MOUNT IDA, Ark. – Boater Kevin Brown of Hot Springs, Arkansas, brought a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 40 pounds, 13 ounces to the scale to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship Presented by T-H Marine at Lake Ouachita. Brown earned $68,200 for his win, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, along with the lucrative $7,000 Phoenix MLF contingency bonus. Brown also received automatic entry into the 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, June 2-4, at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, as well as priority entry into the Toyota Series – the pathway to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the Bass Pro Tour.
“I’ve been fishing Lake Ouachita for 20 to 30 years – since I was 10 years old,” said Brown, who earned his fourth career BFL victory. “Winning this one and getting back to the All-American is such an unreal feeling. And knowing that it is on Lake Hamilton next year – these are my home lakes, Ouachita and Hamilton. All I wanted was the opportunity to qualify for the event on my home lake.”
Brown said that he keyed in on channel swings, targeting a mixture of brush and rock in 23 to 28 feet of water. Every fish that he caught in this tournament came on a Yum Yumbrella Flash Mob Jr. with Yum Pulse Swimbaits (shad-colored) on ¼ ounce jig heads and a ½-ounce green-pumpkin-colored War Eagle finesse jig.
“It was strictly an offshore deal for me. I never made a cast to the bank,” Brown said. “I ran probably close to 30 places. Sometimes I kept if off the bottom, sometimes I had to keep it on the bottom. It really depended on where the fish were setting up at. On the final day, I’m not sure what happened but they moved to some flatter stuff, and they wouldn’t get off the bottom at all.
“When I got to 10 pounds I knew I had clinched the berth into the All-American, but I wasn’t sure that I had enough to win,” Brown continued. “Then I got to 12 pounds and was feeling a little better, but I still wasn’t comfortable because of the guys behind me. Mike (Brueggen) is an unbelievable angler, and Brian (Bean) is one of the best guys on this lake. I hustled until the very end, because the two guys behind me were very dangerous.”
Brown had qualified to compete in the All-American Championship one time in his career prior, in 2010, on nearby DeGray Lake. Now he’s getting another shot at the big event, and once again he won’t be traveling far from home.
“2010 was a special year, because my dad and I both qualified to compete on the boater side,” Brown went on to say. “This one means a lot because Brian (Bean) and I have traveled together all year and now we’ve both made it. All I wanted was the opportunity. Now, hero or zero, at least I’ve got my shot and I can’t wait.”
The top six boaters that qualified for the 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American were:
1st: Kevin Brown, Hot Springs, Ark., 15 bass, 40-13, $68,200
2nd: Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., 15 bass, 33-10, $10,000
3rd: Brian Bean, Hot Springs, Ark., 15 bass, 32-10, $5,000
4th: Mike Reid, Greenville, Texas, 15 bass, 29-3, $3,000
5th: Taylor Johnson, Texarkana, Ark., 13 bass, 29-0, $2,000
6th: Hunter Litchfield, Macomb, Ill., 15 bass, 27-12, $1,800
Rounding out the top 10 boaters were:
7th: Charles Long, Denham Springs, La., 13 bass, 27-1, $1,600
8th: Harmon Davis, Marlow, Okla., 15 bass, 26-8, $1,400
9th: Barret Robinson, Jasper, Texas, 13 bass, 26-4, $1,200
10th: Brandon Bolton, West Point, Miss., 15 bass, 25-7, $1,000
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Brown took home an extra $7,000 as the highest finishing Phoenix MLF Bonus member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
Billy Rusher of Lincoln, Arkansas, weighed in 11 bass over three days totaling 25 pounds, 9 ounces to win the top Strike King co-angler prize package of $50,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.
The top six Strike King co-anglers that qualified for the 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American were:
1st: Billy Rusher, Lincoln, Ark., 15 bass, 25-9, $50,000
2nd: James Menold, Amory, Miss., 13 bass, 22-4, $5,000
3rd: David Ondria, Elmhurst, Ill., 14 bass, 20-13, $2,500
4th: Clint Horton, Falkner, Miss., 15 bass, 20-11, $1,500
5th: Patrick Weir, Park Hill, Okla., 15 bass, 20-7, $1,000
6th: Alan Hill, Ada, Okla., 15 bass, 20-6, $900
Rounding out the top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
7th: Zachary Barnes, Franklinton, La., 13 bass, 19-14, $800
8th: Jason Swanson, Waterloo, Iowa, 15 bass, 19-4, $700
9th: Scott Smith, Blanchard, Okla., 13 bass, 17-14, $925
10th: Greg Dennis, Fort Worth, Texas, 12 bass, 17-8, $500
The Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Regional Championship on Lake Ouachita was hosted by Visit Hot Springs. It featured the top pros and Strike King co-anglers from the Cowboy, Great Lakes, Mississippi and Okie divisions.
The 2021 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine consisted of 24 divisions devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season and 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, advance to one of six Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championships.
The top six finishers in each regional will qualify for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American, which will be held June 2-4 at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.
The top boaters and Strike King co-anglers 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.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on the MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.