SENECA, S.C. – Major League Fishing is set to return to South Carolina, next week, May 31-June 2, for the 40th annual Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Hartwell. The three-day tournament, hosted by Visit Oconee SC , will showcase the nation’s best weekend grassroots anglers, and awards the winning boater a top prize of up to $120,000, and an automatic qualification into REDCREST 2024, MLF’s most prestigious event.
In addition to the automatic REDCREST qualification, the highest-finishing boaters and co-anglers from each of the seven regionals at the All-American advance to the 2023 Toyota Series Championship.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to host the Phoenix BFL All-American in Oconee County, South Carolina on Lake Hartwell at the new Seneca Creek Boat Ramp,” said Ken Sloan, President & CEO of Visit Oconee SC. “This will be the inaugural opening of the Seneca Creek Boat Ramp, and that would not have been possible without the vision, leadership and hard work from Oconee County Parks, Recreation and Tourism and the support of the City of Seneca.
“We have worked with Major League Fishing and their BFL series on multiple events throughout the years and their professionalism is unmatched. To that end, we look forward to another successful event and our continued partnership with MLF.”
The BFL All-American championship was previously held on Lake Hartwell in 2020, however that event launched out of Anderson. The All-American often serves as a steppingstone for anglers who wish to advance to the Toyota Series, Tackle Warehouse Invitationals and ultimately the Bass Pro Tour. Former All-American champions who currently compete on the Bass Pro Tour and the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals include Shaw Grigsby (1984), Stephen Browning (1996), Jacob Wheeler (2011), Jeremy Lawyer (2016), Nick LeBrun (2018) and Connor Cunningham (2022).
“This is going to be a fun event and we’re going to see a lot of fish caught from Lake Hartwell next week,” said Bass Pro Tour angler Casey Ashley of Donalds, South Carolina. “They’ll be catching fish a lot of different ways, too. Out deep with a drop-shot rig, up shallow targeting bream beds with a topwater, and the docks will play too. It’s going to be interesting to see what patterns are strongest in this one.
“A lot of it will depend on the weather,” Ashley continued. “I think it’ll likely take a mixed bag every day – largemouth and spots. Something like working the brushpiles early, then throwing a shallow topwater during the afternoon. Or opposite – starting shallow early and then moving deep. Playing the weather is going to be the key.”
Ashley said that if he was fishing the event, he’d make sure that he had a Lucky Craft Sammy, a Zoom Super Fluke and a shaky-head rig tied on.
I think if a guy can catch 16 or 17 pounds a day next week they’ll be right there at the end,” Ashley went on to say. “The three-day winner is going to have right around 50 to 52 pounds, I predict.”
Anglers will launch each day at 6:30 a.m. CT from the Seneca Creek Boat Ramp, located at 280 Seneca Creek Road in Seneca. Weigh-in each day will be held at the boat ramp and will begin at 2:30 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all launch and weigh-in events and encouraged to follow the event’s online coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The full field of 49 boaters and 49 Strike King co-anglers will compete on Days 1 (Wednesday) and 2 (Thursday) of the event. After two days of competition, the field is cut to just the top 10 boaters and co-anglers, based on two-day total cumulative weight, and the final 10 anglers compete on Championship Friday. The boater and co-angler that catch the heaviest three-day total weight will be crowned the 40th Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Champions.
The 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine was 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 competed to finish in the top six, which then advanced them to compete in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American.
Television coverage of the 2023 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American will premiere November 11 on CBS Sports and the Sportsman Channel. The full television air schedule can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
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 Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.