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Former College Angler Bryce Boatright Earns Win in First Solo Event at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event at Lake Hamilton

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Boater Bryce Boatright of Sheridan, Arkansas, brought five bass to the scale totaling 15 pounds, 9 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Hamilton. The tournament was the third event of the season for the BFL Arkie Division.

A former MLF College Fishing angler for Henderson State University, it was Boatright’s first career MLF event as a solo boater, and he notched his first career win and earned $4,825 for his victory.

“It feels great to get this win,” Boatright said in his post-game interview. “I’ve got some history on this lake, and I’ve been wanting to get revenge here for some time. So it feels real good to win and get some vengeance.

“It was a tough day – I only got seven bites all day long,” Boatright continued. “I caught my biggest fish – a 5-pounder on a bed. I caught a 4½- pounder on a wacky worm, and I got one good bite on a buzzbait. Those were my three key baits – I sight-fished, a buzzbait and a wacky worm.”

Boatright said that he earned the victory by covering a lot of water.

“I was all over the lake – mid-lake, down-lake – I ran all over and burned a lot of gas,” he said. “The key was just being in the right place at the right time. All of my fish were coming pretty shallow – in 2- to 6-feet.

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:        Bryce Boatright, Sheridan, Ark., five bass, 15-9, $4,825
2nd:       Rodney Copeland, Sallisaw, Okla., five bass, 15-6, $2,118
3rd:       Russell Richmond, Sheridan, Ark., five bass, 14-15, $1,913 (includes $500 Phoenix Bonus)
4th:        Kevin Brown, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 14-14, $988
5th:        Nick Aber, Yukon, Okla., five bass, 13-15, $847
6th:        Wayne Dixon, Morrilton, Ark., five bass, 13-13, $776
7th:        Brian Bean, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 13-12, $706
8th:        Chip Hawkins, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 13-6, $835
9th:        Brett King, Kinta, Okla., five bass, 12-5, $565
10th:     Lance Pyle, Sherwood, Ark., five bass, 11-15, $494

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Boatright’s biggest bass that weighed 4 pounds, 15 ounces, also earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $590.

Jody Jones of Harvey, Arkansas, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,413 Saturday, after bringing a five-bass limit to the scale that totaled 12 pounds, 8 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:        Jody Jones, Harvey, Ark., five bass, 12-8, $2,413
2nd:       John Hankins, Atkins, Ark., five bass, 11-2, $1,059
3rd:       Alex Albert, Broken Bow, Okla., five bass, 11-1, $706
4th:        Aaron Calvert, Russellville, Ark., five bass, 11-0, $494
5th:        Mark Sloan, Harrison, Ark., five bass, 10-10, $424
6th:        Corey Ruff, Jacksonville, Ark., five bass, 10-9, $388
7th:        L. Neil Welch, Malvern, Ark., five bass, 10-7, $353
8th:        Zachary O’Brien, Palestine, Ark., five bass, 10-3, $318
9th:        Steve Duggan, Pearcy, Ark., five bass, 9-9, $282
10th:     Mitchell Moore, Russellville, Ark., four bass, 9-8, $247

Jones also earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler bonus of $295 with a bass that weighed in at 5 pounds, 3 ounces.

After three events, Brian Bean of Hot Springs, Arkansas, leads the BFL Arkie Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 732 points, while John Hankins of Atkins, Arkansas, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 738 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 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 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: 4WP, 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.

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