COUNCE, Tenn. – The Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine’s Bama, LBL, Music City and South Carolina divisions will finish out their 2022 season next month in Counce, Tennessee, Oct. 13-15, with the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship Presented by T-H Marine at Pickwick Lake.
Hosted by the Hardin County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the three-day regional championship will feature the top 45 boaters and co-anglers plus tournament winners in all four divisions, battling it out for a top prize of $60,000, including a Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, along with lucrative contingency awards, including up to an additional $7,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus. Strike King co-anglers will compete for a top prize of $50,000, including a Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard. Winners will be determined by the heaviest three-day catch.
The highest finishing boater from each division will also receive a $1,000 bonus and the highest finishing co-angler from each division will receive a $500 bonus.
Local pro and guide on the fishery, Jimmy Washam of Stantonville, Tennessee, said he’s been seeing the late summer lull and many fish out in “no man’s land,” but expects to see cooler temperatures create some changes by mid-October.
“As the temperature starts to drop, we should see a push toward shallow water,” Washam said. “The fish will really get oriented on bait and start chasing gizzard shad in the grass. Any of the shallow water stuff that’s got a shad population around it should have some bass nearby.
“The topwater bite will start heating up and we typically see a smallmouth push toward the tailraces as well. The Wilson Lake tailrace will probably play in this event, for guys that like to target smallmouth in current.”
Washam said he expects to see a lot of shad-imitation lures and topwater baits, including walking baits, River2Sea Whopper Ploppers and popping baits, along with spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits. Smallmouth finesse tactics are also expected to play a big role, such as a shaky head, Ned rig and other finesse jigs.
“The Azuma Z Dog Topwater Walker is a walking bait by Profound Outdoors that I’ve caught a lot of fish on recently, so I think it will be a big player in the event, as well as the Azuma Shaker Z Lipless Crankbait. I think both of those will weigh in a lot of fish right now,” Washam said. “There’s usually a lingering deep bite this time of year and there’s a good chance that someone could have that to themselves if they find some quality fish that are still offshore.
“That would be the ‘sleeper pattern’ that I think we will probably see someone be successful with, utilizing traditional offshore baits like a football jig, swimbait and crankbait.”
Washam said he predicts it will take 18 pounds per day to put anglers in contention to win the event.
Anglers will take off daily at 7 a.m. CT from Pickwick Landing State Park in Counce. Weigh-ins will also be held at the park and will begin at 3 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend the event or follow the action online through the “MLF Live” weigh-in broadcasts at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The 2022 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine consisted of 24-divisions devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season and 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, advance to one of six Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championships.
The top six finishers in each regional will qualify for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American. Dates and location for the 2023 All-American will be announced soon.
The top boaters and Strike King co-anglers from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division will also earn priority entry into the Toyota Series, the pathway to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the Bass Pro Tour.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.