It was a double-header for bass anglers this past weekend in Eufaula with the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine on Eufaula Lake events. FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, rescheduled the events after the coronavirus pandemic forced the organization to pause competition in mid-March.
Boater Heath Eldridge of McAlester, Oklahoma, brought five bass to the scale totaling 18 pounds, 1 ounce to win Saturday’s event, while boater Hayden Burkett of Bokchito, Oklahoma, brought in three bass weighing 15 pounds, 8 ounces, on Sunday to earn the win. Eldridge earned a total of $5,380 for his victory and Burkett won Sunday’s top prize of $5,779.
“I had boat issues, so I only was able to run 3 or 4 miles from takeoff,” says Eldridge, who earned his first BFL victory as a boater. “There was no wind, but there was a lot of boat traffic, so I found some current near some rip rap on bridges and that turned out to be the key area.”
Eldridge said the majority of his bass came on a shaky-head rig with a junebug-colored GrandeBass Airtail worm, but he also added a solid keeper on a shad-colored Bomber crankbait.
The top five boaters on Saturday:
1st: Heath Eldridge of McAlester, Okla., five bass, 18-1, $5,380
2nd: Brandon Mosley of Choctaw, Okla., five bass, 16-13, $2,690
3rd: Jeremy Whitson of Denison, Texas, five bass, 16-7, $1,794
4th: Nick Kincaid of Coweta, Okla., five bass, 15-5, $1,255
5th: Mark Johnson of Weleetka, Okla., five bass, 15-1, $1,031
5th: Samuel Byrd of Tahlequah, Okla., five bass, 15-1, $1,031
Complete results for Saturday can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Cory Carter of Muskogee, Oklahoma, brought a 5-pound, 11-ounce bass to the scale to win Saturday’s Boater Big Bass award of $855.
Justin Lillie of Edmond, Oklahoma, was the highest-finishing FLW PHOENIX BONUS member and took home an extra $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 FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
Schmidt wins co-angler title Saturday
Chad Schmidt of Clearwater, Kansas, won the Co-angler Division and $2,690 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 13 pounds, 15 ounces.
The top five co-anglers Saturday:
1st: Chad Schmidt of Clearwater, Kan., five bass, 13-15, $2,690
2nd: Billy Johnson of McAlester, Okla., five bass, 12-11, $1,345
3rd: Randy Staton of Muskogee, Okla., five bass, 12-10, $899
4th: Eli Brumnett of Wagoner, Okla., five bass, 12-9, $628
5th: Bill Black of McAlester, Okla., five bass, 12-3, $538
Danny Kindle of Stilwell, Oklahoma, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division Saturday, weighing in at 4 pounds, 8 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $427.
Burkett wins Boater title on Sunday
Due to the extreme heat on Sunday, Tournament Director Robert Evans made the decision to change the format to a three-fish limit – instead of the normal five – and opened the scales at noon for anyone that wanted to weigh their fish early.
Hayden Burkett took advantage of Evans change, bringing in three bass – including the day’s big bass – right at noon and earning the win.
“I was mainly cranking them a little bit, but I also had a little dock pattern going,” says Burkett. “Everywhere I went today, I was catching them. I caught a big one out deep, and I caught a big one fishing docks.”
Burkett mentioned his crankbait of choice was a Sexy Shad-colored Strike King Series 6, but did not divulge the baits that he used on the docks.
The top five boaters on Sunday:
1st: Hayden Burkett of Bokchito, Okla., three bass, 15-8, $5,779
2nd: Jeremy Whitson of Denison, Texas, three bass, 15-4, $2,507
3rd: James Marsh of Thomas, Okla., three bass, 12-1, $1,670
4th: Lance Williams of Billings, Mo., three bass, 11-1, $1,170
5th: Dane Coale of Norman, Okla., three bass, 10-13, $1,003
Complete results for Sunday’s event on Dale Hollow can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Burkett brought a 7-pound, 13-ounce lunker to the scale Sunday to add to his winnings and earn the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $765.
Bradfield wins co-angler title
Steve Bradfield of Claremore, Oklahoma, won the Co-angler Division and $2,474 Sunday after catching three bass weighing 8 pounds, 13 ounces.
The top five co-anglers Sunday:
1st: Steve Bradfield of Claremore, Okla., three bass, 8-13, $2,474
2nd: Dalton Ross of Centerton, Ark., three bass, 8-9, $1,237
3rd: Raymond Moody of Norman, Okla., three bass, 8-7, $824
4th: Cody Abbott of Fort Gibson, Okla., three bass, 8-2, $536
4th: Hunter Alsip of Chouteau, Okla., three bass, 8-2, $536
Michael Wood of Guthrie, Oklahoma caught Sunday’s largest bass in the Co-angler Division, weighing in at 5 pounds, 1 ounce. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $377.
The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Double-Header on Eufaula Lake was the first and second of five qualifying events in the Okie Division.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the Okie Division based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 22-24 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, hosted by ExploreBranson.com. 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 co-anglers will fish for a new 18-foot Phoenix bass boat with a 200-horsepower outboard.