GROVE, Okla. (Sept. 11, 2023) – Boater Scott Tassi of Arma, Kansas, caught 10 bass weighing 36 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournament on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma. The tournament was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Okie Division. Tassi earned $8,735 for his victory.
“I found some fish shallow on topwater and squarebill crankbaits during practice Thursday and Friday, but nothing great,” Tassi said. “It was just scrounging up five fish a day.”
Tassi received a late boat draw for the tournament, and said his starting spots were taken, so he started out running his shallow pattern where he could. With only one fish at 9:30 Saturday morning, Tassi said his approach just wasn’t working out for the tournament.
“I just had to punt, basically,” Tassi said. “I had to go back to where I’d caught a few fish offshore in practice, but that wasn’t something that I thought would be viable. At 1 o’clock Saturday I still had just one fish. So, I thought, ‘I’ve got to go big, or I’m going home.’”
Tassi said he stumbled onto something on his mid-lake offshore spots. Something good enough for a good limit both Saturday and Sunday, in fact. While most of his bass fell for a ¾-ounce Motion Fishing Company Football Jig, Tassi said he caught a few on a worm in stained water in 12 to 17 feet of water.
“I think the biggest key for me this weekend was just being patient,” Tassi said. “Instead of pulling up and throwing 15 or 20 casts and saying, ‘No, they’re not here,’ I stuck with it and ground it out. I knew if I calmed down and fished slowly it would happen.
“It was very stressful and very eventful,” Tassi added. “If you fish, you know two-day tournaments are hard to win, and three-day tournaments are near impossible to win on just a couple of schools of fish. Everything just worked out right. They bit, and everything that bit I got into the boat. It just turns out that where I had caught one fish in practice turned out to be the mother lode.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Scott Tassi, Arma, Kan., 10 bass, 36-10, $8,735
2nd: Joshua Tepley, Harrah, Okla., 10 bass, 29-2, $3,652
3rd: Bradley Sullivan, Shawnee, Okla., 10 bass, 26-10, $2,433
4th: Andy Newcomb, Camdenton, Mo., 10 bass, 26-9, $2,504 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
5th: Andy Carroll, Greenwood, Ark., 10 bass, 25-11, $1,461
6th: Brian Thurber, Siloam Springs, Ark., nine bass, 25-3, $1,339
7th: Dalton Warrington, Tishomingo, Okla., 10 bass, 25-2, $1,217
8th: Dennis Berhost, Summit, Mo., 10 bass, 24-10, $1,096
9th: T.J. Martin, Claremore, Okla., 10 bass, 24-8, $974
10th: Caleb Black, McAlester, Okla., 10 bass, 24-7, $852
Tassi also had a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 7 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the Big Bass Boater award of $1,102. Stephen Vogel of Muenster, Texas, won the Co-angler Division and $3,627 Sunday after catching a two-day total of eight bass weighing 23 pounds, 5 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Stephen Vogel, Muenster, Texas, eight bass, 23-5, $3,627
2nd: Justin Parchman, Oologah, Okla., eight bass, 19-15, $1,813
3rd: Kaleb O’Brien, Wagoner, Okla., seven bass, 19-5, $1,209
4th: Wesley Bissett, Broken Arrow, Okla., eight bass, 18-3, $846
5th: J.P. Northcutt, Grove, Okla., seven bass, 17-6, $725
6th: Blake Denny, Crowder, Okla., eight bass, 17-2, $665
7th: Michael Shinstine, Springdale, Ark., eight bass, 17-1, $604
8th: Brock Krohne, Belton, Mo., seven bass, 16-5, $544
9th: Timothy Cartwright, Sand Springs, Okla., seven bass, 16-4, $484
10th: Patrick Weir, Park Hill, Okla., seven bass, 15-12, $423
Scott Stallings of Glencoe, Oklahoma, caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 2 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $547.
With the regular season now complete, boater T.J. Martin of Claremore, Oklahoma, won the 2023 Bass Fishing League Okie Division Presented by Mystik Lubricants Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,286 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Danny Giacomo of McAlester, Oklahoma, won the 2023 Strike King Co-Angler Okie Division Presented by Mystik Lubricants AOY race with 1,237 points and earned the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.