La Crosse's Brueggen Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Tournament on the Mississippi River - Major League Fishing
La Crosse’s Brueggen Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Tournament on the Mississippi River
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La Crosse’s Brueggen Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Tournament on the Mississippi River

Strike King Co-angler Victory Goes to Alma’s Brecka
Image for La Crosse’s Brueggen Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Tournament on the Mississippi River
Boater Mike Brueggen of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and Strike-King co-angler Brian Brecka of Alma, Wisconsin.
October 17, 2022 • MLF • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Boater Mike Brueggen of La Crosse, Wisconsin, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 56 pounds, 7 ounces, to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Regional Event on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin. For his victory, Brueggen earned $60,794, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000. Brueggen also receives automatic entry into the 2023 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, on May 31 throughJune 2, at Lake Hartwell in Seneca, South Carolina.

Brueggen, who now has racked up 60 Top-10 finishes and 10 career wins, mainly on the Mississippi River, said he targeted sand in 4 to 5 feet of water in Pool No. 2 and used a crankbait and a Kureiji Panic Swim Jig on the first day of competition, followed by a spinnerbait and the swim jig on Day 2. Brueggen said he went back to the crankbait and swim jig on Day 3 and relied on white-colored baits to fill his limits.

“The color didn’t matter, really, as long as it was light-colored to imitate shad,” Brueggen said. “There was a lot of dead water, but when I caught one, I caught more than one.”

Brueggen has been fishing the Mississippi near La Crosse for about 20 years, and said his confidence in the fishery played the biggest part in his victory. He dialed in his fish during practice and relied on his local knowledge to seal the win.

“This win feels amazing,” said Brueggen, who had come close many times, but never won a Bass Fishing League regional tournament. “I finally got one.”

The top six boaters that qualified for the 2023 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American were:

  • 1st:          Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., 15 bass, 56-7, $60,794
  • 2nd:        Trey McKinney, Carbondale, Ill., 15 bass, 51-14, $10,794
  • 3rd:        Ian Leybas, McAlester, Okla., 15 bass, 50-13, $5,893
  • 4th:         Cade Laufenberg, La Crosse, Wis., 15 bass, 49-1, $4,638 (including $500 Phoenix MLF contingency bonus)
  • 5th:         Michael Pruitt, Martinsville, Ind., 15 bass, 47-5, $2,959
  • 6th:         Nick Uebelhor, Jasper, Ind., 15 bass, 46-3, $1,763

Rounding out the Top 10 boaters were:

  • 7th:         Kollin Crawford, Broken Bow, Okla., 15 bass, 44-5, $1,567
  • 8th:         Travis Wilson, La Harpe, Ill., 15 bass, 43-12, $1,371
  • 9th:         Drew Cress, Highland, Ill., 15 bass, 42-10, $1,175
  • 10th:      Blake Knies, Jasper, Ind., 15 bass, 41-11, $1,077

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The top four boaters from each division that earned a $1,000 bonus for placing highest in the event were:

  • Hoosier:                Michael Pruitt, Martinsville, Ind., 5th Place, $1,000
  • Illini:                        Trey McKinney, Carbondale, Ill. 2nd Place, $1,000
  • Michigan:             Frank Scalish, Jr., Columbus, Ohio, 13th Place, $1,000
  • Okie:                        Ian Leybas, McAlester, Okla., 3rd Place $1,000

Laufenberg took home an extra $500 as the highest finishing Phoenix MLF Bonus member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

Brian Brecka of Alma, Wisconsin, weighed in 15 bass over three days totaling 40 pounds, 8 ounces to win the top Strike King co-angler prize package of $50,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The top six Strike King co-anglers that qualified for the 2023 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American were:

  • 1st:           Brian Brecka, Alma, Wis., 15 bass, 40-8, $50,000
  • 2nd:          Chuck Davis, Farmington, Ill., 14 bass, 39-4, $5,659
  • 3rd:          Alan Bernicky, Joliet, Ill., 15 bass, 35-4, $2,855
  • 4th:           Shawn Overton, Coal Valley, Ill., 14 bass, 34-11, $1,973
  • 5th:           Dominic Bogolo, Hamilton, Ohio, 14 bass, 32-15, $1,482
  • 6th:           Branden Hardesty, Nineveh, Ind., 12 bass, 27-9, $884

Rounding out the Top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:

  • 7th:           Patrick Weir, Park Hill, Okla., 11 bass, 26-12, $1,285
  • 8th:           Brock Krohne, Belton, Mo., 10 bass, 24-13, $687
  • 9th:           Tommy Pritchard, Bargersville, Ind., 10 bass, 23-10, $589
  • 10th:        Dakota Nollen, Midwest City, Okla., eight bass, 23-4, $540

The top four Strike King Co-anglers from each division that earned a $500 bonus for placing highest in the event were:

  • Hoosier:                Dominic Bogolo, Hamilton, Ohio, 5th Place, $500
  • Illini:                        Chuck Davis, Farmington, Ill., 2nd Place, $500
  • Michigan:             Shawn Overton, Coal Valley, Ill., 4th Place, $500
  • Okie:                        Patrick Weir, Park Hill, Okla., 7th Place $500

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Regional Tournament on the Mississippi River was hosted by Explore La Crosse. It featured the top pros and Strike King co-anglers from the Hoosier, Illini, Michigan and Okie divisions. 

The 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, advanced to one of six Regional Championships 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 Bass Fishing League All-American. 

The top 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 2022 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, AFTCO, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Gary Yamamoto Baits, General Tire, Lew’s, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Revital Outdoors, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X, YETI and Yo-Zuri.

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.