CORTLAND, Ohio (Sept. 12, 2022) – Boater Steven Hatfield of Ashland, Ohio, caught 10 bass weighing 32 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournament on Mosquito Lake in Cortland, Ohio. The tournament was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division. Hatfield earned $5,831 for his victory.
“The first day I started on a couple of offshore areas and thought I was going to get some fish, but the fish were leaving and going shallow, and I didn’t catch a keeper until around 9 o’clock,” Hatfield said. “Then I started checking shallow stuff in grass and caught a 5-14, which carried me into Sunday. Without that fish, I don’t think I would have made it.”
Hatfield said he decided to stay shallow on Sunday, and used swimjigs, vibrating jigs, Texas-rigged creature baits and worms in the Causeway area and the northeast side of the lake to catch his bass. Hatfield said he caught a dozen fish on each day of competition, in 3 to 7 feet of water.
“This win was a shocker, but it feels awesome,” Hatfield said. “I had kind of a rough tournament and lost several fish that I felt certain would hurt me, but somehow it worked out.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Steven Hatfield, Ashland, Ohio, 10 bass, 32-10, $5,831
2nd: Gary Ginter, Bellefontaine, Ohio, 10 bass, 31-10, $2,915
3rd: Buddy Busse, Cardington, Ohio, 10 bass, 31-1, $2,945
4th: Matthew Michael, Warsaw, Ohio, 10 bass, 30-12, $1,361
5th: Stan Miketa, New Middletown, Ohio, 10 bass, 30-4, $1,166
6th: Seth Fricke, Oxford, Ohio, 10 bass, 30-3, $1,069
7th: Michael Nesbitt, St. Paris, Ohio, 10 bass, 29-9, $2,009
8th: Chris Martinkovic, Hamilton, Ohio, 10 bass, 29-5, $875
9th: Mike Reeves, Brecksville, Ohio, 10 bass, 28-10, $777
10th: Kyle Weisenburger, Columbus Grove, Ohio, 10 bass, 27-14, $680
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Michael Nesbitt of St. Paris, Ohio, caught a bass weighing 5 pounds, 15 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – to earn the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $787. Jim Leary of Guntersville, Alabama, won the Co-angler Division and $3,310 Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 29 pounds, 12 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: Jim Leary, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 29-12, $3,310
2nd: Jeff Moorman, Liberty Township, Ohio, 10 bass, 24-14, $1,458
3rd: Jacob Alltop, Lewistown, Ohio, 10 bass, 21-8, $971
4th: Dylan Phillips, Albany, Ohio, nine bass, 20-14, $680
5th: Matt Fisher, Glouster, Ohio, 10 bass, 20-13, $1,233
6th: Christopher Chapman, Lancaster, Ohio, 10 bass, 20-9, $535
7th: Matthew Hostetter, East Palestine, Ohio, nine bass, 19-8, $486
8th: John Cantale, Lake Placid, Fla., 10 bass, 19-7, $437
9th: J.R. Selke, Waynesville, Ohio, 10 bass, 19-6, $389
10th: James Fulton, Ray, Ohio, 10 bass, 18-14, $340
Leary also caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 9 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $394.
With the regular season now complete, boater Michael Nesbitt of St. Paris, Ohio, won the 2022 Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,324 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Matt Fisher of Glouster, Ohio, won the 2022 Strike King Co-Angler Buckeye Division AOY race with 1,310 points and earned the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.