GALLATIN, Tenn. – Boater Joey Mallicoat of Lebanon, Tennessee, caught a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 10 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Old Hickory Lake. The tournament, hosted by Sumner County Tourism, was the fourth event of the season for the BFL Music City Division. Mallicoat earned $12,438, including the lucrative $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, for his victory.
“I ran down the lake and fished offshore all day,” said Mallicoat. “I caught a 4-pounder on my very first cast of the morning. I had a limit in the first 30 minutes and just culled up throughout the day.”
Mallicoat said he focused his fishing in water from Cedar Creek to the dam and used a football-head jig to target current breaks and hard spots – typical offshore fishing – seven to 15 feet deep.
“Around 12:30 I had a little over 17 pounds, and I thought I would at least have a shot at winning,” Mallicoat said.
Mallicoat said he caught a final 5-pounder with 45 minutes to go in competition to anchor his bag.
“When I caught that one, I thought somebody would really have to catch them in order to beat me,” Mallicoat said. “But there are a lot of good guys fishing out there, and I’ve seen a lot of them catch more than 20 pounds, so I knew it was possible.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:
1st: Joey Mallicoat, Lebanon, Tenn., five bass, 20-10, $12,438 (includes $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
2nd: Daniel Johnson, Lebanon, Tenn., five bass, 15-13, $1,859
3rd: Tim Messer, Hendersonville, Tenn., five bass, 15-12, $1,052
3rd: Jase Jackson, Lebanon, Tenn., five bass, 15-12, $1,052
5th: Corey Steakley, Lebanon, Tenn., five bass, 15-2, $744
6th: Josh Womack, Gallatin, Tenn., five bass, 14-3, $1,167
7th: Mickey Beck, Lebanon, Tenn., five bass, 13-15, $589
7th: Dillon Massia, Lafayette, Tenn., five bass, 13-15, $589
9th: Tony Eckler, Lebanon, Tenn., five bass, 13-8, $496
10th: Nick Uebelhor, Jasper, Ind., five bass, 13-6, $434
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Josh Womack of Gallatin, Tennessee, caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 9 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $485.
John Fitzpatrick of Baxter, Tennessee, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,101 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 13 pounds, 2 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:
1st: John Fitzpatrick, Baxter, Tenn., five bass, 13-2, $2,101
2nd: Blake Whittaker, Lenoir City, Tenn., five bass, 12-4, $929
3rd: Gilbert Jolley, Livingston, Tenn., five bass, 10-15, $819
4th: Mekiah Jack, Mount Juliet, Tenn., five bass, 10-10, $434
5th: Rocky Williams, Portland, Tenn., five bass, 10-8, $372
6th: Shane Overly, Brentwood, Tenn., five bass, 10-6, $341
7th: John Morrison, McMinnville, Tenn., four bass, 9-15, $310
8th: Jacob Frawley, Spring Hill, Tenn., five bass, 9-13, $279
9th: Mark Manley, Bowling Green, Ky., four bass, 9-6, $248
10th: Ricky England, Sparta, Tenn., four bass, 9-1, $ 217
Fitzpatrick also earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $242, catching a bass that weighed in at 5 pounds, 9 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.
After four events, Dillon Massia of Lafayette, Tennessee, leads the BFL Music City Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 939 points, while Rocky Williams of Portland, Tennessee, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 976 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. 12-14 BFL Regional tournament on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama. 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 MajorLeagueFishing.com.