HENDERSON, N.C. (Sept. 11, 2023) – Boater Derik Hudson of Concord, Virginia, caught 10 bass weighing 31 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournament on Kerr Lake in Henderson, North Carolina. The tournament was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division. Hudson earned $7,017 for his victory.
“I got to practice Friday, but I didn’t find anything that was really awesome,” said Hudson, who has posted 22 top-10 finishes in MLF events. “I know this place fishes tough, so I felt good that I found some fish.
“On the first day, I went to a spot and caught three fish, one of which was a 3½-pound spotted bass,” Hudson added. “I was headed up the lake and saw fish bust in front of me. I felt the Lord was leading me there, so I turned around and caught just about all of my 16 pounds the first day on that spot – a spot I had never fished before.”
Hudson said he returned to the same spot on the second day of competition, but it produced no bass. He didn’t panic; he relied on his faith to keep him calm. His next spot produced the 15 pounds he weighed Sunday.
Hudson said he fished mid-lake – from the dam to just above Rudd’s Creek Recreation area – and targeted bass with a Missile Baits Magic Worm in the Missile Morning color on a drop-shot rig. A Heddon Zara Spook and soft jerkbaits were also key baits for Hudson.
“Anything is possible on Kerr Lake, but when I culled my last bass, I knew someone would have to really catch them to beat me,” Hudson said. “If I finished second, third or fourth, I could not have complained about this tournament. I had a phenomenal two days of fishing.
“I’ve heard so many stories of ‘when it’s your time it’s your time,’” Hudson added. “The Lord provided. To fish 100 tournaments with MLF and then win the 101st … to finally get that win … wow. It’s amazing.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Derik Hudson, Concord, Va., 10 bass, 31-10, $7,017
2nd: Brandon Gray, Bullock, N.C., 10 bass, 26-15, $2,759
3rd: Bryan Elrod, Mechanicsville, Va., 10 bass, 26-7, $1,839
4th: Tommy Jones, Salisbury, N.C., 10 bass, 26-4, $1,287
5th: Tyler Trent, Nathalie, Va., 10 bass, 26-3, $1,603 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
6th: Michael Birr, Franklinton, N.C., 10 bass, 26-0, $1,012
7th: Chad Poteat, Mount Airy, N.C., 10 bass, 25-10, $1,500
8th: Tyler Purcell, Townsville, N.C., 10 bass, 23-12, $828
9th: Richard Hodges, Jr., Camden, N.C., eight bass, 23-11, $736
10th: Logan Odum, Lumberton, N.C., nine bass, 21-13, $644
Steven Lahr of Port Charlotte, Florida, had a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the Big Bass Boater award of $720. Dan Garner of Littleton, North Carolina, won the Co-angler Division and $2,759 Sunday after catching a two-day total of eight bass weighing 20 pounds, 15 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Dan Garner, Littleton, N.C., eight bass, 20-15, $2,759
2nd: Dustin Riddle, Hiwassee, Va., nine bass, 19-8, $1,379
3rd: Robert Wedding, Welcome, Md., six bass, 17-0, $1,469
4th: Tim Privette Jr., Wendell, N.C., six bass, 15-7, $644
5th: Cornell Badra, Clarksburg, Md., five bass, 13-2, $552
6th: Wes House, Knightdale, N.C., six bass, 12-13, $506
7th: Tony Toombs, Drakes Branch, Va., six bass, 12-11, $460
8th: Craig Ferguson, Emporia, Va., six bass, 11-10, $414
9th: Kristofer Goin, Farmville, Va., six bass, 11-5, $368
10th: Bud Amend, Pleasant Garden, N.C., five bass, 10-10, $322
Terrell Mann of Oxford, North Carolina, caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 5 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $360.
With the regular season now complete, boater Evan White of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, won the 2023 Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,328 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Robert Wedding of Welcome, Maryland, won the 2023 Strike King Co-Angler Piedmont Division AOY race with 1,333 points and earned the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.