GALLATIN, Tenn. (Sept. 18, 2023) – Boater Ryan Dowell of Brandenburg, Kentucky, caught 10 bass weighing 31 pounds, 2 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Bass Fishing League tournament on Old Hickory Lake in Gallatin, Tennessee. The tournament was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Music City Division. Dowell earned $4,944 for his victory.
“I practiced Thursday up the river and caught most of my fish on topwater,” Dowell said. “I found a creek that had a few good fish in it, and I didn’t hook very many of them in practice; I kind of left them alone. I didn’t really know what it would turn into. But, on Saturday, I went there and got my limit pretty quickly, and ended up picking up a big one on the main river.
“Sunday, I went there, caught my limit, culled two or three times, and had what I had,” Dowell went on to say.
Dowell said he never left the creek during the tournament and relied on a buzzbait and spinnerbait thrown near any wood, with the bigger bass coming from cover hanging over water 5 to 6 feet deep. Dowell said he approached the final weigh-in doubtful of his chances for a win.
“I had a bad feeling when I came in that I didn’t have enough,” Dowell said. “I thought I needed one more kicker. But I had a little bit more weight than I thought I had.”
Dowell’s fears of not having enough weight turned out to be unfounded, as he won by more than 4 pounds.
“This win is a relief,” Dowell said. “You never know if you’re good enough to win or not. Being able to get it done feels really good.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Ryan Dowell, Brandenburg, Ky., 10 bass, 31-2, $4,944
2nd: Josh Womack, Gallatin, Tenn., 10 bass, 26-11, $2,372
3rd: Brandon Edel, Hendersonville, Tenn., 10 bass, 26-6, $1,579
4th: Anthony Guffie, Lafayette, Tenn., 10 bass, 25-15, $1,107
5th: Preston Henson, College Grove, Tenn., nine bass, 23-3, $949
6th: Gavin Daniels, Kingston, Tenn., 10 bass, 21-10, $870
7th: Garrett Albert, Winchester, Tenn., nine bass, 20-15, $791
8th: Beau Grissim, Lebanon, Tenn., 10 bass, 20-5, $712
9th: Brady Duncan, Lebanon, Tenn., nine bass, 20-4, $633
10th: Wade Werner, Portland, Tenn., 10 bass, 19-14, $1,123
Wade Werner of Portland, Tennessee, had a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 3 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the Big Bass Boater award of $570. Mark Gilbert of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, won the Co-angler Division and $2,766 Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 20 pounds, 1 ounce.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Mark Gilbert, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 10 bass, 20-1, $2,766
2nd: Rocky Williams, Portland, Tenn., eight bass, 19-8, $1,660
3rd: Eric White, Cullman, Ala., eight bass, 16-10, $790
4th: Gilbert Jolley, Livingston, Tenn., eight bass, 14-11, $552
5th: Kenny Botts, Alvaton, Ky., six bass, 12-9, $473
6th: Larry Billings, Murfreesboro, Tenn., seven bass, 12-5, $434
7th: Lamar Oxford, Dale, Ind., six bass, 11-10, $394
8th: Darren Kelly, Wartburg, Tenn., six bass, 11-9, $505
9th: Mark Talbert, Dickson, Tenn., five bass, 9-9, $315
10th: Justin Clark, White House, Tenn., four bass, 8-14, $276
Rocky Williams of Portland, Tennessee, caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 1 ounce. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $277.
With the regular season now complete, boater Josh Womack of Gallatin, Tennessee, won the 2023 Bass Fishing League Music City Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,308 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Rocky Williams of Portland, Tennessee, won the 2023 Strike King Co-Angler Music City Division AOY race with 1,350 points and earned the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.