EUFAULA, Ala. – It was a double-header for weekend bass anglers this past weekend in Eufaula with the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine on Lake Eufaula events. FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, rescheduled the events after the coronavirus pandemic forced the organization to pause competition in mid-March.
Pro Drew Benton of Blakely, Georgia, brought a three-bass limit to the scale totaling 17 pounds, 8 ounces to win Saturday’s event and earn $6,473, while pro Kyle Welcher of Opelika, Alabama, brought in three bass weighing 16 pounds, 3 ounces on Sunday to earn the win and the day’s top prize of $5,498.
“These trophies are a hard to get,” said Benton, who competes on the Bassmaster Elite Series. “The BFL tournaments are stacked fields with a ton of locals. I’m new to this area, but I got my start on Lake Seminole and Lake Eufaula so to get to see everybody that I used to fish against back in the day and come out of here with a win is truly a blessing.”
Benton said that during his practice he noticed a lot of mayflies hatching, so he decided to take advantage of that during the tournament. He started up the river throwing a frog and a Bagley Knocker B topwater bait.
“I caught one really big one on topwater, then as the day went on we went down the lake towards the dam and I fished ledges,” Benton said. “I isolated the schools with my Lowrance LiveSight and caught them all on a Nichols Mini Magnum Spoon.
“If this had been a five-fish tournament, we would have been in the 24- to 25-pound range to win, but I appreciate that FLW is taking care of our resources in determining these three fish events,” Benton went on to say.
The top five boaters on Saturday were:
1st: Drew Benton of Blakely, Ga., three bass, 17-8, $6,473
1st: Josh Stracner of Vandiver, Ala., three bass, 17-4, $2,381
3rd: Kevin Black of Cumming, Ga., three bass, 14-15, $1,585
4th: Ryan Ingram of Phenix City, Ala., three bass, 14-8, $1,111
5th: Brad Davis of Hoschton, Ga., three bass, 14-0, $953
Complete results for Saturday can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Benton brought a 6-pound, 14-ounce bass to the scale to add Saturday’s Boater Big Bass award of $710 to his winnings.
Thom Dickson of Cartersville, Georgia, won the Co-angler Division and $2,561 Saturday after catching three bass weighing 15 pounds even.
The top five co-anglers Saturday finished as follows:
1st: Thom Dickson of Cartersville, Ga., three bass, 15-0, $2,561
2nd: Andrew Nickeson of Valdosta, Ga., three bass, 11-4, $1,118
3rd: William Mercer of Cumming, Ga., three bass, 10-14, $745
4th: Luke Cocke of Valdosta, Ga., three bass, 10-9, $522
5th: Wesley Bennett of Monroe, Ga., three bass, 9-15, $447
Dickson also caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, weighing in at 7 pounds, 2 ounces, to add the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $325 to his final payout.
On Sunday, winning boater pro Kyle Welcher said that he caught all of his fish on a topwater frog.
“On Sunday I decided to commit to the shallow bite all day and try to stay around bream beds, mayflies and the bigger fish that were up shallow,” the Alabama pro said. “I hit 50 to 60 spots, fishing from Cowikee all the way to the Dam and back. Everything that I saw that looked good, I’d pull over and fish it. I caught around 12 to 13 keepers throughout the day.
“The key was staying around the bait,” Welcher continued. “Every fish that I caught came on a frog. The water in the lake is falling a little bit each day, so I targeted shallow water, but it was deeper shallow water, if that makes sense.
“It feels good to get the win,” Welcher went on to say. “I’ve been fishing these BFL events for a while, so I’m glad I finally got one.”
The top five boaters on Sunday were:
1st: Kyle Welcher of Opelika, Ala., three bass, 16-3, $5,498
2nd: Austin Lang of Kinsey, Ala., three bass, 13-10, $2,249
3rd: Michael Conley of Bainbridge, Ga., three bass, 13-0, $1,498
4th: Jim Murray Jr. of Leesburg, Ga., three bass, 12-10, $1,050
5th: Ethan Greene of Eufaula, Ala., three bass, 12-9, $862
5th: Todd Classon of Camilla, Ala., three bass, 12-9, $862
Complete results for Sunday’s event on Lake Eufaula can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Steven Hunt of Lakeland, Florida, brought a 6-pound, 2-ounce bass to the scale to win Sunday’s Boater Big Bass award of $645.
Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, Alabama, was Sunday’s highest-finishing FLW PHOENIX BONUS member and took home an extra $500. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
Brian Davis of Leesburg, Georgia, won the Co-angler Division and $2,140 Sunday after catching a three-bass limit weighing 11 pounds, 14 ounces.
The top five co-anglers Sunday finished as follows:
1st: Brian Davis of Leesburg, Ga., three bass, 11-14, $2,140
2nd: Jeff Cook of Columbus, Ga., three bass, 11-7, $1,070
3rd: Kiwanas Andrews of Atlanta, Ga., three bass, 11-4, $712
4th: Blake Layfield of Sparks, Ga., three bass, 11-2, $499
5th: Skip Jackson of Eufaula, Ala., three bass, 11-1, $410
5th: Chris Davies of Griffin, Ga., three bass, 11-1, $712
Davies caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, weighing in at 6 pounds, 14 ounces. The catch earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $302.
The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Double-Header on Lake Eufaula was the second and third of five qualifying events in the Bulldog Division.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the Bulldog Division based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 16-18 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Lake Cherokee in Jefferson City, Tennessee, hosted by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. Boaters will compete for a $60,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new 18-foot Phoenix bass boat with a 200-horsepower outboard.
The 2020 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 co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six 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 Bass Fishing League All-American.
The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American will be held Nov. 11-13 at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina and is hosted by Visit Anderson. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division earn priority entry into the FLW Series, the pathway to the FLW Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour, where top pros compete with no entry fees.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, FLW and its partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Zimbabwe.
FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show while Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. Acquired by Major League Fishing in late 2019, FLW is expanding its programming in 2020 to the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel as well as on-demand at MyOutdoorTV (MOTV).
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