JEFFERSON, Texas – Boater Raymond Ford of Beaumont, Texas, caught five bass Saturday weighing 29 pounds, 7 ounces, to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Lake ‘O the Pines. The tournament was the fourth event of the season for the Bass Fishing League Cowboy Division. Ford earned $5,122 for his victory.
“There were other boats at the spot I wanted to start at, but one left, and I was able to move in where I wanted to a little closer,” Ford said. “My co-angler caught a 3-pounder first on a wacky worm. I’m a crankbait fisherman, but tried a jigging spoon, a tail spinner and a drop-shot rig, but I ended up going back to my crankbait.”
Ford said the change back to his crankbait paid off, as he hooked his largest fish of the day – an 8-pound largemouth – that boosted his confidence for the rest of the tournament. Ford finished up the day with six keepers on a Strike King Pro Model 8XD and a Strike King Pro Model 5XD crankbait.
“About every hour I would hook into one,” Ford said. “I fished clean and didn’t lose any fish. My first four fish weighed more than 20 pounds.
“The water temp was 85 degrees with an air temperature of 90 degrees,” Ford added. “We were doing everything we could to keep fish alive.”
Ford said he called the tournament director to see if he could weigh in early to preserve the fish he had and ended up weighing in by 1 o’clock.
“I really didn’t know what I had at that time,” Ford said. “I didn’t think I had 30 pounds.
“With bass fishing there are a lot of lows,” Ford added. “I zeroed in my last tournament, so to go from zero to win this one, I won’t lie to you, this feels real good. But I’m staying humble. I know I could go out next week and strike out. But I’m enjoying the moment right now.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Raymond Ford, Beaumont, Texas, five bass, 29-7, $5,122
2nd: Rickey Elliott, Spring, Texas, five bass, 22-2, $2,064
2nd: Craig Lawless, De Berry, Texas, five bass, 22-2, $1,864
4th: Rich Richardson, Lufkin, Texas, five bass, 21-12, $1,043
5th: Kyle Everett, Deridder, La., five bass, 21-9, $894
6th: Wade Hudgens, Longview, Texas, four bass, 21-5, $820
7th: Tater Reynolds, Florien, La., five bass, 20-7, $745
8th: Earl Ates, Longview, Texas, five bass, 20-4, $971
9th: Bart Doty, Kilgore, Texas, five bass, 20-1, $596
10th: Cannon Bird, Marshall, Texas, five bass, 19-11, $522
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Ford’s largemouth that weighed 8 pounds, 2 ounces, was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $650.
David Sherrer of Elm Grove, Texas, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,336 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 25 pounds even.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: David Sherrer, Elm Grove, Texas, five bass, 25-0, $2,336
2nd: Greg Dennis, Fort Worth, Texas, five bass, 20-14, $1,118
3rd: Jacob Smith, McKinney, Texas, five bass, 19-3, $1,070
4th: Charlie Saucier, New Orleans, La., five bass, 17-5, $522
5th: Cedric Jackson, Sicily Island, La., four bass, 15-10, $447
6th: Daniel Bryant, Lafayette, La., five bass, 15-5, $410
7th: Bradley Murray, The Woodlands, Texas, five bass, 15-0, $373
8th: Jenn Nolan, Baytown, Texas, five bass, 14-12, $335
9th: Audric Horton, Whitehouse, Texas, five bass, 14-11, $298
10th: Connie Mack Martin, Shreveport, La., five bass, 13-10, $261
Smith caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 6 pounds, 9 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $325.
After four events, Tater Reynolds of Florien, Louisiana, leads the Bass Fishing League Cowboy Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 988 points, while Greg Dennis of Fort Worth, Texas, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 896 points.
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. 20-22 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma. 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.