Onalaska's Zumach Claims Phoenix Bass Fishing League Victory on the Mississippi River - Major League Fishing
Onalaska’s Zumach Claims Phoenix Bass Fishing League Victory on the Mississippi River
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Onalaska’s Zumach Claims Phoenix Bass Fishing League Victory on the Mississippi River

Image for Onalaska’s Zumach Claims Phoenix Bass Fishing League Victory on the Mississippi River
Boater Darren Zumach of Onalaska, Wisconsin, and Strike-King co-angler Lee Lewis of Peoria, Illinois.
May 2, 2022 • MLF • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Boater Darren Zumach of Onalaska, Wisconsin, caught five bass Saturday weighing 17 pounds, 8 ounces, to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on the Mississippi River . The tournament, hosted by the La Crosse County Convention and Visitors Bureau, was the season-opener for the Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division. Zumach earned $4,884 for his victory.

“The wind really helped me out a lot,” Zumach said. “It actually set me up against the current with the current coming down and the wind coming up, so it kept me in one spot. Once I figured out the fish had moved to shell beds, that wind did nothing but help me.”

Zumach said he fished a shad-colored Strike King KVD Jerkbait and a lipless crankbait in eight feet of water to target the shell-bed bass.

Zumach is a veteran Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournament angler, with a total of 111 MLF events fished since the mid-1990s. Zumach said he caught only seven fish during the course of the tournament – all keepers – but those fish resulted in the right five weigh-in fish on the right day.

“This feels amazing to finally pull off a win,” Zumach said. “I’ve been close and fishing these for a long time, and I finally got the win.

“When I got the 6-pound, 4-ounce smallmouth at 11 o’clock, I thought, ‘Yeah, I might have a chance here,’” Zumach added.

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

  • 1st: Darren Zumach, Onalaska, Wis., five bass, 17-8, $4,884
  • 2nd: Kyle von Ruden, Stoddard, Wis., five bass, 16-14, $2,740
  • 3rd: Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 16-12, $1,426
  • 4th: Dan Mohn, Lansing, Iowa, five bass, 16-7, $998
  • 5th: Devin Teigen, Nelson, Wis., five bass, 16-5, $1,320 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
  • 5th: Jeremy Nokken, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 16-5, $820
  • 7th: Kevin Ruh, Onalaska, Wis., five bass, 15-15, $713
  • 8th: Joe Pollak, Lake Geneva, Wis., five bass, 15-8, $942
  • 9th: Hunter Litchfield, Macomb, Ill., five bass, 15-7, $571
  • 10th: Austin Brimeyer, Dubuque, Iowa, five bass, 15-6, $499

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Zumach earned the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $605 with a smallmouth that weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces.

Lee Lewis of Peoria, Illinois, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,140 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 16 pounds, 4 ounces.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers were: 

  • 1st: Lee Lewis, Peoria, Ill., five bass, 16-4, $2,140
  • 2nd: Alan Bernicky, Joliet, Ill., five bass, 15-13, $1,520
  • 3rd: Shawn Overton, Coal Valley, Ill., five bass, 13-3, $712
  • 4th: Justin Bowder, Rochester, Minn., five bass, 11-8, $499
  • 5th: Thomas Bridges, Kankakee, Ill., four bass, 10-14, $428
  • 6th: Mongshoua Xiong, La Crosse, Wis., four bass, 10-7, $392
  • 7th: Mark Folsom, Waterville, Iowa, five bass, 10-6, $357
  • 8th: Richard Conrad, Arcadia, Wis., four bass, 9-14, $321
  • 9th: Michael Watson, Trempealeau, Wis., four bass, 9-9, $285
  • 10th: Hertz Skaer, Holmen, Wis., three bass, 9-4, $552

Skaer caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 12 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $302.

The Top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 20-22 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma. Boaters will compete 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 fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

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, will advance 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 2022 All-American will be held June 2-4 at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas and is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs. 

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 MLF Toyota Series, the pathway to the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF 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 Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.