MONTICELLO, Ky. – Boater Jake Morris of McKee, Kentucky, caught a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 15 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Cumberland. The tournament was the third event of the season for the BFL Mountain Division. Morris earned $5,122 for his victory.
“Man, it was slow for me,” Morris said. “I never caught a keeper until I got my first one between 11 o’clock and noon. And after that, it wasn’t much better. I caught five keepers. That’s it.”
Morris said he targeted bass in 2 to 3 feet of water, pitching and flipping trees and bushes with a Zoom Brush Hog as well as a Zoom Z Craw. Morris said his fourth fish, a 6-pound 5-ounce bass that took the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award, changed his tournament.
“That helped out tremendously,” Morris said. “That’s what won it for me. If you don’t catch a big one you get stuck in that 12- to 13-pound traffic jam.
“It feels great to win this on my home lake,” Morris added. “I’ve been fishing these things for 20 years now, and it is definitely not easy to win a BFL.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:
1st: Jake Morris, McKee, Ky., five bass, 16-15, $5,122
2nd: Nick Ratliff, Vine Grove, Ky., five bass, 14-14, $2,236
3rd: Tyler Thompson, Radcliff, Ky., five bass, 14-11, $1,492
4th: Andrew Adams, Science Hill, Ky., five bass, 14-0, $1,243
5th: Clay Reece, Lexington, Ky., five bass, 13-15, $894
6th: Blake Claudill, Hillsboro, Ky., five bass, 13-6, $745
6th: Steve Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, five bass, 13-6, $1,245 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Bonus)
6th: Billy Hall, Russell Springs, Ky., five bass, 13-6, $745
9th: Mike Lemons, Huntington, W.V., five bass, 13-4, $596
10th: Chris Hurd, Nancy, Ky., five bass, 13-1, $522
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Morris’ 6-pound, 5-ounce bass earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $650.
Mike Casada of Stearns, Kentucky, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,179 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 10 pounds, 3 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:
1st: Mike Casada, Stearns, Ky., five bass, 10-3, $2,179
2nd: Brian Kich, Berea, Ohio, five bass, 9-7, $1,090
3rd: Tracy Helton, London, Ky., five bass, 9-5, $725
4th: Kaleb Ferrell, Smithville, Tenn., five bass, 9-0, $509
5th: Curtis Cline, Hartsville, Tenn., four bass, 8-5, $786
6th: Chris Rushing, Gamaliel, Ky., three bass, 8-2, $400
7th: Allen Neal, Whitley City, Ky., four bass, 7-15, $363
8th: Abbie Greynolds, Liberty, Ky., three bass, 7-8, $327
9th: Anthony Scott, Byrdstown, Tenn., three bass, 7-3, $291
10th: Michael York, Berea, Ky., three bass, 7-1, $254
Timothy Ernst of Winchester, Kentucky, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $312, catching a bass that weighed in at 3 pounds, 13 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.
After three events, Christian Nash of Allons, Tennessee, leads the BFL Mountain Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 714 points, while Allen Neal of Whitley City, Kentucky, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 715 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. 19-21 BFL Regional tournament on Lake Norman in Huntersville, North Carolina. 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 MajorLeagueFishing.com.