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Morgantown’s Walker Hangs on for Win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event at Patoka Lake

BIRDSEYE, Ind. – Boater Chad Walker of Morgantown, Indiana, caught four bass weighing 16 pounds, 15 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Patoka Lake. The tournament was the second event of the season for the BFL Hoosier Division. Walker earned $5,024 for his victory.

“I had a horrible practice on Friday,” said Walker. “I fished the main lake for post-spawners and didn’t really find anything. So, on Saturday I ran up the Little Patoka as far as I could go and got on some spawners.”

Walker said he targeted grass just off the bank in 2 feet of water and flipped it with a Secret Lures Stupid Tube. The method proved good for six total bites during the day, but Walker lost two of those fish.

“I thought it would take 20 pounds to win,” Walker said. “I lost one that was easily 6 pounds right at the boat. We were getting ready to net it, and it came up and spit the tube out. When I lost it, I thought, ‘That was it.’

“This feels great, but I was nervous,” Walker added. “I’ve got three kids, and I would rank this win right up there with having children as far as how nervous I was. I was in the first flight, and I had to sit there and watch everybody weigh in. It really hasn’t even sunk in yet.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:         Chad Walker, Morgantown, Ind., four bass, 16-15, $5,024
2nd:        Brody Campbell, Oxford, Ohio, five bass, 16-1, $2,917
3rd:         Kevin Meunier, Lamar, Ind., five bass, 14-9, $1,464
4th:         Blake Knies, Jasper, Ind., five bass, 14-6, $1,275
5th:         Dustin Davis, Richmond, Ind., five bass, 12-9, $879
6th:         Chris Martinkovic, Hamilton, Ohio, three bass, 12-7, $768
6th:         Russ Sproessig, Columbus, Ind., five bass, 12-7, $1,268 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
8th:         Mike Quinlin, Mooresville, Ind., four bass, 12-4, $659
9th:         Nick Uebelhor, Jasper, Ind., four bass, 11-13, $586
10th:       Thomas Foster, Terre Haute, Ind., five bass, 11-10, $513

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Walker also caught a bass weighing 5 pounds, 8 ounces to earn the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $630.

Jeffrey Smith of West Chester, Ohio, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,193 Saturday, after bringing four bass to the scale that totaled 12 pounds, 10 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:          Jeffrey Smith, West Chester, Ohio, four bass, 12-10, $2,193
2nd:        Chad Jackson, Indianapolis, Ind., three bass, 10-13, $1,096
3rd:         Andrew Matuszak, Washington, Ind., four bass, 10-11, $730
4th:         Kyle Lambeck, Santa Claus, Ind., three bass, 9-0, $512
5th:         Nathaniel Hester, Indianapolis, Ind., two bass, 8-4, $439
6th:         David Rector, Brazil, Ind., three bass, 8-3, $402
7th:         Eric Case, Lexington, Ky., two bass, 7-3, $365
8th:         Scott Standafer, Felicity, Ohio, two bass, 6-11, $329
9th:         Larry Turner, Jr., Marion, Ind., two bass, 6-8, $492
10th:       Derek Jackson, New Albany, Ind., two bass, 6-6, $256

Ryuya Yamamoto of Troy, Michigan, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $310, catching a bass that weighed in at 5 pounds, 8 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After two events, Mike Quinlin of Mooresville, Indiana, leads the BFL Hoosier Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 492 points, while Andrew Matuszak of Washington, Indiana, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 495 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 of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. 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.

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