FLORENCE, Ala. – Boater Trent Suratt of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, caught a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 8 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Pickwick Lake. The tournament, hosted by Florence-Lauderdale Tourism, was the fourth event of the season for the BFL Choo Choo Division. Suratt earned $4,127 for his victory.
Suratt won a Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournament at Lake Pickwick on April 1, and Saturday’s victory makes the fourth career BFL event he has won on Pickwick since 2019.
“I started out making a drift in what little current we had, and after the first drift I had five fish for right at 18 pounds,” said Suratt. “That was by 6:45 (a.m).
“I just kept beating that all day and finally lucked up and caught a big largemouth, and that was it,” Suratt added.
Suratt said he relied on a swimbait fished near rockpiles, in current below Wilson Dam, for his fish. Suratt said he caught a mix of 10 smallmouth and two largemouth during the tournament. He said he had fish located in another area, but those spots were only producing 2- to 3-pound fish.
“I said, ‘This isn’t going to do me any good,’” Suratt said. “So, I stuck with what was working, and then I caught the 5½-pound largemouth, and I knew I had a good bag then. I knew if somebody was going to beat me, they were going to have to catch them good.”
The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Keith Miller of Chattanooga, Tennessee, caught a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $575.
Justin Stephenson of Jasper, Alabama, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,351 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 18 pounds, 4 ounces.
The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:
Stephenson also earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $287, catching a bass that weighed in at 5 pounds, 7 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.
After four events, Jordan Lee of Cullman, Alabama, leads the BFL Choo Choo Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 937 points, while Justin Stephenson of Jasper, Alabama, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 965 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. 12-14 BFL Regional tournament on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama. 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. The 2023 All-American event will take place May 31-June 2, on Lake Hartwell in Seneca, South Carolina. The event is hosted by Visit Oconee SC.
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.