MARBURY, Md. – Boater Zachary Stoupa of Prince George, Virginia, caught 10 bass weighing 29 pounds, 1 ounce, to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. The tournament, hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners, was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division. Stoupa earned $5,575 for his victory. Stoupa also secured the 2023 Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race Sunday.
“Going into this event, I had a good lead in the Angler of the Year race, so my plan was to try and fish kind of close, so I didn’t have to make a long run anywhere,” Stoupa said. “I did a lot of damage in Mattawoman Creek, and that really worked out in my favor. I didn’t have to run very long to secure Angler of the Year and picked up a win in the process.”
Stoupa said he focused his efforts on grass where he had gotten bites in practice. Stoupa’s bait of choice for his mid-river fish was a vibrating jig. He said the key was “staying put and not running around” and sticking to where he knew he had located fish.
“I didn’t boat my first fish until about 11 o’clock,” Stoupa said. “It took off from there. I never really got nervous, though, because I knew I had locked up the Angler of the Year title, and that was my main goal this week. Making the second day of the tournament I knew I couldn’t finish worse than 19th, so that was a bonus.
“It’s been a great season,” Stoupa went on to say. “I can’t even find words for it. My worst finish was at Smith Mountain Lake, where I finished 14th, and I’ve had four top-10s. It’s just been a great year.”
The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Mike Keyser of Elkridge, Maryland, caught a bass weighing 4 pounds, 15 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division to earn the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $727.
Larry Freeman, Jr., of La Crosse, Virginia, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,788 Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 24 pounds, 2 ounces.
The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
David Lewis of Abingdon, Maryland, 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 $364.
With the regular season now complete, boater Zachary Stoupa of Prince George, Virginia, won the 2023 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,345 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. David Deciucis of Chester, Virginia, won the 2023 Strike King Co-Angler Shenandoah Division AOY race with 1,324 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 Norman in Huntersville, North Carolina. 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 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 Invitationals and ultimately the MLF 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.