Stalvey Wins Bass Fishing League Super Tournament on the St. Johns River

September 18, 2023
BFL News Archive

PALATKA, Fla. (Sept. 18, 2023) – Boater Lee Stalvey of Palatka, Florida, caught 10 bass weighing 43 pounds, 6 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Bass Fishing League tournament on the St. Johns River in Palatka, Florida. The tournament, hosted by the Putnam County Tourist Development Council, was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Gator Division. Stalvey earned $6,362 for his victory.

“I went south the first day,” Stalvey said. “It went good, but it didn’t pan out like I’d planned. I had a big group of fish found, but I only caught one fish out of it. So, I didn’t feel really confident about going back to them.

“So, I went north this morning and stayed close to the ramp, but went to a ton of places,” Stalvey continued. “I was just checking different shell beds, docks and seawalls. I’ve fished this place for 35 years, so there’s tons of places I know. I ended up getting a couple of lucky big bites.”

Stalvey said he fished a variety of baits and techniques, including topwater in the morning, crankbaits, a Carolina rig, and a big worm. Stalvey said he hooked a large bass, an 8-pound, 3-ounce largemouth, that changed his outlook on the event.

“That fish really changed the ballgame,” Stalvey said. “I was rolling down the river and said, ‘You know what, I had some fish here in practice.’ There had been boats all over the spot Saturday, and then on Sunday nobody was there. I saw fish on the spot, and they were good ones. It hit my third cast with a ChatterBait. It was the only bite I got on a ChatterBait.”

Stalvey’s son, Parker, finished third in the tournament, and Stalvey said that fact made the win even more special for him.

“I’d been saying all along I’d love for him to win and for me to finish second,” Stalvey said.

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st:          Lee Stalvey, Palatka, Fla., 10 bass, 43-6, $6,362
2nd:        Lonnie Cercy, Middleburg, Fla., 10 bass, 39-14, $3,181
3rd:        Parker Stalvey, Green Cove Springs, Fla., 10 bass, 39-8, $2,122
4th:         Austin Black, East Palatka, Fla., 10 bass, 39-4, $1,485
5th:         Tracen Phillips, Lake Placid, Fla., 10 bass, 33-11, $1,272
6th:         Ryan Crowley, Fleming Island, Fla., 10 bass, 31-8, $1,166
7th:         Joey Bloom, Winter Springs, Fla., 10 bass, 31-2, $1,560 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
8th:         Aaron Yavorsky, Palm Harbor, Fla., 10 bass, 28-13, $954
9th:         Cliff Prince, Palatka, Fla., 10 bass, 28-13, $848
10th:      Allen Hopper, San Mateo, Fla., 10 bass, 28-13, $742

Earl Garcia of Tampa, Florida, had a bass that weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the Big Bass Boater award of $900. David White of Winter Garden, Florida, won the Co-angler Division and $3,631 Sunday after catching a two-day total of seven bass weighing 24 pounds, 1 ounce.

The top 10 co-anglers were: 

1st:          David White, Winter Garden, Fla., seven bass, 24-1, $3,631
2nd:        Garrett Gomes, Dunnellon, Fla., eight bass, 23-3, $1,591
3rd:        Pat Herolt, Citrus Springs, Fla., 10 bass, 22-7, $1,061
4th:         Tyler Lewis, Geneva, Fla., six bass, 17-2, $742
5th:         Rodney Yavorsky, Palm Harbor, Fla., 10 bass, 16-11, $636
6th:         Luke Cocke, Valdosta, Ga., six bass, 16-5, $783
7th:         Dean Haughey, Babson Park, Fla., seven bass, 16-1, $530
8th:         Doug Back, Monticello, Fla., eight bass, 13-5, $627
9th:         Ben Arnold, LaFollette, Tenn., seven bass, 13-2, $424
10th:      Chris Westhelle, Sanford, Fla., eight bass, 13-0, $371

White also caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 8 pounds even. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $450.