FALLS OF ROUGH, Ky. – Boater Eric Hardesty of Nineveh, Indiana, caught five bass Saturday weighing 13 pounds, 2 ounces, to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Rough River Lake event. The tournament was the season-opener for the Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division. Hardesty earned $5,201 for his victory.
“It was a slow bite, and the fish were staging on hardwood trees,” Hardesty said. “I was flipping a green pumpkin Zoom Super Speed Craw three or four feet deep, and I really had to soak it.”
By soaking it, Hardesty meant he would let the Speed Craw sit for “10 to 15 seconds” before he moved it. The tactic resulted in 10 fish in the boat coming from the north arm of Rough River Lake, seven of which were keepers.
“The fish were biting just really weird,” Hardesty said. “It was a mushy bite at times. At other times they’d try to take the rod out of your hands, and the next bite you wouldn’t even know you had until they had already spit it out.
“I caught my biggest bass at 8:30 (a.m.) and thought if I could just fill out the limit I could be in the hunt for the win,” Hardesty said.
The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Eric Hardesty, Nineveh, Ind., five bass, 13-2, $5,201
2nd: Chris Martinkovic, Hamilton, Ohio, five bass, 12-0, $3,170
3rd: Blake Knies, Jasper, Ind., five bass, 11-14, $1,514
4th: Michael Bailey, Richmond, Ind., five bass, 10-4, $1,060
5th: Michael Seals, Terre Haute, Ind., five bass, 10-3, $908
6th: Jonny Norris, Bloomington, Ind., four bass, 9-10, $833
7th: Brody Campbell, Oxford, Ohio, five bass, 9-9, $757
8th: Tyler Land, Coatsville, Ind., five bass, 9-7, $681
9th: Clint Bissonett, Beavercreek, Ohio, five bass, 9-3, $605
10th: Jordan Tong, Owensboro, Ky., five bass, 9-0, $530
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Hardesty earned the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $660 with a largemouth that weighed 5 pounds, 13 ounces.
Austin Tinsman of Losantville, Indiana, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,232 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 9 pounds, 8 ounces.
The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: Austin Tinsman, Losantville, Ind., five bass, 9-8, $2,232
2nd: Rob Campbell, Martinsville, Ind., five bass, 7-14, $1,116
3rd: Hunter Coats, Martinsville, Ind., five bass, 7-9, $743
4th: Heath Kohlmeier, Mackey, Ind., four bass, 7-4, $671
5th: Jarrod Pickel, Indianapolis, Ind., four bass, 6-11, $446
6th: Marty Bryant, North Vernon, Ind., four bass, 6-10, $409
7th: Daniel Hurst, Troy, Ohio, five bass, 5-15, $372
8th: Jordan Bean, Pimento, Ind., five bass, 5-13, $335
9th: Collin Hillen, Evansville, Ind., four bass, 5-11, $298
10th: David Rector, Brazil, Ind., four bass, 5-10, $260
Bill Kissinger of Knoxville, Tennessee, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 3 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $320.
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 2022 All-American will be held June 2-4 at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.
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 MLF 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, Instagram and YouTube.