The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine season is in full swing again with six more divisions holding competition the weekend of June 13, including three double-headers.
Below is a rundown of how all the winners took home the hardware this past weekend.
Arkie Division – Lake Dardanelle – June 13
Due to heat, both the Saturday and Sunday events in the Arkie Division featured three-bass limits.
Boater Wayne Dixon of Morrilton, Ark., brought three bass to the scale totaling 10 pounds, 11 ounces to win Saturday’s event and notch the second win of his career.
“The tough conditions played to my advantage,” says Dixon. “I fished on the lower end of the lake, fishing rock and brush that was 5 to 15 feet deep. I caught seven keepers on multiple different baits.”
Arkie Division – Lake Dardanelle – June 14
Mabelvale’s Quincy Houchin was the big winner on the weekend as he finished second for the Saturday tournament – good for $3,139 – and then backed it up with a win on Sunday weighing 13-14 for his best three. The win earned him the top prize of $12,309, including the lucrative $7,000 FLW PHOENIX Bonus contingency award.
Houchin caught his fish throwing a black buzzbait and flipping a Beaver-style plastic.
“The key was staying consistent with it,” Houchin says. “I figured out a little something – certain targets and how they lined up on the bank – and that was key this weekend.
“I started at the same place I caught a big one on Saturday and never caught a fish,” Houchin adds. “I started working my way upriver and I ended up finding them. They bit much more aggressively [Sunday].”
Bama Division – Neely Henry Lake – June 13
Smith fished shallow, flipping to wood and isolated grass clumps in the mid-lake area, while Nixon used nine different rods and junk-fished his way to a solid limit. Nixon says his key bait was flipping a watermelon red flake-colored Zoom Brush Hog.
“It was a tough practice, so I just kept a bait in the water,” Nixon says. “I culled one time and caught two short fish – only eight bites all day.”
Bama Division – Neely Henry Lake – June 14
Running upriver on Sunday, Hunter Hayes of Gadsden, Ala., brought in a limit weighing 14 pounds, 12 ounces to earn the win.
Targeting laydowns with a crankbait was the key to Hayes’ success.
“I knew how tough the grass was yesterday, so today (Sunday) I went way up the river fishing for spotted bass,” he says. “I got lucky and caught a nice 4-pound largemouth and ended up filling out my limit with 2 1/4-pound spots.
“I caught my fish on a (Rapala) DT6 crankbait in chartreuse with a blue top,” Hayes says. “There was no pressure up the river – I might have seen five other boats all day.”
Cowboy Division – Lake of the Pines – June 13
Boater Brett Hortman of Natchitoches, La., earned the win Saturday after bringing a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 26 pounds, 11 ounces. For his victory, Hortman earned $4,315.
The tournament was the fourth of five events in the Cowboy Division presented by A.R.E. Truck Caps.
Having never been on the lake before, Hortman spent two days idling offshore and found a few good schools of fish.
“I was mid-lake, fishing secondary points,” says Hortman, who earned the first tournament win of his FLW career. “I was mainly fishing around 10 feet of water, throwing a 5/16-ounce magnum shaky head-rig with a Zoom Magnum Trick Worm (red bug).”
Great Lakes Division – Wolf River Chain – June 13
Boater Joe Pollak of Lake Geneva, Wis., brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 15 pounds, 2 ounces to win $5,127.
Pollak was targeting smallmouths, but he wound up catching a few largemouths to weigh in a mixed bag.
“I went up the Wolf River and ended up catching a few fish on swim jigs,” says Pollak, who earned his third career victory in FLW competition. “I didn’t really catch them good, and it took a little bit to figure them out. Towards the end of the day I switched to a Carolina rig as I was fishing back down and upgraded a few times.”
LBL Division – Kentucky and Barkley lakes – June 13
Boater Charles Jones of Beech Bluff, Tenn., brought three bass to the scale Saturday weighing 12 pounds, 9 ounces to win the second title of his career. Due to heat, the LBL Division event was a three-fish limit.
Already in the FLW record books for his BFL win as a boater on Kentucky and Barkley in 2014, the 75-year-old Jones broke his own record and became the second-oldest angler to ever win as a boater in the BFL’s modern era. Only fellow Tennessean George Taylor of Dresden was older – he won a BFL event in 2014 at the age of 77.
“It feels pretty good to get a win at this age,” Jones says. “I had a good day – I caught everything that bit. I thought I was going to need one more good one, but it turns out that I didn’t.
“I was fishing ledges in Tennessee,” the Beech Bluff angler goes on to say. “Everything I caught came on a Strike King jig with a Rage Craw trailer.”
North Carolina Division – High Rock Lake – June 13
Brian Morgan of Sherrills Ford, N.C., brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 22 pounds even to win Saturday’s event.
The win was the second of his career.
North Carolina Division – High Rock Lake – June 14
Kevin Chandler of New London, N.C., brought in a limit weighing 19 pounds, 3 ounces on Sunday to pocket $4,359 in winnings.
This was his seventh career victory.