LAGRANGE, Ga. – Boater David McClung of LaGrange, Georgia, caught a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds even Saturday to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on West Point Lake. The tournament, hosted by Visit LaGrange, was the second event for the BFL Bulldog Division. McClung earned $4,729 for his victory.
“I expected to catch a good bag this morning fishing main-lake points,” McClung said. “But that wasn’t happening. We didn’t have any wind and the water was too clear. So, I basically just looked for stained water in the backs of the creeks. We caught 15 to 20 spotted bass in the morning on a crankbait.”
McClung said both of his largest bass were caught on an Untamed Tackle Ace Jig in black and blue. He said he also rotated through chatter-style baits, swimbaits and square-bill crankbaits.
“I just caught them and put them in the livewell,” McClung said. “I didn’t weigh them. I thought I had between 16 to 17 pounds, and I knew that would be good enough for a good shot at a top-three finish. But you never know at this lake.
“I knew there was a chance for a win,” McClung said. “Usually if you can get two kicker fish and three decent filler fish, you always have a chance. This feels good, man. It’s been a long time coming.”
The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:
1st: David McClung, LaGrange, Ga., five bass, 20-0, $4,729
2nd: Robert Benson, Dahlonega, Ga., five bass, 18-3, $3,569 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
3rd: Blake Tomlin, Greenville, Ga., five bass, 17-8, $1,576
4th: Holland Harris, Dothan, Ala., five bass, 15-8, $1,103
5th: Bryan Asay, Newnan, Ga., five bass, 14-1, $946
6th: Dustin Smith, Lake Mary, Fla., five bass, 13-4, $867
7th: Lane Wright, Alpharetta, Ga., five bass, 13-2, $788
8th: Rock Crowe, Valley, Ala., five bass, 12-15, $709
9th: Kyle Welcher, Opelika, Ala., five bass, 12-10, $851
10th: Cory Mathis, Newnan, Ga., five bass, 12-9, $552
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Robert Benson of Dahlonega, Georgia, caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $705.
Benjie Winkler of Cleveland, Georgia, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,305 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 12 pounds, 11 ounces.
The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:
1st: Benjie Winkler, Cleveland, Ga., five bass, 12-11, $2,305
2nd: Mark Ware, LaGrange, Ga., five bass, 10-12, $960
2nd: Jackson Riddle, Watkinsville, Ga., five bass, 10-12, $960
4th: Tony Stevens, Monroe, Ga., five bass, 10-1, $538
5th: Austin Robinson, Temple, Ga., five bass, 10-0, $461
6th: Lance Spencer, Donalsonville, Ga., five bass, 9-10, $423
7th: Steve Walls, Cumming, Ga., five bass, 9-9, $584
8th: Kelly Reese, Cartersville, Ga., five bass, 9-8, $496
9th: Randy Reese, Woodstock, Ga., five bass, 9-6, $288
9th: Justin Foster, Thomaston, Ga., five bass, 9-6, $288
Donald Dills of Mineral Bluff, Georgia, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $335, catching a bass that weighed in at 4 pounds, 10 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.
After two events, Matthew O’Connell of Brooks, Georgia, leads the BFL Bulldog Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 476 points, while Lance Spencer of Donalsonville, Georgia, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 495 points.
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. 19-21 BFL Regional tournament on Lake Norman in Huntersville, North Carolina. 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 BFL All-American. The 2023 All-American event will take place May 31 through June 2, on Lake Hartwell in Seneca, South Carolina. The event is hosted by Visit Oconee SC.
Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 4WP, 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, 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.