Claremore's Martin notches second win of the year at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Fort Gibson Lake - Major League Fishing
Claremore’s Martin notches second win of the year at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Fort Gibson Lake
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Claremore’s Martin notches second win of the year at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Fort Gibson Lake

Wagoner’s Hornbuckle handles Strike King co-angler Division
Image for Claremore’s Martin notches second win of the year at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Fort Gibson Lake
Boater T.J. Martin of Claremore, Oklahoma, and Strike-King co-angler Austin Hornbuckle of Wagoner, Oklahoma.
June 12, 2023 • MLF • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

WAGONER, Okla. – Boater T. J. Martin of Claremore, Oklahoma, caught a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 6 ounces, Saturday to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Fort Gibson Lake. The tournament was the fourth event of the season for the BFL Okie Division. Martin earned $12,686, including the lucrative $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, for his victory.

“I paid attention to which way the boats went at takeoff because the lake fishes very small,” Martin said. “So, I went down the lake to start and caught my first fish – a 4-pounder – on a squarebill crankbait in the first 30 minutes. Then I went back to mid-lake, near the Toppers area, and caught a limit and culled up three or four times.”

Martin said he later began fishing offshore humps and rock piles dragging a large worm, and culled up to 19 pounds. He said his efforts resulted in 25 keepers during the competition.

“In the morning I was throwing a topwater, but there were storms in the area, and I think the lightning and the thunder had the fish messed up on top,” Martin said. “After the storms cleared out it was still cloudy, and I wound up making one big cull with a (Rebel) Pop-R.”

Martin said he’s very familiar with Fort Gibson and told his co-angler if he could catch 19 pounds, he would have a chance to win the event.

“When I got to 19 pounds, I thought I had a 50% chance to win,” said Martin, who also won the BFL Lake of the Ozarks event in March. “So, this feels awesome. I’ve fished BFLs for years, and I’ve been very consistent and very frustrated at times, and I’ve wondered when it was going to be my time to win. I’ve been fishing a long time and waiting for a win, and for it to happen twice in one year is really awesome.”

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

  • 1st:       T. J. Martin, Claremore, Okla., five bass, 19-6, $12,686 (includes $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
  • 2nd:        Jeremy Johnson, Sapulpa, Okla., five bass, 18-9, $2,343
  • 3rd:        Chase Washburn, Harrah, Okla., five bass, 18-3, $1,562
  • 4th:         Steven McLarty, Broken Arrow, Okla., five bass, 16-11, $1,093
  • 5th:         Chris Torkleson, Sand Springs, Okla., five bass, 16-0, $937
  • 6th:         Brett Brumnett, Wagoner, Okla., five bass, 15-13, $859                 
  • 7th:         Rodney Copeland, Sallisaw, Okla., five bass, 15-3, $781
  • 8th:         Shawn Mote, Ardmore, Okla., five bass, 15-0, $703
  • 9th:         Tate Brumnett, Wagoner, Okla., five bass, 14-13, $625
  • 10th:      Dennis Berhorst, Holts Summit, Mo., five bass, 14-11, $547

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Chris Ogan of Bixby, Oklahoma, caught a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 10 ounces to earn the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $690.

Austin Hornbuckle of Wagoner, Oklahoma, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,343 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 15 pounds, 4 ounces.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished: 

  • 1st:          Austin Hornbuckle, Wagoner, Okla., five bass, 15-4, $2,343
  • 2nd:        Scott Stallings, Glencoe, Okla., five bass, 12-8, $1,172
  • 3rd:        Justin Nobles, Owasso, Okla., five bass, 12-4, $781
  • 4th:         Blake Gunderson, Claremore, Okla., five bass, 12-2, $547
  • 5th:         Jim Kopff, Old Monroe, Mo., five bass, 11-15, $469
  • 6th:         Thad Hewitt, Delaware, Okla., four bass, 11-8, $430
  • 7th:         David Hamilton, Rogers, Ark., four bass, 11-5, $391
  • 8th:         Tim Noyes, Broken Arrow, Okla., five bass, 11-4, $351
  • 9th:         Kurt Gordon, Cushing, Okla., five bass, 10-12, $462
  • 10th:      Cord Colwell, Pryor, Okla., four bass, 10-5, $473

Mike Clark of Spiro, Oklahoma, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $345, catching a bass that weighed in at 5 pounds, 1 ounce – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After four events, Jeremy Johnson of Sapulpa, Oklahoma, leads the BFL Okie Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 930 points, while Porky Roberts of Morris, Oklahoma, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 892 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. 19-21 BFL Regional tournament on Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. 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.

Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 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, Mystik Lubricants, 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.