China Grove’s Smith works offshore for win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at High Rock Lake - Major League Fishing
China Grove’s Smith works offshore for win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at High Rock Lake
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China Grove’s Smith works offshore for win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at High Rock Lake

Arlington, Virginia’s Grant tops Strike King co-angler division
Image for China Grove’s Smith works offshore for win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at High Rock Lake
June 17, 2024 • MLF • Press Releases

LEXINGTON, N.C. – Boater Ronnie Smith of China Grove, North Carolina, caught a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 5 ounces, Saturday to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on High Rock Lake. The tournament was the fourth event of the season for the BFL North Carolina Division. Smith earned $3,838 for his victory.

“I’ve been catching them pretty good for about three weeks out deep,” Smith said. “I fished deep today (Saturday). I caught them on a big worm and a jig in about 18 feet of water. They were set up on stumps, brush, high places in the mid-lake.” 

Smith says a tip from a buddy led to his starting the day out in deep water, even though he’d been fishing shallow water in the mornings leading up to the tournament. After losing his first fish, he quickly landed three quality bass, including a 6-pound, 15-ounce kicker that earned him the Berkley Big Bass award on the boater side. 

With those three in the box, Smith ran to another creek and caught a 5-pounder, then moved again and landed several more quality fish to solidify his limit early. 

“They bit good this morning,” said Smith, who has decades of experience on High Rock.

“That’s the key,” he said of his experience. “I’ve fished that lake for about 40 years. Over 40 years. Fifty years, probably. So I’ve got a lot of seat time down there. And the fish aren’t everywhere. They’re just in certain areas.”

His key baits were a 3/4-ounce football-head jig and a 10-inch Zoom Ol’ Monster Worm.

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:          Ronnie Smith, China Grove, N.C., five bass, 20-5, $3,838
2nd:        Ron Wolfarth, Oakboro, N.C., five bass, 18-11, $1,709
3rd:        Mike Kiser, Linwood, N.C., five bass, 18-3, $1,138
4th:         David Bright, Mooresville, N.C., five bass, 17-11, $923
5th:         Adam Flora, Red House, W.Va., five bass, 16-14, $684
6th:         David Wright, Lexington, N.C., five bass, 16-12, $1,127 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
7th:         Jason Thomas, Lexington, N.C., five bass, 15-13, $570
8th:         Scott Hamrick, Denver, N.C., five bass, 14-8, $513
9th:         Landon Whicker, Winston-Salem, N.C., five bass, 13-13, $756
10th:      Chad Sims, Lancaster, S.C., four bass, 13-8, $399

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Smith caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $420.

David Grant of Arlington, Virginia, won the Strike King co-angler division and $1,709 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 16 pounds, 10 ounces.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished: 

1st:          David Grant, Arlington, Va., five bass, 16-10, $1,709
2nd:        Greg Mauldin, Archdale, N.C., five bass, 15-0, $855
3rd:        David Deciucis, Chester, Va., five bass, 14-4, $570
4th:         Jean Lacerte, Elm City, N.C., five bass, 9-12, $399
5th:         Alex Moss, Lambsburg, Va., three bass, 8-6, $442
6th:         Chip Crews, Trinity, N.C., two bass, 8-3, $313
7th:         Dustan Hudson, Grover, N.C., four bass, 7-12, $285
8th:         Joel Cerv, North Wilkesboro, N.C., two bass, 7-1, $256
9th:         Andy Kearns, Trinity, N.C., four bass, 6-15, $228
10th:      Jason Hinger, Timberlake, N.C., four bass, 6-13, $349

Richard Young of Rutherfordton, N.C., earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $210, catching a bass that weighed in at 5 pounds, 14 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After four events, Scott Hamrick of Denver, North Carolina, leads the Fishing Clash North Carolina Division Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 953 points, while Hunter Alexander of China Grove, North Carolina, leads the Fishing Clash North Carolina Co-Angler of the Year race with 963 points.

The next event for BFL North Carolina Division anglers will be held Sept. 28-29, at Lake Norman in Mooresville, North Carolina. To register for the event as a boater or a co-angler, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com or call 270-252-1000.

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. 10-12 BFL Regional tournament on Santee Cooper Lakes in Clarendon County, South Carolina. Boaters will fish for a top award of $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Suzuki 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 or Suzuki outboard.

The 2024 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.

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, Fishing Clash, General Tire, GSM Outdoors, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, PowerStop Brakes, REDCON 1, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, WIX Filters 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.