Illinois Angler Mike Feldermann earns impressive 12th career victory at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Mississippi River in La Crosse - Major League Fishing
Illinois Angler Mike Feldermann earns impressive 12th career victory at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Mississippi River in La Crosse
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Illinois Angler Mike Feldermann earns impressive 12th career victory at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Mississippi River in La Crosse

Beloit’s Goodyear tops Strike King co-angler division
Image for Illinois Angler Mike Feldermann earns impressive 12th career victory at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Mississippi River in La Crosse
April 29, 2024 • MLF • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Boater Mike Feldermann of Galena, Illinois, caught a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds even Saturday to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Hosted by Explore La Crosse, the tournament was the first event of the season for the BFL Great Lakes Division. Feldermann earned $4,116 for his victory.

While Feldermann lives almost three hours away from La Crosse in Illinois, he’s no newcomer to that stretch of the Mississippi River. He’s fished there plenty of times over his longstanding BFL career. Feldermann started competing on the circuit in 1991 and has fished the All-American four times. This is his 12th career BFL win.  

Feldermann relied on past experience to form his Mississippi River game plan. First, he knew he’d target largemouth bass only.

“I think the Top 10 guys except for me were all (targeting) smallmouth,” he said. “I never fish for smallmouth because it’s one of those deals where they’re kind of fool’s gold. They’re there one day and gone the next. I feel more comfortable fishing largemouth.”

Knowing he was going to target largemouths, Feldermann just had to find the right patches of grass, which he found in three areas of Pool No. 8 where the tournament launched. One particular area really produced for him in the morning.

“I was throwing a spinnerbait and ChatterBait in about 3 foot of water,” he said. “I was fishing basically about a quarter-of-a-mile weed flat. I had a limit by 7:30, and I just kind of caught them throughout the day.”

The key spot had a mixture of aquatic grasses and a depth change – from about 3 feet deep on top, dropping off to about 7 feet. 

“You were pretty limited on what you could fish just for the simple fact it was 20 or 30 mph winds,” he said. “I stayed out on the flat. It was a little easier to fish the flat than to fish the bank.”

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

  • 1st:          Mike Feldermann, Galena, Ill., five, bass, 23-0, $4,116
  • 2nd:        John Engler, Vinton, Iowa, five bass, 21-14, $2,320 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
  • 3rd:        Zach Williamson, Stoddard, Wis., five bass, 21-7, $1,214
  • 4th:         Rick Ragner, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 21-6, $850
  • 5th:         Kevin Ruh, Onalaska, Wis., five bass, 20-7, $728
  • 6th:         Hunter Litchfield, Macomb, Ill., five bass, 20-4, $668
  • 7th:         Randy Wieczorek, Buffalo City, Wis., five bass, 19-9, $607
  • 8th:         Ryan Lewis, Glasford, Ill., five bass, 19-2, $971
  • 9th:         Jacob Ambrose, La Crosse, Wis., five bass ,19-1, $485
  • 10th:      Bill Sepke, Indian Head Park, Ill., five bass, 18-14, $425
  • Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Feldermann caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 1 ounce, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $475.

David Goodyear of Beloit, Wisconsin, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,057 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 21 pounds, 3 ounces.

The Top 11 Strike King co-anglers finished: 

  • 1st:          David Goodyear, Beloit, Wis., five bass, 21-3, $2,057
  • 2nd:        Parker Kratochvill, Onalaska, Wis., five bass, 20-14, $910
  • 3rd:        Jason Olson, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., five bass, 19-7, $607
  • 4th:         Hector Garcia, Elgin, Ill., five bass, 16-14, $425
  • 5th:         Chris Stelter, Chisago City, Minn., five bass, 16-12, $364
  • 6th:         Lee Lewis, Peoria, Ill., five bass, 16-2, $334
  • 7th:         Matthew Vang, Milwaukee, Wis., five bass, 15-0, $303
  • 8th:         Robert Beaman, Sauk Rapids, Minn., five bass, 14-15, $258
  • 8th:         Hertz Skaer, Holmen, Wis., five bass, 14-15, $258
  • 10th:      Mai Xiong, Milwaukee, Wis., five bass, 14-10, $201
  • 10th:      Austin Frye, Ontario, Wis., five bass, 14-10, $201

Goodyear also earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $237 by catching a bass that weighed in at 5 pounds, 3 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

The next event for BFL Great Lakes Division anglers will be held May 18, at the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin. 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. 10-12 BFL Regional tournament on the Mississippi River Pools 13-17 in Quad Cities, Illinois. 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, REDCON1, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, WIX Filters 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.