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Farmersburg’s Wilkinson Posts Win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Season Opener at the Ohio River-Tanners Creek Presented by Rabid Baits

LAWRENCEBERG, Ind. – Boater Chris Wilkinson of Farmersburg, Indiana, caught a five-bass limit weighing 12 pounds, 3 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine at the Ohio River-Tanners Creek Presented by Rabid Baits. The tournament was the first event of the season for the BFL Buckeye Presented by Rabid Baits Division. Wilkinson earned $5,575 for his victory.

“I hit four different creeks throughout the day and didn’t have a keeper until 10 o’clock,” said Wilkinson, who now has nine career Phoenix Bass Fishing League wins. “I finally figured out a couple of things.”

Wilkinson said he caught most of his fish on a gill-colored Hog Snatcher Baits tube and a few on a Hook Some Bass Bait Company spinnerbait. He said he targeted wood and rock shallow, in 1 to 3 feet of water. Wilkinson said the bait combination produced seven keepers on tournament day.

“Once I figured out what they were doing and where they were positioning, it was pretty easy after that, really,” Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson added that his ninth BFL win was just as special to him as the previous eight.

“This will never get old,” Wilkinson said. “If it does, I won’t do it anymore. I love the competition, and I love to win, and that gets me going that much harder each time I win. Because I want to win another one.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:        Chris Wilkinson, Farmersburg, Ind., five bass, 12-3, $5,575
2nd:       Brady Bickers, Carrollton, Ky., five bass, 10-7, $2,288
3rd:       Cody Seeger, Lewistown, Ohio, five bass, 10-3, $1,525
4th:        Dick Shaffer, Rockford, Ohio, five bass, 9-14, $1,068
5th:        Pete Justice, Sharonville, Ohio, four bass, 9-9, $915
6th:        David Spivey, Hamilton, Ohio, five bass, 9-5, $1,389
7th:        Hunter Colwell, Sidney, Ohio, five bass, 8-10, $1,263 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
8th:        Brad Baldwin, Waynesville, Ohio, three bass, 8-8, $1,313
8th:        Zach Graham, Westerville, Ohio, two bass, 8-8, $648
10th:     Sean Wieda, Alexandria, Ky., five bass, 8-0, $534

Complete results can be found at

Brad Baldwin of Waynesville, Ohio, caught a bass that weighed 4 pounds, 11 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $665.

Steve Sorrell of Beavercreek, Ohio, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,620 Saturday, after bringing four bass to the scale that totaled 8 pounds, 13 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:        Steve Sorrell, Beavercreek, Ohio, four bass, 8-13, $2,620
2nd:       Brandon Houston, Lakeside Park, Ky., five bass, 7-4, $1,144
3rd:       Brian Short, Oxford, Ohio, five bass, 6-14, $762
4th:        Jeffrey Smith, West Chester, Ohio, five bass, 6-5, $534
5th:        Dominic Bogolo, Hamilton, Ohio, four bass, 6-4, $658
6th:        Sean Hupp, Logan, Ohio, three bass, 6-0, $419
7th:        Dean Osborne, Jackson, Ohio, four bass, 5-13, $381
8th:        Andrew Cassidy, West Portsmouth, Ohio, three bass, 5-8, $343
9th:        Jeremy Middleton, Marengo, Ohio, three bass, 5-0, $305
10th:     Jesse Foster, Franklin, Ohio, three bass, 4-12, $267

Sorrell also earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $332, catching a bass that weighed in at 4 pounds, 11 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After one event, Chris Wilkinson of Farmersburg, Indiana, now leads the BFL Buckeye Presented by Rabid Baits Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 250 points, while Steve Sorrell of Beavercreek, Ohio, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 250 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. 5-7 BFL Regional tournament on the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. 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 2023 All-American event will take place May 31-June 2, on Lake Hartwell in Seneca, South Carolina. The event is hosted by Visit Oconee SC.

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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