BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. (Sept. 11, 2023) – Boater Ryan Lachniet of Gum Spring, Virginia, caught six bass weighing 25 pounds, 5 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournament on Dale Hollow Lake in Byrdstown, Tennessee. The tournament was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Mountain Division. Lachniet earned $5,387 for his victory.
“This was a good tournament for me,” said the 19-year-old Lachniet, who now has two BFL wins under his belt. “Sunday, at 8 o’clock, I caught a big smallmouth that weighed 4-14. I knew that if I could catch just two more 4-pounders I would probably win it. It took all day, but I eventually caught those two 4s.”
Lachniet said he focused the majority of his fishing near Sulphur Creek Resort and targeted suspended fish with a 3.3-inch Keitech Swing Impact FAT Swimbait. Lachniet said his method produced 25 to 30 bass between 2½ and 4 pounds each day of the tournament.
“Once I culled out a 3½-pounder with a 4-1, I was pretty confident,” Lachniet said. “I knew it was going to be close, but I was hoping I had enough.
“This win is pretty awesome,” Lachniet added. “I’ve been fishing BFLs for two years now and fished my first one when I was 17 on the James River.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Ryan Lachniet, Gum Spring, Va., six bass, 25-5, $5,387
2nd: Jacob Woods, Louden, Tenn., six bass, 24-12, $2,694
3rd: Evan Fields, Shelbyville, Ky., six bass, 24-9, $1,795
4th: Ryan Davidson, Branchland, W.V., six bass, 24-6, $2,637 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
5th: Tanner Rich, Byrdstown, Tenn., six bass, 23-7, $1,077
6th: Tony Eckler, Lebanon, Tenn., six bass, 22-15, $988
7th: Isaac Peavyhouse, Jamestown, Tenn., six bass, 22-8, $898
8th: Bailey Gay, Union, Ky., six bass, 22-2, $808
9th: Christian Nash, Allons, Tenn., six bass, 21-10, $718
10th: Andrew Napier, Fisherville, Ky., six bass, 21-7, $628
Mark Towe of Gallatin, Tennessee, had a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 9 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the Big Bass Boater award of $690. Ryan Crider of Kettering, Ohio, won the Co-angler Division and $2,664 Sunday after catching a two-day total of six bass weighing 18 pounds, 6 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Ryan Crider, Kettering, Ohio, six bass, 18-6, $2,664
2nd: Barry King, Liberty, Ky., five bass, 14-9, $1,332
3rd: Billy Hughes, Eubank, Ky., five bass, 13-15, $889
4th: Nicole Abrams, Greenfork, Ind., five bass, 13-8, $622
5th: Andrew Devere, Paint Lick, Ky., six bass, 13-5, $533
6th: Allen Neal, Whitley City, Ky., five bass, 13-1, $488
7th: Garret Moon, Albany, Ky., four bass, 12-13, $444
8th: Keith Bridges, Spring City, Tenn., four bass, 11-2, $400
9th: Teddy Baggett, Nashville, Tenn., five bass, 10-8, $355
10th: Pop Catalin, Cookeville, Tenn., three bass, 9-8, $311
Scotty Reagan of Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee, caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 3 pounds, 9 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $341.
With the regular season now complete, boater Christian Nash of Allons, Tennessee, won the 2023 Bass Fishing League Mountain Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,320 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Allen Neal of Whitley City, Kentucky, won the 2023 Strike King Co-Angler Mountain Division AOY race with 1,288 points and earned the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.