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Virginia’s Bowen Gets Long-Awaited Win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event at Norris Lake

ANDERSONVILLE, Tenn. – Boater Travis Bowen of Duffield, Virginia, caught a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 6 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Norris Lake. The tournament was the second event of the season for the BFL Volunteer Division. Bowen earned $5,434 for his victory.

“I only got to practice for this tournament for four hours,” said Bowen. “Those four hours told me where not to fish. So, I got on Google Earth the night before the tournament, picked a couple of new spots, and the good Lord blessed me and led me to the right area. That’s all there is to it.”

Bowen, who focused on the lower end of the Clinch River, said his first fish of the day was a 4-pound, 10-ounce largemouth that fell for a Megabass Magdraft Swimbait. He then switched to a green-pumpkin and red-colored Zoom Trick Worm for the rest of the day. Bowen said every fish he caught, except for one, came on the same 200-yard stretch of bank.

“I fished that same stretch of bank back and forth for 3½ hours,” Bowen said. “Every time I’d go down it, I’d catch a fish or two. I tried fishing for smallmouth and got on a good smallmouth bite, but they were all short fish.

“I knew I had a decent bag, but I didn’t think I had the bag to win,” Bowen added. “As I headed back to weigh-in I decided to stop in a cut-through and throw out a spinnerbait, because the water was dingy from all the boat traffic. I caught an 18¼-inch smallmouth that culled out my smallest largemouth.”

Bowen said his first career BFL win was very special to him, especially given his tournament fishing path.

“I took a 12-year fishing retirement,” said Bowen. “After the 2009 season, I gave it up to coach my son in baseball and football from Little League through high school. After he graduated, I decided it was time to start fishing again. So, this win has been a long time coming, and it feels great.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:        Travis Bowen, Duffield, Va., five bass, 15-6, $5,434
2nd:       Christian Nash, Allons, Tenn., five bass, 13-13, $3,007 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
3rd:       Seth Fricke, Oxford, Ohio, five bass, 13-12, $1,670
4th:        Dillon Falardeau, Hixson, Tenn., five bass, 13-10, $1,170
5th:        Justin Beeler, Luttrell, Tenn., five bass, 13-8, $1,303
6th:        Ryan Davidson, Branchland, W. Va., five bass, 12-15, $919
7th:        Justin McGaha, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 12-12, $1,086
8th:        Landon Lawson, Jonesborough, Tenn., five bass, 12-11, $752
9th:        Jeremy Smith, Antioch, Tenn., five bass, 12-10, $668
10th:     Ken Vicchio, Bluff City, Tenn., five bass, 12-9, $585

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

David Mundy of Dandridge, Tennessee, caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds even and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $765.

Lenny Bays of Dayton, Kentucky, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,305 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 11 pounds, 14 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:        Lenny Bays, Dayton, Ky., five bass, 11-14, $2,305
2nd:       Dewayne Drummonds, Gray, Ky., five bass, 9-12, $1,152
3rd:       Josh Massengale, Oliver Springs, Tenn., five bass, 9-3, $768
4th:        Matthew Faulkner, Corbin, Ky., three bass, 8-10, $538
5th:        Tanner Huckstep, Chattanooga, Tenn., five bass, 8-7, $461
6th:        Perry Dawson, Rockwood, Tenn., five bass, 8-2, $423
7th:        Bonnie Johnson, Madisonville, Tenn., three bass, 8-0, $719
8th:        Josh Smith, Siler, Ky., four bass, 7-10, $346
9th:        Cody Stokes, Ooltewah, Tenn., four bass, 7-8, $307
10th:     Andrew Rogers, Bristol, Tenn., three bass, 7-5, $269

Bonnie Johnson of Madisonville, Tennessee, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $335, catching a bass that weighed in at 4 pounds, 5 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After two events, Dillon Falardeau of Hixson, Tennessee, leads the BFL Volunteer Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 496 points, while Lenny Bays of Dayton, Kentucky, 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. 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: 4WP, 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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