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Bloomington’s Funkhouser Claims Victory at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on the Ohio River at Tanners Creek

LAWRENCEBERG, Ind. – Boater Brian Funkhouser of Bloomington, Indiana, caught a five-bass limit weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on the Ohio River-Tanners Creek. The tournament was the third event of the season for the BFL Hoosier Division. Funkhouser earned $4,315 for his victory.

“I spent a couple of days practicing for the event and found some fry guarders,” said Funkhouser. “I found them in a couple of creeks, so I had a plan.”

Funkhouser said he caught all five of his keeper fish, in Craig’s Creek, on shallow spinnerbaits. He said he thought his hopes for a win had disappeared after he lost a quality bass.

“I lost a good one and thought I’d end up maybe in the top five,” Funkhouser said. “I didn’t think I had a chance to win after I lost that fish. It’s the river; you can’t afford to lose any of them.

“To lose that one and end up winning is awesome,” Funkhouser added. “I’ve done this for a while now, and it’s always nice to beat the caliber of guys that fish in this league.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:        Brian Funkhouser, Bloomington, Ind., five bass, 8-1, $4,315
2nd:       Doug Ruster, New Palestine, Ind., four bass, 6-4, $2,707
3rd:       Travis Spivey, Union, Ky., five bass, 6-1, $1,439
4th:        Chris Wilkinson, Farmersburg, Ind., five bass, 5-12, $1,007
5th:        Scott Bateman, Jasper, Ind., five bass, 5-11, $1,063
6th:        Jeramiah Sifers, Sellersburg, Ind., two bass, 5-9, $1,011
7th:        David Spivey, Hamilton, Ohio, three bass, 5-7, $719
8th:        Erik Sanders, Bedford, Ind., one bass, 5-6, $1,757 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
9th:        Brandon Barrett, Bloomington, Ind., four bass, 5-5, $575
10th:     Kenneth Pincombe, Hamilton, Ohio, four bass, 5-4, $503

Complete results can be found at

Erik Sanders of Bedford, Indiana, caught a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 6 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $610.

Martin Bryant of North Vernon, Indiana, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,140 Saturday, after bringing three bass to the scale that totaled 7 pounds, 4 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:        Martin Bryant, North Vernon, Ind., three bass, 7-4, $2,140
2nd:       Eric Moore, Hamilton, Ohio, four bass, 6-5, $1,070
3rd:       Dan Pardue, Morgantown, Ind., four bass, 5-0, $605
3rd:       Russell Vandiver, Greenfield, Ind., four bass, 5-0, $605
5th:        Derek Jackson, New Albany, Ind., one bass, 4-15, $730
6th:        Brandon Houston, Lakeside Park, Ky., three bass, 4-6, $392
7th:        John Thomas, Quincy, Ind., one bass, 4-1, $357
8th:        Greg Marshall, Paris, Ky., two bass, 3-14, $321
9th:        Ryan Sykes, Fairfield, Ohio, two bass, 3-12, $685
10th:     Collin Hillen, Evansville, Ind., three bass, 3-8, $237
10th:     Rob Earickson, Camby, Ind., two bass, 3-8, $237

Derek Jackson of New Albany, Indiana, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $302, catching a bass that weighed in at 4 pounds, 15 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After three events, Mike Quinlin of Mooresville, Indiana, leads the BFL Hoosier Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 730 points, while Jacob Parks of Noblesville, Indiana, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 710 points.

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. 19-21 BFL Regional tournament on Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. 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 2024 BFL All-American.

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

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