The weekend of June 6 featured six different Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine events spread across four different divisions. With a pair of double-headers mixed in, it was an action-packed weekend on the water.
Below you can read up on how the winners got it done.
Okie Division – Lake Eufaula – June 6
In the first Okie Division event of the weekend, boater Heath Eldridge of McAlester, Oklahoma, brought five bass to the scale totaling 18 pounds, 1 ounce to win Saturday’s event.
“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 says the majority of his bass came on a shaky head with a junebug-colored GrandeBass Airtail worm, but he also added a solid keeper on a shad-colored Bomber crankbait.
Okie Division – Lake Eufaula – June 7
On Sunday, boater Hayden Burkett of Bokchito, Oklahoma, brought in three bass weighing 15 pounds, 8 ounces, to earn the win. Due to the heat, Sunday’s event featured a three-fish limit, and Burkett was one of two anglers to pass the 15-pound mark with their three bass.
“I was mainly cranking, 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. One of his three fish was a 7-13, which was also the day’s Big Bass.
Piedmont Division – High Rock Lake – June 6
Boater Jason Thomas of Lexington, North Carolina, earned the win Saturday at High Rock with five for 17 pounds, 10 ounces. For his victory, Thomas earned a total of $11,794, including the lucrative $7,000 FLW PHOENIX Bonus contingency award. The victory was the first win of Thomas’ FLW career.
Thomas says he ran creeks, particularly focusing on Second Creek.
“Pretty much the only creeks that I didn’t fish today were Abbott’s Creek, or up the river,” Thomas says. “I caught a few on a jig, but then things got tough and I switched to a shaky-head rig to fill out my limit.”
Mountain Division – Dale Hollow Lake – June 6
Boater Dustin Cooper of Livingston, Tennessee, brought a five-bass limit to the scale totaling 18 pounds, 3 ounces to win Saturday’s event.
“I fished on the lower end of the lake, close to the dam,” says Cooper, who earned the first win of his career. “I was fishing offshore humps all day, throwing a Zoom Ol’ Monster worm.
“I’ve got a lot of experience here, and it paid off big for me. I know where the fish like to go in their summertime patterns and it worked out today.”
Mountain Division – Dale Hollow Lake – June 7
Brad Adkins of West Liberty, Kentucky, brought in a limit weighing 18 pounds, 8 ounces on Sunday to earn the win.
On Sunday, Adkins won the event flipping a jig, throwing a Carolina rig and on a crankbait.
“I caught a big one early flipping, then it really slowed down on me,” Adkins says. “Around 11 o’clock I caught two on a Carolina rig. A little later my co-angler caught one on a drop-shot rig and when he brought that fish up, there were 40 to 50 fish right with it.
“So, I picked up a crankbait and caught them right then in a flurry. It happened quick and was magical for about 30 minutes. It was one of the same spots where I caught a few Saturday, but today it was just lights-out.
“When it’s your time, it’s your time and everything just came together for me.”
Buckeye Division – Indian Lake – June 6
Boater John Barnett of Huntsville, Ohio, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 13 pounds even to win on Indian Lake. The tournament was the first of five events in the Buckeye Division presented by A.R.E. Truck Caps.
“I fished on the north end of the lake, by Long Island,” says Barnett, who earned his first career FLW win. “I was punching a mixture of grass – a lot of coon tail – keying in on patches that had deeper water around it. I got most of my good bites around 3½- to 4-foot-deep, which on this lake is relatively deep.”
Punching beaver and craw baits, Barnett swapped between ¾- and 1 ¼-ounce weights.
“I found those fish two weeks ago and pretty much just expanded on my area,” Barnett says. “I had a set game plan of what I wanted to do in this tournament, and everything worked out for me.”