ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. – Boater Blake Tomlin of Greenville, Georgia, caught five bass Saturday weighing 21 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Martin. The tournament, hosted by the Lake Martin Tourism Association, was the season-opener for the Bass Fishing League Bama Division. Tomlin earned $5,911 for his victory.
“We started out fishing the shoals and caught a few fish pretty quick,” said Tomlin. “I caught two 3-pounders back-to-back on my first stop, and then it was really slow after that until about 9:30 when I caught my second- and third-biggest fish within 15 minutes of each other on a Z-Man Original ChatterBait.”
Tomlin said after he had four fish in the livewell he relocated to fill out his limit. He said he waited for the water to warm up and went back to the spot where he caught his two big fish at 9:30. The move resulted in his largest bass of the day that fell for a flipping jig. Tomlin said he then moved back down the lake to get close to the ramp.
“I thought I had 18, maybe 19 pounds, and I thought I had a pretty good chance at that point to win,” Tomlin said. “I finished out the last hour fishing around there and ended up catching a 3½-pound spotted bass on a swimbait.”
Tomlin said the win was special to him because he struggled in competition for a couple of years and didn’t cash a tournament check.
“I knew I could better than what I was doing,” Tomlin said. “I wasn’t even catching decent bags. I had a rough go at it for a couple of years. So, I took a year off and then started back again and did pretty good in a Regional Championship and pretty decent in the All-American, and that kind of lit my fire and I have been really wanting to win.
“I’ve only fished Lake Martin four times,” Tomlin added. “I thought Martin would be a good lake to have a chance to win, because you can get lucky and catch some decent ones and have a shot whether you know the lake really well or not.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Blake Tomlin, Greenville, Ga., five bass, 21-11, $5,911
2nd: Timothy Hatcher, Trussville, Ala., five bass, 15-0, $2,561
3rd: Brady Vernon, Birmingham, Ala., five bass, 14-13, $1,705
4th: Lucas Lindsay, Opelika, Ala., five bass, 14-12, $1,195
5th: Tommy Gunn, Cusseta, Ala., five bass, 14-9, $1,024
6th: Rob Cruvellier, Auburn, Ala., five bass, 12-10, $896
6th: Dusty Robinson, Eclectic, Ala., five bass, 12-10, $896
8th: Hunter Davidson, Reform, Ala., five bass, 12-9, $768
9th: Charles Davis, Wetumpka, Ala., five bass, 12-7, $683
10th: Mark Stewart, Ashville, Ala., five bass, 12-5, $598
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Tomlin had a 5-pound, 7-ounce largemouth that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $790.
Cameron Petras of Biloxi, Mississippi, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,561 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 11 pounds, 12 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: Cameron Petras, Biloxi, Miss., five bass, 11-12, $2,561
2nd: Mike L. Hardin Sr., Robertsdale, Ala., five bass, 11-4, $1,280
3rd: Scott Bussey, Hayden, Ala., four bass, 10-12, $1,249
4th: Darrell Eller, Montgomery, Ala., five bass, 10-4, $598
5th: Thomas Eyler, Ashford, Ala., five bass, 10-3, $512
6th: William Yoerg, Springville, Ala., five bass, 10-2, $669
7th: Justin Foster, Zebulon, Ga., five bass, 9-15, $405
7th: Randall Norton, Ashland, Ala., five bass, 9-15, $405
9th: Michael Ward, Dadeville, Ala., five bass, 9-5, $341
10th: Daniel Buswell Jr., Fayetteville, Ga., five bass, 9-1, $299
Bussey caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 3 pounds, 15 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $395.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 13-15 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Pickwick Lake in Counce, Tennessee. Boaters will compete 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 fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.
The 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six Regional Championships 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 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American. The 2022 All-American will be held June 2-4 at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.
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 MLF Toyota Series, the pathway to the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, AFTCO, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Gary Yamamoto Baits, General Tire, Lew’s, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Revital Outdoors, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X, YETI and Yo-Zuri.
For complete details and updated tournament information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.