Hernando’s Walker wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Ross Barnett Reservoir - Major League Fishing
Hernando’s Walker wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Ross Barnett Reservoir
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Hernando’s Walker wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Ross Barnett Reservoir

Iowa’s McCord tops Strike King co-angler division
Image for Hernando’s Walker wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Ross Barnett Reservoir
Boater winner John Walker of Hernando, Mississippi, and Strike-King co-angler winner Ben McCord of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa.
March 25, 2024 • MLF • Press Releases

RIDGELAND, Miss. – Boater John Walker of Hernando, Mississippi, caught a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 9 ounces, Saturday to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine event on Ross Barnett Reservoir. Hosted by Visit Ridgeland, the tournament was the first event of the season for the BFL Mississippi Division. Walker earned $3,418 for his victory.

Walker had no prior experience to lean on when building a game plan at Ross Barnett. The only day he’d ever spent fishing there was the day before the tournament, when he practiced with a co-angler, and the duo never scratched out a bite.

“All I knew to do was whatever was the opposite of what I did Friday,” Walker joked. “With the wind and everything and not being familiar with that upper lake and all the timber, I went right around the corner of the marina. I just kind of got on a deal where some fish were setting up.”

Walker had a limit of 10 to 12 pounds early, and it got better from there.

“Once that sun came out some bigger fish moved up, and I caught a 5-2 and a 4-pounder just flipping a black and blue (Zoom) Z Craw Jr. and a Zoom Speed Worm on a shaky head on the rocks,” he said. “I was kind of swimming it off the rocks, and they were hammering it. That’s all. I got lucky.”

Luck might have been a factor, but to Walker’s credit, he eventually got dialed in on a couple of key spots where small chunk rock was mixed with gravel or mud and the slope was slightly flatter than the nearby riprap. In the afternoon, new fish moved up to these spots from deeper water.

“Once I kind of figured out what was going on, we were scrambling the last hour and a half,” he said. “I managed to cull a couple more times during the last hour.”

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:        John Walker, Hernando, Miss., five fish, 16-9, $3,418
2nd:       Jed Farlow, Madison, Miss., five fish, 15-1, $1,709
3rd:       John Anderson, Bay Springs, Miss., five fish, 13-15, $1,438
4th:        Jonathan Williams, Moss Point, Miss., five fish, 13-9, $798
5th:        Hayze Hutzel, Flowood, Miss., four fish, 13-5, $684
6th:        Ramey Harrell, Lena, Miss., five fish, 13-0, $627
7th:        Barrett Saunders, Hammond, La., five fish, 12-8, $1,070 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
8th:        Noel Allen Jr., Brandon, Miss., four fish, 11-15, $513
9th:        Corey Sullivan, Brandon, Miss., five fish, 11-10, $456
10th:     Dave Woodfin, Kosciusko, Miss., five fish, 11-6, $399

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Tanner Peavy of Sumrall, Mississippi, caught a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 4 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $420.

Ben McCord of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, won the Strike King co-angler division and $1,709 Saturday, after bringing four bass to the scale that totaled 13 pounds, 8 ounces.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:        Ben McCord, Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, four fish, 13-8, $1,709
2nd:       Michael Marlin, Nesbit, Miss., four fish, 12-13, $855
3rd:       Randall Bellard, Walker, La., four fish, 11-5, $720
4th:        Thomas Smith, Brandon, Miss., five fish, 9-15, $399
5th:        Larry Stewart Jr., Brandon, Miss., five fish, 9-14, $342
6th:        Reggie Thornton, Columbus, Miss., four fish, 9-7, $313
7th:        Travis Culbreth, Pearl, Miss., three fish, 8-7, $285
8th:        Randy Maples, Amory, Miss., three fish, 7-11, $256
9th:        John Karisny, Dry Prong, La., three fish, 7-2, $228
10th:     John Breeden, Brandon, Miss., one fish, 6-2, $409

John Breeden of Brandon, Mississippi, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $409, catching a bass that weighed in at 6 pounds, 2 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

The next event for BFL Mississippi Division anglers will be held April 20, at Grenada Lake in Grenada, Mississippi. 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. 17-19 BFL Regional tournament on Wright Patman Lake in Texarkana, Texas. 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, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota 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.

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