Crowder Wins Bass Fishing League Tournament at the James River

July 24, 2023
BFL News Archive

HENRICO, Va. (July 24, 2023) – Boater Kermit Crowder of Matoaca, Virginia, caught a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 10 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on the James River. The tournament, hosted by Richmond Region Tourism, was the fourth event of the season for the BFL Piedmont Division. Crowder earned $5,830 for his victory.

“My day started off kind of slow,” said Crowder. “I made a run to the Chickahominy (River) and caught two quickly on a frog. I had planned my day to catch them all on a frog, but it just didn’t work like that.”

Crowder said in practice he had success on topwater baits, but his frog bite didn’t work out as expected on tournament day. He switched to a swimjig and found more bites he needed.

“They were just spread out, slow, throughout the day,” said Crowder, who lives 45 minutes from the James River. “There wasn’t one thing that worked and did it all. Whatever was in front of us was what we fished.”

Crowder said late in the day he landed a bass that weighed a little more than five pounds and he estimated his tournament weight to be between 18 and 19 pounds.

“My co-angler said he thought I had the winning weight,” Crowder said. “We started making the hour run back to weigh-in, and I thought then that I might have a shot at winning.”

Crowder’s weight proved to be enough for the win, and he said he was thankful for his eighth Major League Fishing victory.

“I’m not a spring chicken anymore, so this win feels really good,” the 66-year-old Crowder went on to say. “Just to win one running around with these young boys is a hard thing to do.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:          Kermit Crowder, Matoaca, Va., five bass, 22-10, $5,830
2nd:        Frank Poirier, North Prince George, Va., five bass, 20-12, $2,305
3rd:        Keith Roberts, Hurt, Va., five bass, 16-15, $1,536
4th:         Aaron Dixon, Bel Alton, Md., five bass, 16-2, $1,076
5th:         Christopher Wingfield, Richmond, Va., five bass, 15-10, $922
6th:         Dennis Burdette, Pembroke, Va., five bass, 15-8, $1,345 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
7th:         Ryan Lachniet, Gum Spring, Va., five bass, 15-6, $729
7th:         Evan White, Roanoke Rapids, N.C., five bass, 15-6, $729
9th:         Chris Moore, Mechanicsville, Va., five bass, 14-10, $615
10th:      Jonathan Bailey, Peterstown, W.V., five bass, 14-8, $538

Billy Clark of Disputanta, Virginia, caught a bass that weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces, and earned the Big Bass Boater award of $670.

Rickey Wood of Smithfield, Virginia, and Michael Rustin of Henrico, Virginia, tied atop the co-angler division Saturday. After contingency awards, Wood earned $2,128 and Rustin won $1,728 after they each brought five bass to the scale that totaled 12 pounds, 15 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers finished:

1st:          Rickey Wood, Smithfield, Va., five bass, 12-15, $2,128
1st:          Michael Rustin, Henrico, Va., five bass, 12-15, $1,728
3rd:        Sean Tobatto, Greensboro, N.C., five bass, 11-15, $768
4th:         Timothy Kinder, Fairfax, Va., five bass, 11-9, $688
5th:         Robert Wedding, Welcome, Md., five bass, 11-5, $661
6th:         Cornell Badra, Clarksburg, Md., five bass, 11-3, $423
7th:         Thomas Lang, Virginia Beach, Va., five bass, 11-1, $384
8th:         Rich Knisely, Disputanta, Va., five bass, 10-15, $326
8th:         Kyle Whisnant, Gastonia, N.C., four bass, 10-15, $326
10th:      Jared Sutton, Chester, Va., five bass, 10-11, $269

Rumnea Kelly of Boyds, Maryland, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $335, catching a bass that weighed in at 7 pounds even – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After four events, Evan White of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, leads the BFL Piedmont Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 963 points, while Timothy Kinder of Fairfax, Virginia, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 967 points.