DEGRAY LAKE — Boater Brian Bean of Hot Springs, Arkansas, caught a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 6 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on DeGray Lake. The tournament, hosted by the City of Caddo Valley, was the second event of the season for the BFL Arkie Division. Bean earned $5,844 for his victory.
“I started out and was throwing a Berkley PowerBait Power Lizard and caught my big fish, a 9-5, 10 minutes into the tournament,” said Bean. “That started me off right, and I thought all I’d have to do was go catch a couple of two pounders and I’d be in pretty good shape. But, it was a struggle.”
After fishing got a little more challenging for Bean, he changed tactics and began using a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent The General Worm on a spinning reel near the bank on the edge of the grass line and caught more fish, including a 3-pounder that was his last fish of the day. Bean said he caught only five keepers in the mid-to-lower end of DeGray during the tournament. Those five keepers turned out to be the right five, and Bean posted his second career BFL win.
“The deepest I got was eight feet,” Bean said. “The lake had come up and back down, and there’s some algae that had grown, and I tried to stay in the clean spots where the fish were coming to spawn. I had another 5-pounder I was trying to catch, and I had a few minutes left, but I thought it wasn’t worth it, and decided to head back to weigh-in with what I had.
“I love fishing DeGray,” Bean added. “I have won a ton of money there, but that 9-5 is nowhere the biggest fish I’ve caught there. There are some dang big ones in there. Four years ago I caught one that weighed 12.69 on certified scales.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:
1st: Brian Bean, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 18-6, $5,844
2nd: Blake Martin, Dardanelle, Ark., five bass, 13-13, $2,122
3rd: Quincy Houchin, Mabelvale, Ark., five bass, 13-12, $1,913 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
4th: Ben Blaschke, Roland, Okla., five bass, 13-6, $990
5th: Teddy Bogard, White Hall, Ark., five bass, 13-2, $849
6th: William Mahan, Malvern, Ark., five bass, 12-14, $778
7th: Mike Rhinehart, Pottsville, Ark., five bass, 12-8, $707
8th: Wayne Dixon, Morrilton, Ark., five bass, 12-1, $637
9th: Tim Rasberry, Clarksville, Ark., five bass, 11-6, $566
10th: Devin Garner, Arkadelphia, Ark., four bass, 11-5, $495
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Bean also caught a largemouth that weighed 9 pounds, 5 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $600.
Steve Duggan of Pearcy, Arkansas, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,122 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that weighed 12 pounds, 12 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:
1st: Steve Duggan, Pearcy, Ark., five bass, 12-12, $2,122
2nd: Randy Allen, Russellville, Ark., five bass, 10-12, $1,261
3rd: Reid Prescott, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 10-11, $707
4th: Frank Reynolds, Bryant, Ark., five bass, 10-1, $495
5th: Todd Christen, Conway, Ark., five bass, 9-12, $424
6th: John McCullar, Benton, Ark., four bass, 9-9, $389
7th: John Hankins, Atkins, Ark., five bass, 9-7, $354
8th: Clayton Self, Benton, Ark., five bass, 9-3, $468
9th: Colton Arnold, Hope, Ark., five bass, 8-2, $265
9th: Adam Wright, Benton, Ark., five bass, 8-2, $265
Michael Morgan of Hot Springs, Arkansas, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $300, catching a largemouth that weighed in at 5 pounds, 5 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.
After two events, Blake Martin of Dardanelle, Arkansas, leads the BFL Arkie Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 499 points, while John Hankins of Atkins, Arkansas, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 489 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. 5-7 BFL Regional tournament on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Oklahoma. 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. For regular Bass Fishing League updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
About Major League Fishing
Major League Fishing (MLF) is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, producing more than 250 events annually at some of the most prestigious fisheries in the world, while broadcasting to America’s living rooms on CBS, the Discovery Channel, the Outdoor Channel, CBS Sports Network, the World Fishing Network and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, the MLF roster of bass anglers includes the world’s top pros and more than 30,000 competitors in all 50 states and 13 countries. Since its founding in 2011, MLF has advanced the sport of competitive fishing through its premier television broadcasts and livestreams and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for bass through research, education, fisheries enhancement and fish care.