Gurdon’s Swayze throws Biffle Bug to earn victory at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Greers Ferry - Major League Fishing
Gurdon’s Swayze throws Biffle Bug to earn victory at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Greers Ferry
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Gurdon’s Swayze throws Biffle Bug to earn victory at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Greers Ferry

Bauxite’s Gilbert tops Strike King co-angler division
Image for Gurdon’s Swayze throws Biffle Bug to earn victory at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Greers Ferry
Boater winner Justin Swayze of Gurdon, Arkansas, and Strike-King co-angler winner Zach Gilbert of Bauxite, Arkansas.
March 25, 2024 • MLF • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

GREERS FERRY, Ark. – Boater Justin Swayze of Gurdon, Arkansas, caught a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces, Saturday to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine event on Greers Ferry. The tournament was the second event of the season for the BFL Arkie Division. Swayze earned $11,385, including the lucrative $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, for his victory.

During his practice, Swayze found prespawn bass staging around buck brush in 5 to 6 feet of water. At that time, the water temperatures ranged from the mid- to upper 50s. A cooldown accompanied by high winds the night prior to the tournament, and continuing on tournament day, knocked the water temperature back to the low 50s, which caused the fish to slide out.

“I started out where I’ve been catching them and they weren’t there,” Swayze said. “I looked on my graph and I could tell that they weren’t shallow. I took the (Garmin) LiveScope and just kind of shot it around the other side of the boat, and they were out in like 10, 12 feet of water.

“They were the same fish. Instead of running up the bank in 5, 6 feet of water, today (Saturday) they were running out in 10, 12 feet of water.”

Swayze said the fish were set up near some standing timber, and he caught them using his favorite big-bass bait for Greers Ferry: a Gene Larew Biffle Bug rigged on an 11/16-ounce Gene Larew Biffle Hardhead.

“I pretty much caught all of them like that,” added Swayze, who spent the whole tournament cycling through a few key stretches within one big mid-lake bay. “I caught probably 30 keepers.”

For Swayze, owner of a heat-and-air company, this is win No. 1 at the BFL level.

“I’ve gotten like second, third, fourth, fifth,” he said. “I’ve won a Toyota Series as a co-angler. I’ve always wanted to win as a boater on the BFL. And man, that’s hard to do. It feels good. It feels really good.”

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:        Justin Swayze, Gurdon, Ark., five bass, 14-13, $11,385 (includes $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
2nd:      C.J. Brustrom, Sulphur Rock, Ark., five bass, 14-8, $2,813
3rd:       Chip Hawkins, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 13-12, $1,243
3rd:       Dillon Smith, Harrisburg, Ark., five bass, 13-12, $1,243
5th:        Chris Darby, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 13-3, $877
6th:        Mike Webster, Pottsville, Ark., five bass, 12-15, $804
7th:        Carl Cole, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 12-14, $731
8th:        Brian Bean, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 12-13, $621
8th:        Travis Mosley, Benton, Ark., five bass, 12-13, $621
10th:     Chris Huselton, Conway, Ark., five bass, 12-11, $512

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

C.J. Brustrom of Sulphur Rock, Arkansas, caught a bass that weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $620.

Zach Gilbert of Bauxite, Arkansas, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,442 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 11 pounds, 4 ounces.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:        Zach Gilbert, Bauxite, Ark., five bass, 11-4, $2,422
2nd:       Jason Phillips, Rison, Ark., five bass, 11-0, $1,061
3rd:       Steve Meredith, Jessieville, Ark., five bass, 10-12, $707
4th:        Jody Jones, Harvey, Ark., five bass, 10-8, $495
5th:        Tim Dycus, Heber Springs, Ark., five bass, 10-7, $424
6th:        Buck Blackwell, Pine Bluff, Ark., five bass, 10-6, $489
7th:        Jonathan Dotson, Dover, Ark., five bass, 10-2, $354
8th:        Stan Harris, Searcy, Ark., five bass, 9-10, $318
9th:        Dwayne Allen, Maumelle, Ark., five bass, 9-9, $283
10th:     Jon Paulovich, Benton, Ark., five bass, 8-15, $248

Gilbert also earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $300, catching a bass that weighed in at 5 pounds – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After two events, Chris Darby of Hot Springs, Arkansas, leads the Fishing Clash Arkie Division Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 495 points, while Steve Meredith of Jessieville, Arkansas, leads the Fishing Clash Arkie Division Co-Angler of the Year race with 489 points.

The next event for BFL Arkie Division anglers will be held April 20, at DeGray Lake in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. To register for the event as a boater or a co-angler, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com or call 270-252-1000.

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. 17-19 BFL Regional tournament on Wright Patman Lake in Texarkana, Texas. Boaters will fish for a top award of $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Suzuki 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 or Suzuki outboard.

The 2024 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 2024 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, Fishing Clash, General Tire, GSM Outdoors, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota 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.

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