 to 15” bites during the day – all keepers. Fain relied on Keitech swimbaits and Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Berkley Flatnose Minnows to land his smallmouth.
Fain said his familiarity with Lake Erie helped boost his confidence during the tournament, even though he didn’t feel comfortable with his final weight.
“I just fished a bunch of old history,” Fain said. “I figured it would take close to 24 pounds to the win tournament. I figured somebody would have that.
“This is pretty cool because I’m up there (Erie) all the time,” Fain added. “I really like the trophy.”
Ty’s father, Justen, won the co-angler side of Saturday’s BFL event and heaped praise on his son for his accomplishment.
“He’s a very good stick, and what he did was pretty awesome,” the elder Fain said. “I don’t know of many guys who could go out there and look at them and catch them the way he caught them today. It’s pretty awesome.
“I knew he’d be top five on the boater side,” Fain went on to say. “It feels pretty awesome to see him do it. I’m not surprised. I’m very proud of him. I think this win is the first one of many.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:
1st: Ty Fain, Springfield, Ohio, five bass, 23-12, $4,610
2nd: Chris Martinkovic, Hamilton, Ohio, five bass, 21-4, $3,275
3rd: Jared Rhode, Port Clinton, Ohio, five bass, 20-12, $1,536
4th: Steve Clapper, Port Clinton, Ohio, five bass, 20-5, $1,076
5th: Seth Fricke, Oxford, Ohio, five bass, 20-4, $1,592
6th: Wilson Burton, Findlay, Ohio, five bass, 20-2, $1,306 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
6th: Corey Lindsey, Marion, Ohio, five bass, 20-2, $806
8th: Joshua Barr, Louisville, Ohio, five bass, 19-14, $691
9th: Jeremy Reese, Powell, Ohio, five bass, 19-12, $576
9th: Matt Elkins, Spencerville, Ohio, five bass, 19-12, $576
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Seth Fricke of Oxford, Ohio, caught a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 6 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $670.
Justen Fain of Springfield, Ohio, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,305 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 20 pounds, 14 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:
1st: Justen Fain, Springfield, Ohio, five bass, 20-14, $2,305
2nd: Brett Warrick, Westerville, Ohio, five bass, 19-6, $1,487
3rd: Brian Blinn, Troy, Ohio, five bass, 19-3, $768
4th: Nick Ireland, Davison, Mich., five bass, 18-8, $538
5th: Tyler Land, Coatsville, Ind., five bass, 17-15, $461
6th: Terry Bucciarelli, Ypsilanti, Mich., five bass, 17-9, $773
7th: Dennis Blakely, Norwalk, Ohio, five bass, 17-4, $384
8th: Brian Zelinskas, Beavercreek, Ohio, five bass, 17-3, $346
9th: Steve Sorrell, Beavercreek, Ohio, five bass, 16-14, $307
10th: Matthew Strickland, Portsmouth, Ohio, five bass, 16-12, $269
Brett Warrick of Westerville, Ohio, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $335, catching a bass that weighed in at 5 pounds, 3 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.
After two events, Chris Martinkovic of Hamilton, Ohio, leads the BFL Buckeye Presented by Rabid Baits Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 489 points, while Steve Sorrell of Beavercreek, Ohio, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 492 points.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five tournament winners of each qualifying event, will qualify for the Oct. 5-7 BFL Regional tournament on the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. Boaters will fish for a top award of $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while co-anglers will compete for a top award of $50,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.
The 2023 Phoenix BFL Presented by T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 events throughout the season, five qualifying tournaments in each division. The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five qualifying event winners, will advance to one of six BFL Regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American. The 2023 All-American event will take place May 31-June 2, on Lake Hartwell in Seneca, South Carolina. The event is hosted by Visit Oconee SC.
Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, General Tire, Grundéns, Gill, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Mystik Lubricants, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.