CLANTON, Ala. – Boater Brent Reaves of Alexander City, Alabama, caught a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 5 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Mitchell. The tournament was the second event for the BFL Bama Division. Reaves earned $4,889 for his victory.
“Spotted bass on Lake Mitchell this time of year are notorious for holding on seawalls,” said Reaves. “So that’s what I looked for.”
Reaves said he targeted deep seawalls near channel swings in creeks, knowing the cold front that had passed through would most likely have early spawners holding close to deeper water. He said he dragged a shaky-head rig with a YUM Dinger along the seawalls to entice bites. Reaves said the shaky-head rig produced 25 to 30 keepers for him during the course of the tournament.
“I moved upriver to the dam to try to get a big fish, because I really didn’t think 15 pounds would win this tournament,” Reaves said. “I fished behind a lot of boats today and caught fish all day when those boats weren’t. Maybe they weren’t using the right worm; I don’t know. It was just my day.
“I’ve been doing this for a while now and haven’t gotten close to winning,” Reaves said. “So, this is awesome. This is a great accomplishment for me. I’m just an average fisherman out here against these guys.”
The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:
1st: Brent Reaves, Alexander City, Ala., five bass, 15-5, $4,889
2nd: Garrett Warren, Hoover, Ala., five bass, 14-11, $1,944
3rd: Wesley Gore, Clanton, Ala., five bass, 14-10, $1,297
4th: Christian Rich, Eufaula, Ala., five bass, 14-9, $907
5th: Tyler Wesley, Blountsville, Ala., five bass, 14-6, $778
6th: Roger Shirey, Ashland, Ala., five bass, 14-0, $713
7th: Conner Neal, Hoover, Ala., five bass, 13-12, $648
8th: Russ Haughton, Verbena, Ala., five bass, 13-10, $783
9th: Michael Smith, Andalusia, Ala., five bass, 13-8, $519
10th: Jonathan Wills, Dallas, Ga., five bass, 13-5, $454
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Lance Spencer of Donalsonville, Georgia, caught a bass that weighed 4 pounds, 15 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $525.
Will Jones of Andalusia, Alabama, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,206 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 13 pounds, 12 ounces.
The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:
1st: Will Jones, Andalusia, Ala, five bass, 13-12, $2,206
2nd: Jeffery McCoy, Montgomery, Ala., five bass, 12-1, $972
3rd: Barry Jones, Verbena, Ala., five bass, 11-14, $649
4th: Stuart Vitollo, Vance, Ala., five bass, 11-10, $454
5th: Ben Caldwell, Hartselle, Ala., five bass, 11-7, $389
6th: Chad Macks, Robertsdale, Ala., five bass, 11-2, $340
6th: Roderick Hannah, Moody, Ala., five bass, 11-2, $340
8th: Joseph Chilcott, Williamson, Ga., five bass, 11-1, $292
9th: Chris Allen, Bremen, Ga., five bass, 10-10, $243
9th: Brad Smith, Montevallo, Ala., five bass, 10-10, $243
Jones also earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $262, catching a bass that weighed in at 4 pounds, 11 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.
After two events, Garrett Warren of Hoover, Alabama, leads the BFL Bama Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 499 points, while Obrien Brown of Pinson, Alabama, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 479 points.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five tournament winners of each qualifying event, will qualify for the Oct. 12-14 BFL Regional tournament on Dale Hollow Lake in Byrdstown, Tennessee. 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 2023 All-American event will take place May 31-June 2, on Lake Hartwell in Seneca, South Carolina. The event is hosted by Visit Oconee SC.
Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 4WP, 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, 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.