JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Boater Chase Henley of Kingston, Tennessee, caught 10 bass weighing 25 pounds, 4 ounces, to win the two-day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Cherokee Lake in Jefferson City, Tennessee. The tournament, hosted by the Jefferson County Department of Tourism, was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Volunteer Division. Henley earned $13,517 for his victory, including the lucrative $7,000 Phoenix MLF contingency bonus.
Henley said he approached the tournament looking to fish what he was most comfortable with – shallow water that would produce quality bass, including pockets with bait and trees he could flip into.
“I just went fishing,” Henley said. “I fished what was in front of me and had a good time. Basically, I just flew down the banks and covered as much water as I could with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver. I keep it simple.”
Henley said he adjusted the weight used with the Sweet Beaver to adjust the fall rate depending on water clarity. He said he didn’t focus on a certain area of Cherokee; he fished from the low end of the lake all the way to the river on the north end.
“I’d catch a fish on the lower end and then wouldn’t get another until I got to Highway 25E, then I’d catch one in the river, then I’d be all the way back down to the dam and catch another one,” Henley said. “It was as scattered as scattered gets.”
Henley said he stopped fishing at 1 p.m. Saturday because he was confident in his weight, and he spent the rest of the day planning for Sunday’s round of fishing. Sunday morning started off well for Henley with three good keepers, and his confidence was high for the rest of the day against a tough field of competitors.
“East Tennessee has some of the best fishermen around,” Henley said. “They’re versatile. They’re not good at just one thing, they’re good at all of it. So, this win means a lot.”
The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Chase Henley, Kingston, Tenn., 10 bass, 25-4, $13,517 (includes $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
2nd: Isaac Peavyhouse, Jamestown, Tenn., 10 bass, 24-7, $3,239
3rd: Jacob Woods, Loudon, Tenn., 10 bass, 23-10, $1,939
4th: Jimbo Harris, Soddy Daisy, Tenn., 10 bass, 23-7, $1,357
5th: Nick Huff, Bean Station, Tenn., 10 bass, 23-1, $1,163
6th: Dale Pelfrey, Rockwood, Tenn., eight bass, 20-15, $1,066
7th: Bill Humbard, New Market, Tenn., nine bass, 20-9, $970
8th: Casey Majni, Knoxville, Tenn., 10 bass, 20-3, $873
9th: Corey Neece, Bristol, Tenn., 10 bass, 19-8, $776
10th: Christian Nash, Allons, Tenn., eight bass, 19-0, $679
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Dylan Wright of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, caught a bass weighing 5 pounds, 1 ounce that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division to earn the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $772.
Joseph Yocum of Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,664 Sunday after catching a two-day total of seven bass weighing 16 pounds, 9 ounces.
The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: Joseph Yocum, Strawberry Plains, Tenn., seven bass, 16-9, $2,664
2nd: Ryan Lee, Pound, Va., five bass, 10-1, $1,332
3rd: Robert Ford, Boones Mill, Va., four bass, 9-0, $1,089
4th: Brandon Hartgrove, Hiltons, Va., two bass, 8-10, $963
5th: Dewayne Drummonds, Gray, Ky., three bass, 7-9, $533
6th: Todd Adkins, Knoxville, Tenn., three bass, 6-14, $488
7th: John Nickerson, Mooresburg, Tenn., two bass, 6-13, $444
8th: Kevin Powers, Unicoi, Tenn., three bass, 6-12, $600
9th: Ronaldo Garcia, Louisville, Ky., two bass, 6-4, $355
10th: Billy Hughes, Eubank, Ky., four bass, 6-3, $311
Brandon Hartgrove of Hiltons, Virginia, caught the largest bass in the Strike King co-angler division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 15 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $341.
With the regular season now complete, boater Dillon Falardeau of Hixson, Tennessee, won the 2023 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Volunteer Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,260 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Lenny Bays of Dayton, Kentucky, won the 2023 Strike King Co-Angler Volunteer Division AOY race with 1,286 points and earned the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.
Now, the top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the division based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will advance to compete in the Oct. 12-14 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Dale Hollow Lake in Byrdstown, Tennessee. 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 Phoenix BFL All-American.
The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division will also earn priority entry into the Toyota Series, the pathway to the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals and ultimately the Bass Pro Tour.
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 Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.