Tingen Wins Bass Fishing League Super Tournament on Lake Keowee

August 14, 2023
Bass Fishing League (BFL) News

SENECA, S.C. (Aug. 14, 2022) – Boater Justin Tingen of Moore, South Carolina, weighed in six bass over two days totaling 21 pounds, 2 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Super Tournament on Lake Keowee in Seneca, South Carolina. The tournament, hosted by Visit Oconee, was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Savannah River Division. Tingen earned $4,943 for his victory.

“On Friday I started out fishing a buzzbait and a frog, and within 30 minutes I had a 3½-pounder blow my buzzbait out of the water,” said Tingen, who notched his second career BFL win – both two-day Super Tournaments. “I jerked it a little too quickly and missed him. Usually, when they do that, they don’t come back and eat it again. So, I reeled up as quickly as I could, fired the frog out there, and he ate it that time. That was a good number one fish to help settle me down.”

Tingen said he followed that fish with a few 1½- to 2-pounders, but knew that wasn’t going to help him win, so at 2 p.m. he approached a bream bed he had found the prior week. He threw a worm and a frog on the bed and attracted interest from bass, but no bites.

“Then I made the best decision that I made all weekend, and it won me the tournament,” Tingen said. “I told my co-angler, ‘When fish won’t eat anything, they’ll eat a glide bait.’ So I reached in my rod box, grabbed the glide bait, made a perfect cast up underneath a walkway on a dock and I see a 4-13 coming out from underneath the dock. It came up and just annihilated the glide bait.”

Tingen’s baits included a bream-colored finesse buzzbait, a black Zoom Horny Toad a gizzard shad-colored SPRO KGB Chad Shad 180 Glide Bait, and he ended the first day of competition in fifth place. He said he knew he needed to change up his approach, so he made a plan to run new water in the mid-lake area on Day 2.

Tingen’s plan for Saturday didn’t start out like he hoped, and he had only one 3-pound spotted bass and two “little rats” at 11 a.m. He went into a pocket he had never been in, saw a bream bed and found a large bass. He cast a worm, the fish bit, and Tingen set the hook on nothing. The fish moved away, and Tingen threw a Zoom Horny Toad at it. The fish swam away again. He then tried the glide bait, threw it right to the fish, twitched it a few times, and the bass bit.

“That was the game-winning decision,” Tingen said. “The glide bait did it when nothing else would work.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

                1st:        Justin Tingen, Moore, S.C., six bass, 21-2, $4,943
                2nd:       Bo Price, Seneca, S.C., six bass, 20-5, $2,471
                3rd:       Brandon Addis, Seneca, S.C., six bass, 19-11, $1,648
                4th:        Lane Clark, Anderson, S.C., six bass, 19-6, $1,153
                5th:        Roger Gosnell, Inman, S.C., six bass, 18-14, $989
                6th:        Sean Clayton, Seneca, S.C., six bass, 18-11, $906
                7th:        Tyler Thompson, Liberty, S.C., six bass, 18-4, $1,124
                8th:        Brent Willey, Anderson, S.C., six bass, 18-0, $1,241 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF5 contingency bonus)
                9th:        Joe Anders, Easley, S.C., six bass, 17-9, $909
                10th:     Tim Watson, Martin, Ga., six bass, 17-8, $577

Matthew O’Connell of Brooks, Georgia, caught a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 3 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $607. Stacy Backman of Walhalla, South Carolina, won the Co-angler Division and $2,441 Sunday after catching a two-day total of six bass weighing 14 pounds, 10 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers were:

                1st:        Stacy Backman, Walhalla, S.C., six bass, 14-10, $2,441
                2nd:       Chris Lind, Anderson, S.C., six bass, 14-10, $1,220
                3rd:       Logan Brown, Fletcher, N.C., five bass, 14-5, $1,514
                4th:        Nicholas Gurkin, Simpsonville, S.C., six bass, 13-3, $570
                5th:        Johnny Hancox, West Union, S.C., six bass, 12-14, $488
                6th:        Harold Addison II, Columbia, S.C., six bass, 11-7, $597
                7th:        Chris Wilson, Easley, S.C., six bass, 10-10, $407
                8th:        Corey Veal, Royston, Ga., five bass, 10-9, $366
                9th:        Mark Garrett, Walhalla, S.C., five bass, 10-4, $325
                10th:     Robert Thomas, Travelers Rest, S.C., six bass, 10-4, $285

Logan Brown of Fletcher, North Carolina, caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 13 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $300.