HENDERSON, N.C. (Sept. 12, 2022) – Boater David Wright of Lexington, North Carolina, caught 10 bass weighing 29 pounds, 1 ounce, 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 Bass Fishing League North Carolina Division. Wright earned $8,448 for his victory, including the lucrative $2,500 Phoenix MLF5 contingency bonus.
“What normally happens on Kerr this time of year is you find suspending fish,” said Wright, who notched his 14th career BFL win. “And a lot of fish can be caught suspended, but they’re all 1½-pounds or 2-pounders. So, I decided I would fish the way I’ve always fished, and that’s around cover.
Wright said the majority of his bass fell for a shaky-head, but he also caught a few on a drop-shot rig and a Zoom Trick Worm. He focused on finding bait in the mid-lake area that was holding close to the bottom, on breaks in 12 to 20 feet of water.
“Most of my friends out there were catching 2-pounders, so I moved just a bit more shallow and was catching 3-pounders, and that was the difference,” Wright said. “Of course, they caught a lot more than I did, but I was catching just a little bit bigger fish.
“I’ve been bass fishing for 45 years, and I still enjoy it about as much as I did when I started this,” Wright added.
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: David Wright, Lexington, N.C., 10 bass, 29-1, $8,448 (includes $2,500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
2nd: Tyler Trent, Nathalie, Va., eight bass, 24-7, $2,824
3rd: Tommy Jones, Salisbury, N.C., nine bass, 22-6, $2,082
4th: Jeffrey Davis, Raleigh, N.C., 10 bass, 22-3, $1,318
5th: Derik Hudson, Concord, Va., 10 bass, 21-11, $1,630
6th: Aaron Digh, Denver, N.C., 10 bass, 20-9, $1,035
7th: Robert Walser, Lexington, N.C., eight bass, 19-7, $1,691
8th: Ryan McGee, Battleboro, N.C., eight bass, 18-13, $847
9th: Brandon Pritchett, Goode, Va., eight bass, 18-11, $753
10th: Michael Birr, Franklinton, N.C., nine bass, 17-7, $659
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Robert Walser of Lexington, North Carolina, caught a bass weighing 5 pounds, 8 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – to earn the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $750. Craig Hamilton of Salisbury, North Carolina, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,924 Sunday after catching a two-day total of six bass weighing 16 pounds, 6 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: Craig Hamilton, Salisbury, N.C., six bass, 16-6, $2,924
2nd: Mekye Barnes, Raleigh, N.C., five bass, 13-3, $1,612
3rd: Curtis Vick, Boydton, Va., five bass, 12-9, $1,140
4th: Sean Tobatto, Greensboro, N.C., seven bass, 12-3, $659
5th: Roy Burgess, Newton, N.C., three bass, 9-3, $565
6th: Jerry Pruitt, Vale, N.C., four bass, 8-7, $518
7th: Jay Kleinfeld, Winston Salem, N.C., four bass, 8-1, $471
8th: Gregory Haverlock, Concord, N.C., three bass, 7-15, $799
9th: Jon Mitchell, Wendell, N.C., four bass, 7-11, $377
10th: Alex Ortiz, Asheboro, N.C., three bass, 7-9, $329
Gregory Haverlock of Concord, North Carolina, caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 1 ounce. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $375.