Robinson and Davenport tie for the win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Lake Mitchell - Major League Fishing
Robinson and Davenport tie for the win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Lake Mitchell
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Robinson and Davenport tie for the win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Lake Mitchell

Montevallo’s Smith tops Strike King co-angler division
Image for Robinson and Davenport tie for the win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Lake Mitchell
Boater winner Robbie Robinson of Mobile, Alabama, Strike King co-angler winner Brad Smith of Montevallo, Alabama, and Boater winner Blake Davenport of Jemison, Alabama.
April 22, 2024 • MLF • Press Releases

CLANTON, Ala. – Boaters Robbie Robinson of Mobile, Alabama, and Blake Davenport of Jemison, Alabama, each caught five-bass limits weighing 14 pounds, 10 ounces, Saturday to tie for the win at the Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Mitchell. The tournament was the second event of the season for the BFL Bama Division. Robinson earned $2,964 for his share of the win, which includes the Berkley Big Bass prize of $425 for catching a bass that weighed 6-7. Davenport’s share was $2,539.

Interestingly, both anglers caught their fish throwing swimbaits. But they weren’t fishing the same pattern.

“Most of mine were postspawn, and I caught them offshore,” Davenport said. “There were a few prespawn too. I caught most of them off one spot that was up the river, on a swimbait.”

Davenport said the fish were schooled up in about 10 to 12 feet of water and relating to current.

He fished his swimbait on a 1/2-ounce Crusher Lures Legendary Swimbait Head and was able to land a limit in a quick flurry midmorning.

“It was like a 30-minute span and it was all over,” Davenport said.

Robinson pulled out a secret homemade swimbait he’s been making and using for years. The tournament veteran rigged the swimbait on a discontinued 8/0 hook that he carefully weighted with lead. He made long casts and waked the swimbait along and through the edge of some fresh green grass in about 2 feet of water.

The best grass beds were in pockets off the main lake. According to Robinson, the water dropped during pre-tournament week, which likely caused bass to vacate the grass. But then it came back up a foot on Friday, drawing the fish back into his areas.

“These fish have never seen it in their life,” he said about his homemade swimbait. “And it comes swimming through the top of the grass, and they literally lose their mind. I’ve had them hit it and come out of the water like yellowfin tuna.”

He figures he caught about five limits’ worth of 2-pound bass throughout the day. When he wasn’t fishing the swimbait, Robinson also caught some off beds, but the spawners weren’t big enough to help his limit.

His best keeper produced a memorable moment.

“When that big fish rolled up and ate that swimbait, I about had a stroke,” he said. “I stuck her and looked around at my co-angler and said, ‘Dude, you’re gonna have to get the net for this one.’ That’s the only time I asked for the net all day.”

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:        Robbie Robinson, Mobile, Ala., five bass, 14-10, $2,964
1st:        Blake Davenport, Jemison, Ala., five bass, 14-10, $2,539
3rd:       James Willoughby, Gulfport, Miss., five bass, 13-8, $1,129
4th:        Jake Childers, Hamilton, Ala., five bass, 13-3, $790
5th:        Steven Ingram, Tallassee, Ala., five bass, 12-15, $677  
6th:        Hunter Dubose, Andalusia, Ala., five bass, 12-6, $621
7th:        Morgan Brown, Spanish Fort, Ala., five bass, 12-4, $564
8th:        Chad Hall, Cullman, Ala., five bass, 11-13, $451
8th:        Kyle Dorsett, Springville, Ala., five bass, 11-13, $451   
8th:        Cole Williams, Jacksons Gap, Ala., five bass, 11-13, $451

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Brad Smith of Montevallo, Alabama, won the Strike King co-angler division and $1,648 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 9 pounds, 13 ounces.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:        Brad Smith, Montevallo, Ala., five bass, 9-13, $1,648
2nd:       Nick Glenn, Hamilton, Ala., five bass, 9-9, $824
3rd:       Troy Calloway, Sylacauga, Ala., five bass, 9-8, $549
4th:        Gary Marlowe, Montgomery, Ala., five bass, 9-7, $385 
5th:        Steve Barnett, Conroe, Texas, five bass, 9-5, $330
6th:        Brian Carroll, Glencoe, Ala., five bass, 9-1, $302
7th:        Kyle Kimbrell, Jasper, Ala., five bass, 8-15, $275
8th:        Bill Hutchison, Bessemer, Ala., five bass, 8-13, $234
8th:        Mark Black, Selma, Ala., five bass, 8-13, $234
10th:     Caleb Gwaltney, Athens, Ala., five bass, 8-12, $192

Co-anglers Steve Watson of Dadeville, Alabama, and Steve Barnett of Conroe, Texas, split the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $202 after each brought a bass to the scale that weighed in 2 pounds, 11 ounces.

The next event for BFL Bama Division anglers will be held May 4, at Lake Demopolis in Demopolis, Alabama. 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 FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.