Carl wins Eufaula Regional by more than 8 pounds off one magic dock - Major League Fishing
Carl wins Eufaula Regional by more than 8 pounds off one magic dock
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Carl wins Eufaula Regional by more than 8 pounds off one magic dock

Strike King co-angler victory goes to Arkansas’ James
Image for Carl wins Eufaula Regional by more than 8 pounds off one magic dock
Boater Cody Carl of Lotawana, Missouri, and Strike-King co-angler Philip James of Benton, Arkansas.
October 10, 2023 • MLF • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

EUFAULA, Okla. – Boater Cody Carl of Lotawana, Missouri, brought a three-day total of 14 bass to the scale weighing 41 pounds even to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Regional Event on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Oklahoma. Carl earned $60,000 for his win, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000. Carl also received automatic entry into the 2024 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American, May 29-31, at Cherokee Lake in Jefferson County, Tennessee.

“This was a whirlwind,” Carl said. “I didn’t get a keeper bite in four days of practice. The first day of the tournament I started out running points where I thought maybe I could get a keeper bite. That didn’t happen for me, so, I just started fishing my strength – flipping docks.”

Carl said he had never fished Lake Eufaula, and decided his best approach would be to fish how he would on his home water of Lake of the Ozarks and see what happened.

“Before the first day of the tournament I wanted to pack it up and go home,” Carl said. “I knew I just had to put my head down and grind. So, I just started fishing like I knew how, and I stumbled across this ‘magic’ dock that produced all my fish for three days.”

Later in the afternoon on the tournament’s opening day, Carl said he came across a dock that had set up just right for bass at this time of year. There was a cold front moving in, water temperatures were dropping, the dock sat in 8 feet of water on one side and 17 on the other, and shad were funneling into the dock, providing a perfect ambush spot for bass. 

“I didn’t have anything else,” Carl said. “I left it Thursday just hoping the fish would be there again on Friday.

“On Day 2 I tried to run some other things early in the morning, but it didn’t pan out, so I returned to the dock about 10:30,” Carl said. “Within an hour and a half, I had my limit. Saturday, I did the same thing and had a limit of fish by 9:30.”

All told, Carl said he caught 40 keepers off the dock throughout the tournament. In addition to fishing just one dock, Carl said he used just one bait during the tournament to catch his bass – a Zoom Brush Hog with a 3/8-ounce weight.

Carl said when he had landed around 13 pounds by 1:30 p.m. on the second day of competition, he left the fish biting to save them for the final day.

“It occurred to me I really had something going on and that I could win it if the fish stayed,” Carl said. “The cold front that moved in late Friday night scared me a little bit, but I rolled in there and caught a 5-pounder on my third cast. I just kept grinding it out for almost 18 pounds Saturday.

“This feels great,” Carl said. “This is my first year as a boater. It’s emotional for me because you want to prove what you can do out here and when it’s your time, it’s your time.”

The top six boaters qualified for the 2024 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American

1st:          Cody Carl, Lotawana, Mo., 14 bass, 41-0, $60,000
2nd:        Ian Leybas, McAlester, Okla., 13 bass, 32-13, $11,450
3rd:        Austin Lawson, Charleston, Ark., 15 bass, 31-13, $6,000
4th:         Phil Smith, Orange, Texas, 12 bass, 31-12, $3,000
5th:         Jeff Clark, Van Buren, Ark., 15 bass, 28-14, $2,300
6th:         Thomas Rallo, Eldon, Mo., 12 bass, 28-14, $2,800

Rounding out the Top 10 boaters were:

7th:         Lance Williams, Billings, Mo., 13 bass, 28-5, $1,600
8th:         Alton Wilhoit, Noble, Okla., 12 bass, 28-0, $1,400
9th:         Trevor Bartlett, Grain Valley, Mo., 14 bass, 26-6, $1,200
10th:      Christopher Smith, North Branch, Minn., 11 bass, 25-1, $1,600 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)

Complete results

The Regional featured bonuses for the best from each division as well as All-American qualification.

The top four boaters from each division that earned a $1,000 bonus for placing highest in the event were:

Arkie:                      Austin Lawson, Charleston, Ark., 3rd Place, $1,000
Cowboy:                  Ian Leybas, McAlester, Okla. 2nd Place, $1,000
Mississippi:             Adam Brister, Meadville, Miss., 47th Place, $1,000
Ozark:                     Thomas Rallo, Eldon, Mo., 6th Place $1,000

Smith took home an extra $500 as the highest-finishing Phoenix MLF Bonus member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

James best on the co-angler side

Philip James of Benton, Arkansas, weighed in nine bass over three days totaling 22 pounds, 13 ounces to win the top Strike King co-angler prize package of $50,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The top six Strike King co-anglers qualified for the 2024 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American

1st:           Philip James, Benton, Ark., nine bass, 22-13, $50,000
2nd:          Jody Jones, Harvey, Ark., eight bass, 18-7, $5,500
3rd:          Jeremy White, Dittmer, Mo., eight bass, 16-9, $3,000
4th:           Caleb Welch, Bolivar, Mo., five bass, 14-13, $2,000
5th:           Douglas Guidorzi, Fenton, Mo., seven bass, 14-2, $1,000
6th:           Kris McCarter, Pheba, Miss., six bass, 13-8, $1,600

Rounding out the Top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:

7th:           David Hamilton, Rogers, Ark., five bass, 13-7, $800
8th:           Bubba Wright, Ridgeland, Miss., five bass, 12-4, $700
9th:           Ben Bromley, Odessa, Mo., five bass, 11-12, $800
10th:         Shaun Smith, Smithville, Mo., six bass, 10-14, $550

The top four Strike King Co-anglers from each division that earned a $500 bonus for placing highest in the event were:

Arkie:                      Jody Jones, Harvey, Ark., 2nd Place, $500
Cowboy:                  Leavitt Hamilton, Gonzales, La., 13th Place, $500
Mississippi:             Kris McCarter, Pheba, Miss., 6th Place, $500
Ozark:                     Jeremy White, Dittmer, Mo., 3rd Place $500

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Regional Tournament on Lake Eufaula was hosted by the Eufaula Area Chamber of Commerce. It featured the top pros and Strike King co-anglers from the Arkie, Cowboy, Mississippi and Ozark divisions.