Killen’s Beck catches 28-7 limit of smallmouth to win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Pickwick Lake - Major League Fishing
Killen’s Beck catches 28-7 limit of smallmouth to win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Pickwick Lake
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Killen’s Beck catches 28-7 limit of smallmouth to win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Pickwick Lake

Bell, of Starkville, Mississippi, tops Strike King co-angler division
Image for Killen’s Beck catches 28-7 limit of smallmouth to win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Pickwick Lake
Boater winner Donny Beck of Killen, Alabama, and Strike-King co-angler winner Brandon Bell of Starkville, Mississippi.
March 25, 2024 • MLF • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

FLORENCE, Ala. – Boater Donny Beck of Killen, Alabama, caught a five-bass limit weighing 28 pounds, 7 ounces, Saturday to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine event on Pickwick Lake. Hosted by Florence-Lauderdale Tourism, the tournament was the second event of the season for the BFL Choo Choo Division. Beck earned $4,385 for his victory.

Beck grew up less a mile from Wilson Dam, which holds back Wilson Lake and whose tailrace comprises the upper end of Pickwick Lake. He also grew up fishing this tailrace, which is the very area where he caught his winning fish during the Pickwick tournament.

Through the years, Beck has landed some impressive limits of smallmouth bass along the Tennessee River chain, and the 28-pound, 7-ounce limit of five smallies that he caught to win the BFL ranks right up there with his best catches.

“The way I usually fish up there (this time of year), I usually have all smallmouth,” Beck said. “Granted, I don’t usually have 28 pounds of ’em.”

He said the fish were feeding up in prespawn staging areas in the tailrace.

“My No. 1 and 2 spots I wanted to start on, somebody was already there. Both of them are kind of community (holes) now,” Beck said. “So I actually kind of got away from the pressure. Everybody was up toward the dam, and I got a little bit farther away from it and found a couple rock piles out in the current that were stacked with them.”

Beck, who owns a plumbing business with his son and who also works as a realtor, rotated back and forth between two key rock piles. When they quit biting on one pile, he moved to the other, repeating the process throughout the day.

He said both rock piles were about twice the size of his boat and came up just a couple feet off the bottom – just enough to break the current. Beck caught his winning fish with a Johnston Lures Swim Bait Head and a discontinued Zoom 5-inch Swimmer in the blue chartreuse color.

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:        Donny Beck, Killen, Ala., five bass, 28-7, $4,385
2nd:       Fisher Anaya, Eva, Ala., five bass, 26-0, $2,693 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
3rd:       Cameron Gautney, Sheffield, Ala., five bass, 23-12, $1,463
4th:        Jared Kawalec, Waterloo, Iowa, five bass, 20-8, $1,023
5th:        Jeff Suratt, Leoma, Tenn., five bass, 18-13, $840
5th:        Jimmy Washam, Stantonville, Tenn., five bass, 18-13, $840
7th:        Dylan Nutt, Nashville, Tenn., five bass, 18-6, $731
8th:        Carter Nutt, Nashville, Tenn., five bass, 18-0, $658
9th:        Dillon Falardeau, Hixson, Tenn., five bass, 16-12, $585
10th:     Charles Watts, Corinth, Miss., five bass, 16-4, $512

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Dan Ehmen of Rockford, Illinois, and Neil Strickland of Sulligent, Alabama, each caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces, to tie for the Berkley Big Bass Boater award. They each earned $310 for their catch.

Brandon Bell of Starkville, Mississippi, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,122 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 21 pounds.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:        Brandon Bell, Starkville, Miss., five bass, 21-0, $2,122
2nd:       Jonathan Craig, Madison, Ala., five bass, 14-11, $1,061
3rd:       Brandon Watson, Madison, Ala., two bass, 12-0, $707
4th:        Mekiah Jack, Mount Juliet, Tenn., three bass, 11-4, $495
5th:        Chuck Thurlow, Auburn, Ala., three bass, 10-11, $424
6th:        Craig Mayo, Michie, Tenn., three bass, 10-8, $389
7th:        Dalynn Teeftaller, Lawrenceburg, Tenn., three bass, 9-12, $354
8th:        Marcus Corbett, Anniston, Ala., three bass, 9-3, $318
9th:        Brian Carroll, Glencoe, Ala., three bass, 9-2, $283
10th:     Colby Cotterill, Alpharetta, Ga., two bass, 8-3, $248

Blake Acker of Jasper, Alabama, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $300, catching a bass that weighed in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After two events, Fisher Anaya of Eva, Alabama, leads the Fishing Clash Choo Choo Division Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 497 points, while Todd Mowery of Madison, Alabama, leads the Fishing Clash Choo Choo Division Co-Angler of the Year race with 481 points.

The next event for BFL Choo Choo Division anglers will be held April 13, at Lake Guntersville in Scottsboro, Alabama. 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 Clarks Hill Lake in Appling, Georgia. 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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