Boater Chris Nelson of Social Circle, Georgia, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 50 pounds, 13 ounces to win the no-entry fee Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Regional Championship at Lake Lanier. For his victory, Nelson earned $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and automatic entry into the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, June 3-5, at Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee.
“I rotated between 8 to 10 places all three days, fishing brush piles on offshore humps in 25 to 30 feet of water from about mid-lake to the dam,” said Nelson. “I was mostly using a ½-ounce shaky head with a Zoom Magnum Swamp Crawler and had great success with it.”
Nelson said he caught fish the same way in practice as well and felt his victory ultimately came down to timing.
“I probably hit the same brush piles at that depth range two to three times per day, all three days,” said Nelson. “If they weren’t biting early, I could usually get bit later in the afternoon.
“The sunshine definitely helped that bite – I didn’t catch as many on the final day due to the cloud cover, but we still came out well in the end.”
Nelson said winning a Regional Championship felt amazing.
“This is by far the biggest accomplishment I’ve had in my fishing career,” Nelson continued. “My primary goal was to qualify for the All-American and I got that done and am taking home a new boat, so I can’t ask for any more than that out of this tournament.”
The top six boaters that qualified for 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American:
1st: Chris Nelson of Social Circle, Ga., 15 bass, 50-13, $60,000
2nd: Randy Dover of Buford, Ga., 15 bass, 50-6, $10,000
3rd: Trent Palmer of Cumming, Ga., 15 bass, 45-15, $5,500
4th: Cody Hoyle of Rutherfordton, N.C., 15 bass, 45-2, $3,000
5th: Collin Smith of Honea Path, S.C., 15 bass, 44-9, $2,000
6th: Jr. McCay of Robertstown, Ga., 15 bass, 44-1, $1,800
Rounding out the top 12 boaters:
7th: Brad Benfield of Demorest, Ga., 15 bass, 42-1, $1,600
8th: Heath Pack of Ellijay, Ga., 15 bass, 40-6, $1,400
9th: David Nichol of Gainesville, Ga., 14 bass, 39-15, $1,400
10th: Christian Greico of Tampa, Fla., 14 bass, 34-13, $1,000
11th: Jason Reed of Hollister, Fla., 11 bass, 34-2, $1,000
12th: Justin Raines of Easley, S.C., 13 bass, 33-5, $1,000
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Palmer took home an extra $500 as the highest finishing FLW PHOENIX BONUS member. 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.
Henderson wins co-angler title
Kevin Henderson of Honea Path, South Carolina, weighed in 11 bass over three days totaling 29 pounds, 4 ounces to win the top co-angler prize package of $50,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.
The top six co-anglers that qualified for the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American:
1st: Kevin Henderson of Honea Path, S.C., 11 bass, 29-4, $50,000
2nd: Randy Paquette of Sarasota, Fla., 11 bass, 23-12, $5,000
3rd: John Wilson of Six Mile, S.C., nine bass, 22-13, $2,500
4th: Mickey Bergeron of Amherst, Va., 11 bass, 22-11, $1,500
5th: Sam Loveless of Somerset, Ky., 10 bass, 21-12, $1,000
6th: Dustin Elrod of Jasper, Ga., nine bass, 21-5, $900
Rounding out the top 12 co-anglers:
7th: Jason Hinger of Timberlake, N.C., eight bass, 21-1, $1,250
8th: Mike Twitty of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., nine bass, 20-5, $700
9th: B.K. Kelley of Colonial Heights, V.A., eight bass, 20-5, $600
10th: Trevor Wright of Chesterfield, Va., nine bass, 20-2, $500
11th: Chris Graham of Blue Ridge, Ga., eight bass, 19-15, $500
12th: Jeff White of Rhoadesville, Va., seven bass, 17-6, $500
The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Regional Championship on Lake Lanier was hosted by the Gainesville Convention and Visitors Bureau. It featured the top pros and co-anglers from the Gator (Florida), Music City (Tennessee), Piedmont (North Carolina/Virginia) and Savannah River (South Carolina/Georgia) divisions.