Copley Wins Bass Fishing League Tournament at the Detroit River

July 24, 2023
BFL News Archive

TRENTON, Mich. (July 24, 2023) – Boater Jeff Copley of Marengo, Ohio, caught a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds even Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on the Detroit River. The tournament was the second event of the season for the BFL Michigan Division. Copley earned $7,410, including a $2,500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, for his victory.

“We started the morning out on some small fish,” said Copley, who made a run to Lake St. Clair to target smallmouth for the event. “I put about 15 pounds in the boat and got keyed in on a soft plastic bite. Then I went to a different area and ended up culling most of those out.”

Copley said he caught around 20 keeper bass during the tournament on a drop-shot rig, as well as a Ned rig, around clumps of grass in 18 feet of water. Copley said he had a good feeling about the day and mentioned that things went smoothly for him during the event.

“I lost a fish, but one bigger than the one I lost had followed the bait in,” said Copley, who posted a BFL win in 2022 on Lake St. Clair. “I cast back out at the big one and it ate it. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

“This win feels great, and I feel blessed to be in this position, that’s for sure,” Copley added. “The second win, I think, is the hardest. It validates the first win and tells me it’s not a fluke.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:          Jeff Copley, Marengo, Ohio, five bass, 25-0, $7,410 (includes $2,500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
2nd:        Nicholas Seitz, Maumee, Ohio, five bass, 23-2, $2,305
3rd:        Heath Wagner, Angola, Ind., five bass, 22-14, $1,536
4th:         Mike Trombly, Belleville, Mich., five bass, 22-9, $1,076
5th:         Brayden Federer, Adrian, Mich., five bass, 22-6, $922
6th:         Scott Dobson, Clarkston, Mich., five bass, 21-14, $1,065
7th:         Patrick Goodman, Sturgis, Mich., five bass, 21-10, $768
8th:         David Horstman, Adrian, Mich., five bass, 21-9, $1,361
9th:         Jonathon Dewey, Fort Gratiot, Mich., five bass, 21-8, $615
10th:      Jared Rhode, Port Clinton, Ohio, five bass, 21-6, $538

David Horstman of Adrian, Michigan, caught a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 13 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $670.

Dan O’Neil of Canton, Michigan, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,288 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 20 pounds, 4 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:          Dan O’Neil, Canton, Mich., five bass, 20-4, $2,288
2nd:        Robert Hernandez, Canton, Mich., five bass, 19-2, $1,153
2nd:        Rodney Soles, Dublin, Ga., five bass, 19-2, $953
4th:         Jeffrey Thomson, Birmingham, Mich., five bass, 19-0, $684
5th:         Hunter Ingle, Fort Wayne, Ind., five bass, 18-14, $458
6th:         Michael Hrynewycz, Goshen, Ind., five bass, 18-11, $419
7th:         Ryan Legg, Parma, Ohio, five bass, 18-9, $381
8th:         Aaron Stahley, Batavia, Ohio, five bass, 18-7, $343
9th:         Greg Owens, Clinton Township, Mich., five bass, 18-6, $305
10th:      Jason Cook, Edwardsburg, Mich., five bass, 18-4, $267

James Scott Powers of Toledo, Ohio, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $332, catching a bass that weighed in at 5 pounds, 7 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After two events, Mike Trombly of Belleville, Michigan, leads the BFL Michigan Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 494 points, while Robert Hernandez of Canton, Michigan, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 489 points.