Byrdstown’s Rich scrambles, wins at home at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Dale Hollow Lake - Major League Fishing
Byrdstown’s Rich scrambles, wins at home at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Dale Hollow Lake
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Byrdstown’s Rich scrambles, wins at home at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Dale Hollow Lake

Old Hickory’s Bleiler tops Strike King co-angler division
Image for Byrdstown’s Rich scrambles, wins at home at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Dale Hollow Lake
March 15, 2023 • MLF • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Boater Tanner Rich of Byrdstown, Tennessee, caught a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Dale Hollow Lake. The tournament, hosted by Star Point Marina, was the first event for the BFL Music City Division. Rich earned $5,261 for his victory.

“I haven’t fished a lot of BFL tournaments as a boater, and I knew I was only going to get one day of practice for the tournament, so I looked for anything that might be different from what everybody else was doing,” Rich said. “I found some fish, but when I pulled up to my first stop those fish were gone.

“I had to scrap my plan and adjust,” Rich said. “And it turned out to be one of those days where I just really caught them well.”

Rich said he scrambled and ran “all over the lake” from Star Point Resort to the dam, targeting prespawn bass that were staging. Rich said he employed the use of a swimbait to catch his winning weight.

“It was like putting a puzzle together,” Rich said. “It was unreal.

“Anybody who fishes a BFL on Dale Hollow knows how hard that tournament is to win,” Rich said. “And it is so hard to win on your home lake because of the pressure you put on yourself. I’ve got a great wife who supports me and allows me go fishing. So, I just put the pressure out of my mind and just went fishing.”

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

                1st:        Tanner Rich, Byrdstown, Tenn., five bass, 23-1, $5,261
                2nd:       Lee Sinclair, Albany, Ky., five bass, 22-1, $2,631
                3rd:       Grant Adams, Campbellsville, Ky., five bass, 21-12, $1,753
                4th:        Blake Knies, Jasper, Ind., five bass, 21-6, $1,228
                5th:        Alex Wright, Bowling Green, Ky., five, 21-4, $1,052
                6th:        Michael Tuck, Old Hickory, Tenn., five bass, 20-13, $965
                7th:        Gavin Cloutier, Jonesboro, Tenn., five bass, 20-9, $877
                8th:        Brody Campbell, Oxford, Ohio, five bass, 20-5, $1,089
                9th:        Blake Smith, Byrdstown, Tenn., five bass, 19-15, $701
                10th:     Ryan Davidson, Branchland, W.V., five bass, 19-8, $2,154 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Ryan Davidson of Branchland, West Virginia, caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds even and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $820.

Chad Bleiler of Old Hickory, Tennessee, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,631 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 17 pounds, 1 ounce.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

                1st:        Chad Bleiler, Old Hickory, Tenn., five bass, 17-1, $2,631
                2nd:       Martin Green, Nashville, Tenn., five bass, 14-11, $1,315
                3rd:       Joey von Hoene, Erlanger, Ky., five bass, 14-3, $877
                4th:        Jacob Frawley, Spring Hill, Tenn., five bass, 14-2, $614
                5th:        Kevin Jones, Fort Campbell, Ky., five, 12-7, $526
                6th:        Brian Mahon, Batavia, Ohio, four bass, 12-5, $482
                7th:        Rocky Williams, Portland, Tenn., five bass, 12-2, $638
                8th:        Blake Whittaker, Lenoir City, Tenn., four bass, 10-14, $395
                9th:        Travis Parrott, Byrdstown, Tenn., three bass, 10-6, $351
                10th:     Christopher Stites Jr., La Vergne, Tenn., four bass, 9-11, $307

Mark Gilbert of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $410, catching a bass that weighed in at 5 pounds, 2 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

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 Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama. 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 through 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 FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.