KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Boater Max Moneuse of Parrish, Florida, caught a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 9 ounces, Saturday to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Toho. Hosted by Experience Kissimmee, the tournament was the second event of the season for the BFL Gator Division. Moneuse earned $4,729 for his victory.
“I made a long run to the south end of the chain of Kissimmee and decided to flip a Gambler Fat Ace Stick Worm around where fish could be spawning,” Moneuse said. “During practice, I was able to put the trolling motor in the water, put the batteries to the test, and cover ground. I fished an area that tends to be a spot that can be good when it has the early spawners.”
Moneuse said he rigged his stick worm with a 3/16-ounce Epic Baits Tungsten Worm Weight and a 6/0 BKK hook. His rig accounted for 20 fish – all keepers – during the tournament. He flipped the rig on a 7-foot, 5-inch medium-heavy plus TFO Taction Bass Series Casting Rod with fluorocarbon line.
Moneuse credited his Hewes flats boat with a 115-horsepower Yamaha outboard as being a key to his success, despite not being the ‘normal’ bass fishing rig.
“I always tell people when they ask why I fish in that boat is that it is better to be out there in what you have than to not go because you think your boat isn’t going to keep up with everyone else’s,” Moneuse said.
The long run paid off when Moneuse found quality fish, but he wasn’t confident heading into weigh-in.
“I honestly didn’t think I had a shot at winning until I got in and saw 16 pounds was leading,” Moneuse said. “The Kissimmee Chain has all those great anglers out there; It’s hard to imagine you’re going to win with a weight in the low 20s on that body of water.
“I told my co-angler I thought my weight was good enough for a top-5 finish and a piece of hardware, but I didn’t think low 20s would win it for me,” Moneuse said. “This is pretty awesome. I put a lot of work and time into preparation for any tournament, so getting the chance to win and hold up the big trophy is awesome.”
The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Tyler Sheppard of Yulee, Florida, caught a bass that weighed 8 pounds, 14 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $705.
Brandon Pabon of Deltona, Florida, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,364 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 18 pounds, 5 ounces.
The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:
Richard Ralston of Saint Could, Florida, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $352, catching a bass that weighed in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.
After two events, Tyler Sheppard of Yulee, Florida, leads the BFL Gator Division Fishing Clash Angler of the Year (AOY) boater race with 489 points, while Evrett Hunter of St. Augustine, Florida, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 488 points.
The next event for BFL Gator Division anglers will be held March 2, at the Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg, Florida. 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. 10-12 BFL Regional tournament on Santee Cooper Lakes in Clarendon County, South Carolina. 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 Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.