Winebarger Wins Bass Fishing League Tournament at South Holston Lake

April 22, 2024
Bass Fishing League (BFL) News

BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 22, 2024) – Boater Clayton Winebarger of Abingdon, Virginia, caught a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds even Saturday to win the Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on South Holston Lake. The tournament was the second event of the season for the BFL Volunteer Division. Winebarger earned $9,235, including the $5,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, for his victory.

Not surprisingly for April, the smallmouth spawn was on for the BFL event at South Holston. The spawning bite is typically a dominant pattern this time of year, and because everyone knows it, winning during the spawn can come down to who gets to the best banks first.

“I found a few banks that had some fish on them and was lucky enough to get boat No. 2,” Winebarger said. “I was lucky enough to get on a good bank really quick. I caught three good ones within the first hour.”

After that, he ran up the lake to another stretch and was able to finish out a quality limit. His best fish, however, came later.

“In practice, I had caught a 4½-pounder on a bank not far from where I started. That was on Thursday evening,” he said, “and I knew exactly where it was at. In the tournament, there was actually three boats that got on that bank right at blastoff while I was catching the other three good ones. So I couldn’t get on it. Later in the day, I ran back down to that bank and was able get on it and catch it (the same fish from practice), and that was the biggest one I had today.”

Winebarger caught his fish Texas-rigging a small green worm with either a 1/8- or 3/16-ounce weight.

Occasionally, if the fish got finicky, he changed colors – even using a pink worm. He caught his fish from about 5 to 16 feet deep.

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:        Clayton Winebarger, Abingdon, Va., five bass, 20-0, $9,235 (includes $5,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
2nd:       Corey Neece, Bristol, Tenn., five bass, 19-9, $2,418
3rd:       Jimmy Neece Jr., Bristol, Tenn., five bass, 19-0, $1,413
4th:        Colton Chambers, Elizabethton, Tenn., five bass, 18-10, $988
5th:        Matthew Rock, Bristol, Va., five bass, 18-3, $776
5th:        Brian Barnett, Bluff City, Tenn., five bass, 18-3, $776
5th:        Derrick Snavely, Piney Flats, Tenn., five bass, 18-3, $776
8th:        Hunter McClaskey, Elizabethton, Tenn., five bass, 18-2, $635
9th:        Cody Fuller, Bluefield, W.Va., five bass, 17-12, $529
9th:        David Tolbert, Bristol, Tenn., five bass, 17-12, $529

Complete results can be found at

Randy Oliver of Johnson City, Tennessee, caught a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 1 ounce, and earned the Big Bass boater award of $590. Saige Evans of Abingdon, Virginia, won the co-angler division and $2,064 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 16 pounds, 4 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers finished:

1st:        Saige Evans, Abingdon, Va., five bass, 16-4, $2,064
2nd:       Mac Fritts, Caryville, Tenn., five bass, 15-14, $1,032
3rd:       Keith Gunsauls, Dandridge, Tenn., five bass, 15-9, $688
4th:        Caleb Chambers, Elizabethton, Tenn., five bass, 14-15, $447
4th:        Kyle Musick, Abingdon, Va., five bass, 14-15, $447
6th:        Don Bible, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 14-10, $378
7th:        Matthew Faulkner, Corbin, Ky., five bass, 14-9, $714
7th:        Shane Winebarger, Abingdon, Va., five bass, 14-9, $327
9th:        Will Castle, Cleveland, Va., five bass, 14-8, $258
9th:        Brayden Ringley, Piney Flats, Tenn., five bass, 14-8, $258

Matthew Faulkner of Corbin, Kentucky, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $287, catching a bass that weighed in at 4 pounds, 11 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After two events, Jimmy Neece Jr. of Bristol, Tennessee, leads the Fishing Clash Volunteer Division Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 498 points, while Keith Gunsauls of Dandridge, Tennessee, leads the Fishing Clash Volunteer Division Co-Angler of the Year race with 484 points.