GROVE, Okla. – Boater Toby Hartsell of Afton, Oklahoma, caught 10 bass weighing 28 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma. The tournament, hosted by the City of Grove, was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Okie Division. Hartsell earned $6,871 for his victory.
“It’s been pretty tough around here lately,” Hartsell said. “I tried to get a topwater bite going early, and I couldn’t get anything. So I went offshore and tried to focus on quality fish. I managed to get a few bites in and around the mid-lake area.”
Hartsell said he relied on a Berkley Japan Power Flutter for the majority of his bass, and said he caught just five keepers Saturday and seven or eight Sunday.
“I didn’t really expect this win,” Hartsell said. “It definitely wasn’t a ‘gimme.’”
The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
Dillon Roberts of Oologah, Oklahoma, and Brian Caruso of Moore, Oklahoma, both had bass that weighed 5 pounds, 13 ounces that were the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division. Roberts and Caruso split the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $1,012.
Thad Hewitt of Delaware, Oklahoma, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $3,455 Sunday after catching a two-day total of eight bass weighing 19 pounds, 5 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
Dakota Nollen of Midwest City, Oklahoma, caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 8 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $502.
With the regular season now complete, boater Ian Laybas of McAlester, Oklahoma, won the 2022 Bass Fishing League Okie Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,271 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. David Blankinship of Delaware, Oklahoma, won the 2022 Strike King Co-Angler Okie Division AOY race with 1,333 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. 13-15 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 MLF Toyota Series, the pathway to the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF 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.