Delaware boater Mike Morris wins at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at the Potomac River - Major League Fishing
Delaware boater Mike Morris wins at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at the Potomac River
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Delaware boater Mike Morris wins at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at the Potomac River

North Carolina’s Barr wins Strike King co-angler division
Image for Delaware boater Mike Morris wins at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at the Potomac River
May 13, 2024 • MLF • Press Releases

MARBURY, Md. – Boater Mike Morris of Dover, Delaware, caught a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 7 ounces, Saturday to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on the Potomac River. Hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners, the tournament was the second event of the season for the BFL Shenandoah Division. Morris earned $5,475 for his victory.

While preparing for the Potomac River tournament, Morris practiced in all the major creeks, fishing “all the way from the bottom to the top” of the system. He figured out that he could get bit fishing a variety of cover and structure, with grass, laydowns and riprap being his best targets. 

“I caught a few on laydowns; not that many,” Morris said. “My bigger fish actually came on some riprap throwing a Big Mouth Lures spinnerbait in a blue herring color.”

Once he left the riprap, Morris ran to a few areas with pea gravel banks.

“There was some grass sitting in about 3 feet of water off those pea gravel banks, and I figured out that I could catch those fish throwing a spinnerbait and a shaky head,” he said. “It was a 1/8-ounce shaky head with a watermelon candy Zoom Finesse Worm, and I was dipping the tail with chartreuse dye. I was also throwing a drop-shot in that grass as well. The majority of those fish were postspawners.”

Morris worked the grass by sitting on the outside edge and throwing up to the pea gravel. Then he’d work his lure out to the inside grass edge.

Altogether, Morris had plenty of areas to cycle through. The biggest key in determining which ones to fish was the wind.

“I had to run them in accordance with the way the wind was blowing,” he said. “If the wind was blowing on my spots, I couldn’t get bit.”

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:          Mike Morris, Dover, Del., five bass, 16-7, $5,475
2nd:        Robert Hoyt Jr., Union Hall, Va., five bass, 16-6, $2,737
3rd:        Derek Brown, Charlottesville, Va., five bass, 16-4, $1,827
4th:         Mark Tornai, Fredericksburg, Va., five bass, 16-3, $2,147
5th:         Peter Davis, North Dinwiddie, Va., five bass, 16-1, $1,049
5th:         Joseph Thompson, Coatesville, Pa., five bass, 16-1, $1,549 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
7th:         Fred Aldridge, Brandy Station, Va., five bass, 15-15, $912
8th:         Lee Cox, Frederick, Md., five bass, 15-12, $821
9th:         Brian Laclair, Denton, Md., five bass, 15-3, $730
10th:      Gary Marean, Manassas, Va., five bass, 15-1, $639

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Mark Tornai of Fredericksburg, Virginia, caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $870.

Stephen Barr of Wilmington, North Carolina, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,737 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 16 pounds, 13 ounces.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished: 

1st:          Stephen Barr, Wilmington, N.C., five bass, 16-13, $2,737
2nd:        Brian Bruce, Bumpass, Va., five bass, 16-1, $1,904
3rd:        Rumnea (Rum) Kelly, Boyds, Md., five bass, 15-2, $913
4th:         Andre Wynn, Windsor Mill, Md., five bass, 15-0, $639
5th:         Kevin Farley, Cana, Va., five bass, 14-15, $547
6th:         James (Boo) Burtner, Penn Laird, Va., five bass, 14-11, $502
7th:         Jeff McBeth, New Philadelphia, Ohio, five bass, 14-10, $456
8th:         Shaquille Freeman, Farmville, Va., five bass, 14-8, $411
9th:         David Williams, Fredericksburg, Va., five bass, 13-13, $515
10th:      Troy Bowings, Essex, Md., five bass, 13-4, $319

Brian Bruce of Bumpass, Virginia, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $435, catching a bass that weighed in at 4 pounds, 11 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After two events, Chris Brummett of Lynch Station, Virginia, leads the Fishing Clash Shenandoah Division Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 489 points, while James (Boo) Burtner of Penn Laird, Virginia, leads the Fishing Clash Shenandoah Division Co-Angler of the Year race with 494 points.

The next event for BFL Shenandoah Division anglers will be held June 22, at Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. 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. 3-5 BFL Regional tournament on Kerr Lake in Henderson, North 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, REDCON1, 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.