West Columbia's Murphy claims victory at Phoenix Bass Fishing League at Lake Murray Presented by Cadence Petroleum - Major League Fishing
West Columbia’s Murphy claims victory at Phoenix Bass Fishing League at Lake Murray Presented by Cadence Petroleum
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West Columbia’s Murphy claims victory at Phoenix Bass Fishing League at Lake Murray Presented by Cadence Petroleum

North Carolina’s Trotter wins Strike King co-angler Division
Image for West Columbia’s Murphy claims victory at Phoenix Bass Fishing League at Lake Murray Presented by Cadence Petroleum
Boater Lucas Murphy of West Columbia, South Carolina, and Strike-King co-angler Wesley Trotter of Monroe, North Carolina.
May 16, 2023 • MLF • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

PROSPERITY, S.C. – Boater Lucas Murphy of West Columbia, South Carolina, caught a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 5 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Murray Presented by Cadence Petroleum . The tournament, hosted by the Capital City Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board, was the fourth event of the season for the BFL South Carolina Presented by Mystik Lubricants Division. Murphy earned $4,839 for his victory.

“I live pretty close to Murray, but I have been busy with work and hadn’t been there since March,” said Murphy. “I finally got out on Friday afternoon and found some stuff going on.

“I started off the morning by stopping on a community hole, and I threw a buzzbait out and caught a 6-pounder,” Murphy added. “That kind of got the day rolling.”

Murphy said he switched to a deep-summer pattern in the mid lake – using his forward-facing sonar to target fish on brushpiles, wood and rock with a drop-shot rig. Murphy said he caught a number of fish on a Strike King KVD Perfect Plastic Caffeine Shad. He estimated that he had 10 to 20 quality bites during the tournament.

“When I had two fish, I told my co-angler, ‘These 2-pound fish aren’t going to do anything for me,’” Murphy said. “I went out a little deeper and was just looking for three more good bites. It’s a lot easier to do when you have a big one in the livewell.

“I just stuck with it, and it wasn’t until 1:30 when I finally hooked another 4½-pounder, and that was it,” Murphy added. “That was the winning fish, as they say.”

Murphy, who moved from Michigan to South Carolina 2½ years ago, said he has spent a lot of time on the water to learn Lake Murray since his relocation.

“I’ve tried to learn a lot and make progress very quickly,” Murphy said. “It feels good to finally win one of the bigger events here.”

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

  • 1st:        Lucas Murphy, West Columbia, S.C., five bass, 23-5, $4,839
  • 2nd:       Kameron Harbin, Abbeville, S.C., five bass, 22-0, $3,149
  • 3rd:       Tanner Schultz, Lexington, S.C., five bass, 19-14, $1,614
  • 4th:        Christopher Chavis, Guyton, Ga., five bass, 18-14, $1,349
  • 5th:        Larry Moss, Prosperity, S.C., five bass, 17-12, $927
  • 5th:        Carson Orellana, Mooresville, N.C., five bass, 17-12, $927
  • 7th:        John Ray, Columbia, S.C., five bass, 17-11, $806
  • 8th:        Greg Rikard, Leesville, S.C., five bass, 17-8, $1,976 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
  • 9th:        Chris Marshall, Forest City, N.C., four bass, 17-7, $645
  • 10th:     Derek Cummings, Denver, N.C., five bass, 17-4, $565

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Kameron Harbin of Abbeville, South Carolina, caught a largemouth that weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $730.

Wesley Trotter of Monroe, North Carolina, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,403 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 19 pounds, 10 ounces.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

  • 1st:        Wesley Trotter of Monroe, N.C., five bass, 19-10, $2,403
  • 2nd:       Billy Nicholson, Greenwood, S.C., five bass, 15-3, $1,201
  • 3rd:       Thomas Pennell III, Boiling Springs, S.C., five bass, 15-2, $806
  • 4th:        Richie Dixon, Greer, S.C., four bass, 14-9, $561
  • 5th:        Michael Smith, Piedmont, S.C., five bass, 14-4, $481
  • 6th:        Johnny Barfield, Hartsville, S.C., five bass, 14-1, $441
  • 7th:        Wesley Mullins, Guyton, Ga., five bass, 13-7, $400
  • 8th:        John Joyce II, Inman, S.C., five bass, 13-5, $360
  • 9th:        Harold Addison II, Columbia, S.C., five bass, 13-0, $870
  • 10th:     Samuel Jones, Fuquay Varina, N.C., five bass, 12-12, $280

Brian Ruppe of Irmo, South Carolina, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $362, catching a bass that weighed in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After four events, Greg Rikard of Leesville, South Carolina, leads the BFL South Carolina Presented by Mystik Lubricants Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 933 points, while Stephen Sprouse of Pauline, South Carolina, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 937 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. 19-21 BFL Regional tournament 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 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 FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.