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Deal Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Wild Card Regional on Fort Loudon and Tellico Lakes

LENOIR CITY, Tenn.  – After a grueling couple of days on the water, boater Ryan Deal of Evansville, Indiana, brought a two-day total of five bass to the scale weighing 15 pounds, 3 ounces to win the no-entry-fee Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Wild Card Regional Championship at Fort Loudoun and Tellico Lakes. For his victory, Deal earned $5,076 and automatic entry into the 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, as well as priority entry into the Toyota Series – the pathway to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the Bass Pro Tour.

Hosted by Visit Loudon County and the City of Lenoir City, the Wild Card Regional Championship is a no-entry fee, last-chance shot at the All-American for Phoenix Bass Fishing League anglers that didn’t qualify for a Regional Championship in 2021. An optional side pot was available to anglers who elected to participate at the Wild Card tournament, with the top 20 percent of anglers who elected to participate in the optional pot receiving checks.

The top six boaters and top six Strike King co-anglers advanced to one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine All-American, which will be held June 2-4 on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.

Running way up the Tennessee River on Fort Loudon, Deal said he caught his fish in about 10 feet of water, chasing a current-based pattern that relied on a morning bite.

Deal said his key bait was a ½-ounce Lunker Lure Rattleback Flipping Jig in green pumpkin with a matching Zoom Super Chunk Jr. trailer on 20-pound Sunline.

“The first day was definitely better,” Deal said. “I caught three good smallmouths early and a largemouth later in the day to bring in 12 pounds, 10 ounces.

“The final day was extremely tough,” continued Deal. “I kept catching 17½-inch smallmouth, but they’ve got to be 18 inches to keep, so I threw back about 10 pounds on Day 2 and only managed to catch one keeper the entire day.”

The Indiana native started fishing with Major League Fishing (MLF) when he was 16 years old and has fished more than 165 Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournaments over the years.

“This is the third BFL event I’ve won, but my first Regional Championship win and my fourth time to qualify for the All-American,” said Deal. “I’m excited and looking forward to going to the All-American again.”

The top six boaters that qualified for the 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American were:

1st:           Ryan Deal of Evansville, Ind., five bass, 15-3, $5,076
2nd:          Perry Dawson of Rockwood, Tenn., seven bass, 14-2, $2,538
3rd:          Kevin Powers of Unicoi, Tenn., seven bass, 13-12, $1,715
4th:           Steve Phillips of Douglas, Ga., seven bass, 12-2, $1,544
5th:           Darren Ashley of Calhoun Falls, S.C., five bass, 12-1, $1,372
6th:           Wade Ramsey of Choctaw, Okla., seven bass, 11-11, $1,235
Rounding out the top 10 boaters were:
7th:           Cameron Tull of Norman, Okla., five bass, 11-8
8th:           Anthony Tardivet Mondo of Ooltewah, Tenn., four bass, 11-5, $1,452
9th:           Jason Foster of Ripley, Miss., six bass, 11-4, $500
10th:        Darrell Ivey, Jr. of Osage Beach, Mo., seven bass, 10-6, $1,392
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

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