New York's Morrison get elusive win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Lake Champlain - Major League Fishing
New York’s Morrison get elusive win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Lake Champlain
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New York’s Morrison get elusive win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Lake Champlain

Quebec's Tremblay tops Strike King Co-Angler Division
Image for New York’s Morrison get elusive win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Lake Champlain
Boater Alec Morrison of Peru, New York, and Strike-King co-angler Nathan Tremblay of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.
August 1, 2023 • MLF • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Boater Alec Morrison of Peru, New York, caught a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 10 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Champlain . The tournament, hosted by the City of Plattsburgh, was the third event of the season for the BFL Northeast Division. Morrison earned $6,537, including a $2,500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, for his victory.

“I basically had the same plan and area that I caught them in during the BFL here in early July,” Morrison said. “I stuck to the same game plan and fished only in the inland sea. I was running stuff I had caught them on for years. I basically just had to rotate spots and find which spots the big ones were relating to today. Once I was able to figure that out, I was able to catch a lot of fish and got six or seven quality bites.”

Morrison, who also won the Toyota Series event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir earlier this season, said rainy weather played a factor Saturday and made the fishing tough for him. Morrison said he employed a drop-shot rig tipped with a 4-inch Reins Bubbling Shakerfor all of his final weigh fish, but he also caught fish on a swimbait and on a craw-imitator fished on the bottom as well.

“I thought my first big one of the day was only 4¼ or 4½ pounds, then I weighed it and it ended up being close to 5 pounds,” Morrison said. “I knew that a big bite was going to be really crucial. I knew I could catch 4-pounders, but when I caught that big one it was really the difference maker. You definitely need one of those to get over the 21-pound mark, and I knew when I caught that fish at 8:30 (a.m.) that I had a really good shot for the rest of the day.

“There’s a lot of 4-pounders on Champlain,” Morrison said. “The difference between a 4½-pounder and one that weighs 5 here is huge. You just don’t catch smallmouth that big very often here.”

Morris’ two wins have come in his third year after trading in co-angler status for fishing out of the front of the boat, and Morrison said he couldn’t be happier.

“I always kind of expected my first big win to come on Champlain,” Morrison said. “But it’s kind of been a thorn in my side. I have great events here but can’t seem to seal the deal. I’ve been fishing this lake since I was 10 years old, and to be able to win today really means a lot to me.”

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:          Alec Morrison, Peru, N.Y., five bass, 21-10, $6,537 (includes $2,500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
2nd:        Ryan Latinville, Plattsburgh, N.Y., five bass, 20-5, $2,019
3rd:        Bryan Labelle, Hinesburg, Vt., five bass, 19-15, $1,815
4th:         Andrew Bechard, Plattsburgh, N.Y., five bass, 19-13, $942
5th:         Jim Sweeney, West Dover, Vt., five bass, 19-4, $740
5th:         Stephen Estes, Auburn, N.H., five bass, 19-4, $740
5th:         Barry Rathbone, Box Elder, S.D., five bass, 19-4, $740
8th:         Jared Barkyoumb, Winooski, Vt., five bass, 19-3, $606
9th:         Teimuraz Balachvili, Scarsdale, N.Y., five bass, 19-1, $1,083
10th:      Spencer Cookson, Sheffield, Mass., five bass, 18-15, $471

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Teimuraz Balachvili of Scarsdale, New York, caught a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $545.

Nathan Tremblay of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,181 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 18 pounds, 7 ounces.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished: 

1st:          Nathan Tremblay, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, five bass, 18-7, $2,181
2nd:        Shawn Weil, Oley, Pa., five bass, 17-6, $991
3rd:        Tom Rufenacht, Bel Air, Md., five bass, 17-4, $662
4th:         Joseph Amberg Jr., Hawley, Pa., five bass, 16-7, $462
5th:         Scott Minch, Feasterville, Pa., five bass, 16-4, $396
6th:         Josh Kauffman, Marysville, Pa., five bass, 16-2, $363
7th:         Jimmy Caffrey, Holliston, Mass., five bass, 16-0, $330
8th:         Ethan Lee, Jermyn, Pa., five bass, 15-15, $297
9th:         Glenn Key, Reading, Pa., five bass, 15-6, $264
10th:      Hunter Navari, Colchester, Vt., five bass, 15-3, $231

Darren Noble of Hainesport, New Jersey, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $267, catching a bass that weighed in at 4 pounds, 11 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After three events, Michael Gardner of Townsend, Delaware, leads the BFL Northeast Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 709 points, while Carson Myers of Mount Holly Springs, Pennsylvania, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 696 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. 5-7 BFL Regional tournament on the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. 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.

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 FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.