SHELBYVILLE, Ill. – Boater Trey McKinney of Carbondale, Illinois, caught five bass Saturday weighing 14 pounds, 4 ounces, to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Shelbyville. The tournament was the second event for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Illini Division. McKinney earned $4,889 for his victory.
“The first 30 minutes on a rock bite, you can always catch one or two keepers as a safety net during the tournament,” McKinney said. “So we fished that way, and I actually ended up catching one of my big ones – a 4-pounder. That was a surprise.
“I’ve had a problem the last few times I’ve fished getting a big bite,” McKinney said. “When I finally got it right off the bat, I thought, ‘I need to start taking some more risks.’ I felt pretty confident I could catch a limit just junk fishing.”
McKinney said he switched to more of an offshore tactic that focused on edges and sides of points and different targets many anglers might overlook.
“Everybody out there has their ‘milk run,’ and everybody runs their same points,” McKinney said. “Sometimes something a little different doesn’t hurt much.”
McKinney said he employed the use of a Freedom Baits Jig in natural colors with a dyed tail as well as a shaky head rig with plum-colored baits instead of more conventional natural colors.
“I fished my confidence colors,” McKinney said. “If you don’t have confidence in your bait, it’s just not going to happen.”
The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Trey McKinney, Carbondale, Illinois., five bass, 14-4, $4,889
2nd: Jeremy Mull, Pawnee, Ill., five bass, 14-2, $2,144
3rd: John Wright, Windsor, Ill., five bass, 12-3, $1,297
4th: Todd Blakeman, Chatham, Ill., five bass, 11-12, $1,557
5th: Larry Diveley, Saint Jacob, Ill., five bass, 11-9, $778
6th: Micah Mulvany, Salem, Ill., five bass, 10-9, $713
7th: Travis Boley, Weldon, Ill., five bass, 10-3, $615
7th: Matt Weber, Glen Carbon, Ill., five bass, 10-3, $615
9th: Terry Holsapple, Greenup, Ill., five bass, 10-0, $486
9th: Kyle Dowdy, El Paso, Ill., five bass, 10-0, $486
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Michael Black of Toledo, Illinois, caught a largemouth weighing 5 pounds, 6 ounces, the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division, to earn the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $525.
Aaron Wehmeyer of Bloomington, Illinois, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $1,944 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 14 pounds, 1 ounce.
The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: Aaron Wehmeyer, Bloomington, Ill., five bass, 14-1, $1,944
2nd: Joe Andres, Effingham, Ill., four bass, 12-15, $972
3rd: Shaun Avery, Plainfield, Ill., five bass, 12-2, $949
4th: Aaron Arning, Walnut Hill, Ill., five bass, 11-14, $454
5th: Drew Williams, Homer, Ill., five bass, 11-3, $539
6th: Jojo Johnson, Benton, Ill., four bass, 10-15, $356
7th: Matt Chumbler, Carbondale, Ill., five bass, 9-14, $324
8th: Eugene Kim, Lindenhurst, Ill., four bass, 9-7, $292
9th: Tom Lyskawka, Arlington Heights, Ill., five bass, 8-13, $259
10th: Tad Cain, La Place, Ill., two bass, 7-14, $427
Mike Swetland of Tamaroa, Illinois, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 10 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $262.
After two events, McKinney leads the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Illini Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 495 points, while Wehmeyer leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 496 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, Instagramand YouTube.