LaBelle Wins Bass Fishing League Tournament at Lake Champlain

July 10, 2023
BFL News Archive

PLATTBURGH, N.Y. (July 10, 2023) – Boater Bryan LaBelle of Hinesburg, Vermont, caught a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 15 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake Champlain. The tournament was the second event of the season for the BFL Northeast Division. Labelle earned $5,925 for his victory.

“I started out fishing for smallmouth, and it wasn’t working out so good, so I decided to go after largemouth,” said LaBelle, who said he has been fishing Lake Champlain since he was five years old. “It came together pretty good.”

LaBelle focused on fishing the northern end of Champlain and said he managed to catch a few smallmouth – including one he included in his final weight – but most were smaller fish. He said his best fish came on bruised- and elite-craw colored Beast Coast Tungsten Lil’ Magnum Jigs thrown at grass and rock. His efforts during the day produced 30 fish – 18 of which were keepers.

LaBelle won a Toyota Series event in August of 2022 on Lake Champlain and has posted numerous wins in other tournament circuits on the fishery, but this was his first BFL victory.

“I told all my buddies, ‘I’ve never won a BFL. I’d like to win one of these,’” LaBelle said. “Leading up to it, I didn’t think it would turn out this way, but I’m glad it did.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

                1st:        Bryan LaBelle, Hinesburg, Vt., five bass, 22-15, $5,925
                2nd:       Alec Morrison, Peru, N.Y., five bass, 21-2, $2,657 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
                3rd:       Kyle Cortiana, Broken Arrow, Okla., five bass, 19-12, $1,439
                4th:        Rob Cruvellier, Alburgh, Vt., five bass, 19-7, $1,007
                5th:        Michael Duarte, Baltimore, Md., five bass, 19-2, $827
                5th:        Brett Carnright, Plattsburgh, N.Y., five bass, 19-2, $827
                7th:        Jaden Parrish, Liberty, Texas, five bass, 19-0, $719
                8th:        Jim Sweeney, West Dover, Vt., five bass, 18-15, $611
                8th:        Brendan Vinton, Braintree, Vt., five bass, 18-15, $611
                10th:     Spencer Cookson, Sheffield, Mass., five bass, 18-12, $503

LaBelle also caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $610. Connor Kapp of Benton, Pennsylvania, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,122 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 18 pounds, 7 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

                1st:        Connor Kapp, Benton, Pa., five bass, 18-7, $2,122
                2nd:       Dan Housel, Carlisle, Pa., five bass, 18-1, $1,061
                3rd:       Trent Carey, York Springs, Pa., five bass, 15-10, $707
                4th:        David Hoolahan, West Deptford, N.J., five bass, 15-7, $795
                5th:        Brent Navari, Colchester, Vt., five bass, 14-12, $406
                5th:        David Cooper, Rushville, N.Y., five bass, 14-12, $606
                7th:        Peter Frumkin, Lincoln, Mass., five bass, 14-9, $354
                8th:        Bradley Sargent, Concord, N.H., five bass, 14-5, $318
                9th:        Austin Doser, Chazy, N.Y., five bass, 14-2, $283
                10th:     David Archibald, Somerset, Mass., five bass, 14-0, $398

David Hoolahan of West Deptford, New Jersey, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $300 with a bass that weighed in at 4 pounds, 10 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.