SESSER, Ill. – Boater Trey McKinney of Carbondale, Illinois, the reigning Illini Division Angler of the Year, caught five bass Saturday weighing 16 pounds, 1 ounces, to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Rend Lake. The tournament was the third event for the Bass Fishing League Illini Division. McKinney earned $5,244 for his victory.
The 17-year-old McKinney said his approach to tournament fishing of sticking to techniques, locations and baits he has confidence in paid off, and it didn’t take him long to catch his tournament-winning bag Saturday morning, as he stuck to his plan he had developed during practice for the event.
“My main strategy was to run back and forth, hitting key stretches that were high-probability areas,” McKinney said. “
McKinney said he had success on shallow wood laydowns in pockets, the deepest of which was in 6 feet of water. His bait of choice was a natural-colored jig that imitated bluegill that were present in the lake.
“I had my five fish that I weighed in at 8:11 (Saturday) morning,” McKinney said. “It was unreal that it happened so fast. I knew I had a good bag, but I didn’t think I had 16 pounds. I was thinking I needed one more 4-pounder to have good odds at winning.
“If you think you have enough, you just don’t fish the same as if you think you need one more,” McKinney said. “I always want to underestimate my weight, so I always need that one more bite.”
The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Neighbors had a largemouth that weighed 5 pounds, 10 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $600.
Patrick Lesicko of Staunton, Illinois, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,122 Saturday after catching four bass weighing 10 pounds, 15 ounces.
The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
Denney caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 15 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $300.
After three events, Trey McKinney of Carbondale, Illinois, leads the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Illini Division Boater Angler of the Year race with 745 points, while Jojo Johnson of Benton, Illinois, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 721 points.
The Top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 13-15 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Boaters will compete 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 fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.
The 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine is 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, will advance to one of six Regional Championships 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 Bass Fishing League 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 Pro Circuit and ultimately the Bass Pro Tour.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, AFTCO, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Gary Yamamoto Baits, General Tire, Lew’s, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Revital Outdoors, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X, YETI and Yo-Zuri.
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.