BUCHANAN, Tenn. – Boater Jake Lawrence of Paris, Tennessee, caught 10 bass weighing 36 pounds, 14 ounces, to win the two-day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Kentucky-Barkley Lakes in Buchanan, Tennessee. The tournament, hosted by the Henry County-Tourism Authority, was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League LBL Division. Lawrence earned $6,398 for his victory.
“There are a lot of fish out there, but they’re just not in a good mood,” Lawrence said. “I’ve never in my life had so many fish come up and follow my bait and not finish the deal.”
Lawrence said a cool snap a couple of weeks before the tournament dropped the water temperature by about 8 degrees to near 70, and a recent warm trend raised temperatures back up to around 80. He said he thinks if the warmer temperatures had held off, tournament weights would have been better.
“I really had to make the most of what I had,” Lawrence said. “I didn’t have a specific area or spot. I had a generalized pattern, but I was more or less covering a tremendous amount of water to come across them. The key this week was to find more than one bass.
“I could find single bass all over the place, but I could not get them to bite,” Lawrence said. “So, I would cover ground until I found a little wolfpack of two to six fish. I could get those to bite. Once one went after it, the others would try to take the bait from them.”
Lawrence said he spent the first day of competition fishing 15 miles in either direction of the Paris area but felt he couldn’t go back to the same water Sunday.
“Once they get wise to you, they’re done,” Lawrence said. “So, Sunday I ran up to the Moors area and spent half my time up there. It really didn’t pan out the way I had envisioned up there, so I ran back to the Paris area and finished it out fishing new ground.”
Lawrence said he caught the majority of his fish on an unnamed Jenko Fishing prototype bait that is slated for a spring release, although he did catch one of his weigh fish on a Jenko Fishing Booty Shaker Swimbait.
“I don’t know if that bait needs to be a prototype bait much longer after winning a couple of events here recently,” said Lawrence, who also won the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Pickwick Lake Super Tournament on Sept. 10. “This week just topped off a few good weeks for me. I really enjoyed this tournament. I didn’t know if I was going to win this one. Every win is special, and this was just a cool way for things to work out lately.”
The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Jake Lawrence, Paris, Tenn., 10 bass, 36-14, $6,398
2nd: Matteo Turano, Puryear, Tenn., 10 bass, 36-1, $2,824
3rd: Dustin Vaal, Farmington, Ky., 10 bass, 33-0, $1,882
4th: Clint Knight, Lewisburg, Ky., 10 bass, 31-1, $1,518
5th: Harrison Terry, Burns, Tenn., nine bass, 30-12, $1,630 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
6th: Richard Meuth, Henderson, Ky., 10 bass, 25-7, $1,035
7th: Hunter Fillmore, Waynesville, Ohio, 10 bass, 25-1, $941
8th: Toby Corn, Paducah, Ky., eight bass, 25-1, $847
9th: Sam Boss, Paducah, Ky., 10 bass, 24-13, $753
10th: Bill Schroeder III, Benton, Ky., seven bass, 23-14, $659
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Lawrence also had a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 13 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $750.
David Workman of Harrisburg, Illinois, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,995 Sunday after catching a two-day total of eight bass weighing 17 pounds, 11 ounces.
The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: David Workman, Harrisburg, Ill., eight bass, 17-11, $2,995
2nd: Jeff Akers, Benton, Ky., eight bass, 17-9, $1,422
3rd: Ryan Luper, Bowling Green, Ky., five bass, 14-14, $948
4th: Todd House, Hawesville, Ky., six bass, 13-15, $864
5th: Ethan Wheeler, Water Valley, Ky., three bass, 10-12, $1,140
6th: Jedidiah Baggett, Tennessee Ridge, Tenn., three bass, 9-6, $522
7th: Sean Obrien, McKenzie, Tenn., five bass, 8-13, $474
8th: Rodney Childerson, Pocahontas, Ill., three bass, 8-3, $427
9th: Matt Chumbler, Carbondale, Ill., three bass, 8-3, $379
10th: Dennis Taylor, Murray, Ky., three bass, 7-3, $332
Ethan Wheeler of Water Valley, Kentucky, caught the largest bass in the Strike King co-angler division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 10 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $371.
With the regular season now complete, boater Clint Knight of Lewisburg, Kentucky, won the 2023 Phoenix Bass Fishing League LBL Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,324 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Sean O’Brien of McKenzie, Tennessee, won the 2023 Strike King Co-Angler LBL Division AOY race with 1,326 points and earned the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.
Now, the top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the division based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will advance to compete in the Oct. 19-21 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. 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 Phoenix BFL All-American.
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 Toyota Series, the pathway to the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals and ultimately the Bass Pro Tour.
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.