SESSER, Ill. – Boater Larry Diveley of Saint Jacob, Illinois, caught a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Rend Lake. The tournament was the second event of the season for the BFL Illini Division. Diveley earned $3,832 for his victory.
“I struggled in the morning,” said Diveley. “I caught one fish pretty early and then lost one, and then I did a lot of running. I pretty much ran the whole lake and then ended up where I started out.”
Diveley said he keyed on mid-lake laydowns in 1 to 3 feet of water for most of the day, and covered them with a Bandit Lures Crankbait Series 100. Diveley said he caught 30 keepers during the course of the day, but the five fish he weighed were the only keepers he caught.
“My fifth fish I caught was a 4½-pounder, and I thought, ‘I might have a shot at this,’” Diveley said. “When I weighed in, I really thought somebody would beat me.
“This is just overwhelming,” Diveley went on to say. “It’s my first BFL win, and I just thank God I had the chance to do it.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:
1st: Larry Diveley, Saint Jacob, Ill., five bass, 14-1, $3,832
2nd: Scott Neighbors, Makanda, Ill., five bass, 13-9, $2,286
3rd: Colby Schrumpf, Highland, Ill., five bass, 13-8, $2,010 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
4th: Brennon McCord, Thompsonville, Ill., five bass, 13-5, $847
5th: Todd Blakeman, Chatham, Ill., five bass, 11-4, $726
6th: Garrett McDowell, Windsor, Ill., five bass, 9-14, $666
7th: Adam Brookman, Bonnie, Ill., four bass, 9-12, $605
8th: William Walker, Mulkeytown, Ill., four bass, 9-4, $545
9th: Levi Kohl, Edinburg, Ill., four bass, 9-2, $484
10th: Patrick Odell, Windsor, Ill., four bass, 8-15, $424
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Jake Hurst of New Athens, Illinois, caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 9 ounces to earn the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $465.
Charles Dammerman of Taylorville, Illinois, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $1,816 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 10 pounds even.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:
1st: Charles Dammerman, Taylorville, Ill., five bass, 10-0, $1,816
2nd: Aaron Wehmeyer, Bloomington, Ill., four bass, 9-13, $1,140
3rd: Kim Sapetti, Chatham, Ill., four bass, 9-8, $606
4th: Caleb Peck, Charleston, Ill., four bass, 8-15, $424
5th: Josh Watkins, Fort Knox, Ky., four bass, 7-5, $363
6th: Andrew Williams, Homer, Ill., four bass, 7-3, $483
7th: Ryan Murphy, Paris, Ill., two bass, 6-6, $303
8th: Drake Marshall, Smithton, Ill., three bass, 5-8, $272
9th: Jason Korando, Chester, Ill., two bass, 5-6, $242
10th: Aaron Arning, Walnut Hill, Ill., three bass, 5-1, $212
Aaron Wehmeyer of Bloomington, Illinois, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $232, catching a bass that weighed in at 4 pounds, 1 ounce – the largest co-angler catch of the day.
After two events, Todd Blakeman of Chatham, Illinois, leads the BFL Illini Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 492 points, while Andrew Williams of Homer, Illinois, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 493 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 Dale Hollow Lake in Byrdstown, Tennessee. 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.