OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – Boater Lawson Hibdon of Versailles, Missouri, caught 10 bass weighing 32 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the two-day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. The tournament, hosted by the Tri-County Loding Association, was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Ozark Division. Hibdon earned $7,695 for his victory.
The tournament was noted as a family affair for the Hibdon family – in addition to Lawson’s victory, father Dion finished the event in fourth place, while brother Payden ended the tournament in 10th.
“On Saturday, I caught 18 pounds in the first hour and a half,” Hibdon said. “Most of the day I shook them off because I knew that I’d be fishing on the second day. I shook off maybe 15 or so that I thought were good bites.
“I went back through that stuff on the second day and didn’t even get a bite; It was miserable,” Hibdon said. “I was excited because the sun was supposed to come out and put the fish under the boat docks, like it’s supposed to do. But it wasn’t like that.”
Hibdon said he kept a 9/16-ounce Hibdon Hammer jig in his hand almost the entire tournament and admitted he threw a buzzbait “way too much.” He also relied on a 7-inch Bojangles Trickster worm on a shaky-head rig to catch bass.
“I didn’t get to practice at all, so when I got out there and saw how good it was, I was pretty excited,” Hibdon said. “I burned a full tank of gas the first day trying to figure out where I could catch them, and a full tank the second day trying to relocate them.”
Hibdon said he fished about three miles outside of the Grand Glaize area Sunday, then ran 45 miles into the Osage River.
“I had shaken a bunch off there the day before, and that’s where I really like to fish, and I got back there, and bites were non-existent,” Hibdon said. “I bailed and came back down the lake.
“I was just scrambling around trying to figure something out because I knew somebody was going to really catch them,” Hibdon said. “Somebody will always catch them here. This win was definitely a surprise. But it all turned out, and that’s all that matters.”
The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Darrell Ivey, Jr., of Lebanon, Missouri, caught a bass weighing 6 pounds, 4 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division to earn the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $1,200.
Jeremy Greil of Imperial, Missouri, won the Strike King co-angler division and $3,848 Sunday after catching a two-day total of eight bass weighing 21 pounds, 14 ounces.
The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
Matthew Morton of Wichita, Kansas, caught the largest bass in the Strike King co-angler division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 15 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $600.
With the regular season now complete, boater Brandon Ackerson of Afton, Oklahoma, won the 2023 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Ozark Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,265 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Adler Odle of Willow Springs, Missouri, won the 2023 Strike King Co-Angler Ozark Division AOY race with 1,245 points and earned the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.
Now, the top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the division based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will advance to compete in the Oct. 5-7 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Oklahoma. Boaters will fish 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 compete for a top award of $50,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.
The 2023 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.
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 Bass Fishing League updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.