La Crosse's Laufenberg Bests Field at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on the Mississippi River - Major League Fishing
La Crosse’s Laufenberg Bests Field at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on the Mississippi River
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La Crosse’s Laufenberg Bests Field at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on the Mississippi River

Iowa’s Jason Swanson Wins Strike King Co-Angler Division
Image for La Crosse’s Laufenberg Bests Field at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on the Mississippi River
May 23, 2022 • MLF • Press Releases

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Boater Cade Laufenberg of La Crosse, Wisconsin, caught five bass Saturday weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces, to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on the Mississippi River. The tournament, hosted by the La Crosse County Convention and Visitors Bureau, was the second event for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division. Laufenberg earned $12,327, including a $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, for his victory.

“I had a plan to go catch some largemouth first thing in the morning, and I got to my spot and there was another boat on it,” Laufenberg said. “So, I had to turn around and make a 20-minute boat ride all the way back to where I came from.

“I basically had to start my mindset all over,” Laufenberg said. “I had three rods rigged for largemouth on my deck, and I had to put those away and get my smallmouth rods out.”

Laufenberg said he had two fish in the livewell when his co-angler caught a 5-pound smallmouth, and he became excited thinking he had figured out a way to post a big tournament bag. Laufenberg said he relied on a green-pumpkin Strike King Rage Twin Tail Menace Grub fished on a 1/8-ounce jighead to target the smallmouth. He said he fished the grub out of current and cast toward the bank to focus on fish in all three stages of the spawn – prespawn, spawning and postspawn. Laufenberg said he caught 40 to 50 fish during the tournament, 20 of which were keepers.

“Once my co-angler caught that big fish it gave me the confidence to stick with the smallmouth and hop from place to place and pick one off here and there,” Laufenberg said. “Then I lucked into a bonus largemouth – a 3¾-pounder – that was the biggest fish of the day. It was a day that didn’t start the way I wanted it to, but it led me down a winning path.

“It was one of those days you hear about that when it’s your time to win, it’s your time to win, and you can’t really stop it,” Laufenberg said. “This is my hometown, and there are a lot of really talented locals who fish in these events, so when you are able to be the best on any given Saturday in a BFL tournament, you really have an accomplishment.”

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

  • 1st:          Cade Laufenberg, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 17-3, $12,327 (includes $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
  • 2nd:        Clayton Reitz, Morton, Ill., five bass, 15-13, $2,064
  • 3rd:        Mike Gabel, St. Charles, Ill., five bass, 15-9, $1,577
  • 4th:         Robby Tufte, Fountain City, Wis., five bass, 15-2, $963
  • 5th:         Conner Choate, Toddville, Iowa, five bass, 15-1, $825
  • 6th:         Darren Zumach, Onalaska, Wis., five bass, 15-0, $757
  • 7th:         Joseph Titus, Bemidji, Minn., five bass, 14-14, $688
  • 8th:         Tanner Bock, Davenport, Iowa, five bass, 14-10, $619
  • 9th:         Kevin Wolfram, Chicago, Ill., five bass, 14-9, $550
  • 10th:      Jeff Ritter, Prairie du Chien, Wis., five bass, 14-8, $457
  • 10th:      Jacob Ambrose, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 14-8, $457

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Joseph Vazquez of Oak Forest, Illinois, had a fish that weighed 4 pounds, 11 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $575.

Jason Swanson of Waterloo, Iowa, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,351 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 15 pounds, 5 ounces.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers were: 

  • 1st:          Jason Swanson, Waterloo, Iowa, five bass, 15-5, $2,351
  • 2nd:        Mark Folsom, Waterville, Iowa, five bass, 15-2, $1,060
  • 2nd:        Will Ahnen, Fennimore, Wis., five bass, 15-2, $860
  • 4th:         Chad Plaskey, West Bend, Wis., five bass, 14-14, $482
  • 5th:         Benjamin Gusciora, Goodfield, Ill., five bass, 14-2, $413
  • 6th:         Alan Bernicky, Joliet, Ill., five bass, 14-0, $628
  • 7th:         Chase Traeger, Lino Lakes, Minn., five bass, 13-10, $344
  • 8th:         Ed Remian, Schiller Park, Ill., five bass, 13-7, $292
  • 8th:         Cody Oberfoell, Marion, Iowa, five bass, 13-7, $292
  • 10th:      Dilan Trester, Winona, Minn., five bass, 12-14, $241

Swanson caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds even. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $287.

After two events, Darren Zumach of Onalaska, Wisconsin, leads the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 495 points, while Alan Bernicky of Joliet, Illinois, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 494 points.

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. 20-22 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma. 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 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 FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.