BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Boater Ryan Lachniet of Gum Spring, Virginia, caught six bass weighing 25 pounds, 5 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Dale Hollow Lake in Byrdstown, Tennessee. The tournament was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Mountain Division. Lachniet earned $5,387 for his victory.
“This was a good tournament for me,” said the 19-year-old Lachniet, who now has two BFL wins under his belt. “Sunday, at 8 o’clock, I caught a big smallmouth that weighed 4-14. I knew that if I could catch just two more 4-pounders I would probably win it. It took all day, but I eventually caught those two 4s.”
Lachniet said he focused the majority of his fishing near Sulphur Creek Resort and targeted suspended fish with a 3.3-inch Keitech Swing Impact FAT Swimbait. Lachniet said his method produced 25 to 30 bass between 2½ and 4 pounds each day of the tournament.
“Once I culled out a 3½-pounder with a 4-1, I was pretty confident,” Lachniet said. “I knew it was going to be close, but I was hoping I had enough.
“This win is pretty awesome,” Lachniet added. “I’ve been fishing BFLs for two years now and fished my first one when I was 17 on the James River.”
The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Mark Towe of Gallatin, Tennessee, had a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 9 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $690.
Ryan Crider of Kettering, Ohio, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,664 Sunday after catching a two-day total of six bass weighing 18 pounds, 6 ounces.
The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
Scotty Reagan of Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee, caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 3 pounds, 9 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $341.
With the regular season now complete, boater Christian Nash of Allons, Tennessee, won the 2023 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Mountain Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,320 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Allen Neal of Whitley City, Kentucky, won the 2023 Strike King Co-Angler Mountain Division AOY race with 1,288 points and earned the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.
Now, the Top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the division based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will advance to compete in the Oct. 19-21 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Lake Norman in Huntersville, North Carolina. 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 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 MLF Toyota Series, the pathway to the MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitationals and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour.
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.
For complete details and updated tournament information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular Bass Fishing League updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.