North Carolina’s Barnes wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League regional tournament on the Potomac River - Major League Fishing
North Carolina’s Barnes wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League regional tournament on the Potomac River
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North Carolina’s Barnes wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League regional tournament on the Potomac River

Strike King co-angler victory goes to Tar Heel State’s Metz
Image for North Carolina’s Barnes wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League regional tournament on the Potomac River
Boater Jason Barnes of Concord, North Carolina, and Strike-King co-angler Stacy Metz of Staley, North Carolina.
October 9, 2023 • MLF • Press Releases

MARBURY, Md. – Boater Jason Barnes of Concord, North Carolina, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 44 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Regional Event on the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. For his victory, Barnes earned $68,000, 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. Barnes also received automatic entry into the 2024 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, May 29-31, at Cherokee Lake in Jefferson County, Tennessee.

Barnes said he didn’t have a good practice period leading up to the tournament; he had only two bites each day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Barnes said he started to figure out what the bass might have been looking for on the last day of practice and formed a game plan. He focused his efforts on the creeks – specifically the Potomac, Aquia and Mattawoman – and used a frog, a worm and creature baits to target grass that held bass. 

“Once I figured that out, I went back to one particular area the first day of the tournament and got some bites,” Barnes said. 

After catching his limit, Barnes spent the rest of Thursday continuing to search for waters that would produce quality bass.

On the third and final day of competition, stormy weather rolled into the area. Barnes said he decided to brave the weather and run to the same areas where he had caught fish the first two days of competition. After he had four fish in the livewell, he made the decision to relocate to a secondary area he had found, closer to the tournament takeoff site. He culled two fish after the move and secured his final day’s weight and the victory.

“I don’t have a lot of history on the Potomac River, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Barnes said. “I knew the weather would change things up, so I just went out and went fishing. After I caught my last fish, I thought I had a pretty good shot at a good finish.

“I’ve fished BFLs for quite a while and come close, but I’ve never been able to pull off a win,” Barnes said. “To win this one really is special to me.”

The top six boaters that qualified for the 2024 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American were:

1st:          Jason Barnes, Concord, N.C., 15 bass, 44-10, $68,000 (includes $7,000 Phoenix MFL Contingency Bonus)
2nd:        Chris Baldwin, Lexington, N.C., 15 bass, 43-5, $11,780
3rd:        Jim Vitaro, Wooster, Ohio, 15 bass, 42-13, $6,000
4th:         Randy Williams, New Richmond, Ohio, 15 bass, 41-13, $3,000
5th:         Michael Duarte, Baltimore, Md., 15 bass, 41-12, $3,000
6th:         Brett Carnright, Plattsburgh, N.Y., 15 bass, 41-6, $1,800

Rounding out the Top 10 boaters were:

7th:         Joe Zombek II, Scranton, Pa., 15 bass, 40-3, $1,900
8th:         Conrad Manuel, Pilot Mountain, N.C., 15 bass, 39-1, $2,400
9th:         Richard Hodges, Jr., Camden, N.C., 13 bass, 38-8, $1,200
10th:      Aaron Dixon, Bel Alton, Md., 15 bass, 37-14, $1,100

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The top four boaters from each division that earned a $1,000 bonus for placing highest in the event were:

Buckeye:               Jim Vitaro, Wooster, Ohio, 3rd Place, $1,000
North Carolina: Conrad Manuel, Pilot Mountain, N.C., 8th Place, $1,000
Northeast:           Michael Duarte, Baltimore, Md., 5th Place, $1,000
Piedmont:            Chris Baldwin, Lexington, N.C., 2nrd Place $1,000

Barnes 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 MLF Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

Stacy Metz of Staley, North Carolina, weighed in 13 bass over three days totaling 33 pounds, 7 ounces to win the top Strike King co-angler prize package of $50,500, 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 2024 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American were:

1st:           Stacy Metz, Staley, N.C., 13 bass, 33-7, $50,500
2nd:          Terry Bucciarelli, Ypsilanti, Mich., 14 bass, 31-7, $5,850
3rd:          Matthew Strickland, Portsmouth, Ohio, 13 bass, 30-12, $2,500
4th:           Josh Kauffman, Marysville, Pa., 14 bass, 30-7, $2,000
5th:           Connor Kapp, Benton, Pa., 15 bass, 30-6, $1,000
6th:           Jonathan Ceaser, Maidens, Va., 14 bass, 28-11, $1,400

Rounding out the Top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:

7th:           Matt Hummel, Dillsburg, Pa., 11 bass, 27-12, $800
8th:           John Chacosky, Media, Pa., 15 bass, 26-11, $700
9th:           Logan Kaplon, Rural Valley, Pa., 11 bass, 24-12, $600
10th:        Cornell Badra, Clarksburg, Md., 13 bass, 24-8, $550

The top four Strike King Co-anglers from each division that earned a $500 bonus for placing highest in the event were:

Buckeye:               Terry Bucciarelli, Ypsilanti, Mich., 2nd Place, $500
North Carolina: Stacy Metz, Staley, N.C., 1st Place, $500
Northeast:           Josh Kauffman, Marysville, Pa., 4th Place, $500
Piedmont:            Jonathan Ceaser, Maidens, Va., 2nd Place $500

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Regional Tournament on the Potomac River was hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners. It featured the top pros and Strike King co-anglers from the Buckeye, North Carolina, Northeast and Piedmont divisions.

The 2023 Phoenix Bass Fishing League 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, 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 Phoenix BFL All-American.

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 Invitationals and ultimately the Bass Pro Tour. 

Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, General Tire, Grundéns, Gill, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Mystik Lubricants, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.

For complete details and updated tournament information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular Phoenix Bass Fishing League updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at FacebookInstagram and YouTube.