OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (Sept. 18, 2023) – Boater Lawson Hibdon of Versailles, Missouri, caught 10 bass weighing 32 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Bass Fishing League tournament on Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. The tournament was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Ozark Division. Hibdon earned $7,695 for his victory.
The tournament was noted as a family affair for the Hibdon family – in addition to Lawson’s victory, father Dion finished the event in fourth place, while brother Payden ended the tournament in 10th.
“On Saturday, I caught 18 pounds in the first hour and a half,” Hibdon said. “Most of the day I shook them off because I knew that I’d be fishing on the second day. I shook off maybe 15 or so that I thought were good bites.
“I went back through that stuff on the second day and didn’t even get a bite; It was miserable,” Hibdon went on to say. “I was excited because the sun was supposed to come out and put the fish under the boat docks, like it’s supposed to do. But it wasn’t like that.”
Hibdon said he kept a 9/16-ounce Hibdon Hammer jig in his hand almost the entire tournament and admitted he threw a buzzbait “way too much.” He also relied on a 7-inch Bojangles Trickster worm on a shaky-head rig to catch bass.
“I didn’t get to practice at all, so when I got out there and saw how good it was, I was pretty excited,” Hibdon said. “I burned a full tank of gas the first day trying to figure out where I could catch them, and a full tank the second day trying to relocate them.”
Hibdon said he fished about three miles outside of the Grand Glaize area Sunday, then ran 45 miles into the Osage River.
“I had shaken a bunch off there the day before, and that’s where I really like to fish, and I got back there, and bites were non-existent,” Hibdon said. “I bailed and came back down the lake.
“I was just scrambling around trying to figure something out because I knew somebody was going to really catch them,” Hibdon said. “Somebody will always catch them here. This win was definitely a surprise. But it all turned out, and that’s all that matters.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Lawson Hibdon, Versailles, Mo., 10 bass, 32-12, $7,695
2nd: Michael Harlin, Sunrise Beach, Mo., 10 bass, 31-15, $3,848
3rd: Brandon Ackerson, Afton, Okla., 10 bass, 30-10, $3,065 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
4th: Dion Hibdon, Versailles, Mo., 10 bass, 30-6, $1,796
5th: Jeremy Medina, Louisburg, Mo., 10 bass, 29-9, $1,539
6th: Nick Ault, Gravois Mills, Mo., 10 bass, 27-11, $1,411
7th: James Lewis, Osage Beach, Mo., 10 bass, 27-6, $1,283
8th: Ben Verhoef, Osage Beach, Mo., 10 bass, 26-15, $1,154
9th: Corey Cook, Lebanon, Mo., 10 bass, 26-14, $1,026
10th: Payden Hibdon, Versailles, Mo., 10 bass, 26-12, $898
Darrell Ivey, Jr., of Lebanon, Missouri, caught a bass weighing 6 pounds, 4 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division to earn the Big Bass Boater award of $1,200. Jeremy Greil of Imperial, Missouri, won the Co-angler Division and $3,848 Sunday after catching a two-day total of eight bass weighing 21 pounds, 14 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Jeremy Greil, Imperial, Mo., eight bass, 21-14, $3,848
2nd: Trenton White, Tipton, Mo., eight bass, 18-8, $1,924
3rd: Austin Chandler, Ketchum, Okla., nine bass, 16-3, $1,281
4th: Kevin Mahlke, Wentzville, Mo., six bass, 16-3, $898
5th: Christopher Fierce, Dixon, Mo., six bass, 15-8, $770
6th: Chris McClellan, Desoto, Mo., 10 bass, 15-2, $905
7th: Craig Rose, Olathe, Kansas, six bass, 14-15, $641
8th: Koby Murrell, Lebanon, Mo., seven bass, 14-2, $577
9th: Justin Layton, Kirbyville, Mo., seven bass, 14-0, $513
10th: Gary St. Clair, Hamilton, Mo., seven bass, 13-13, $449
Matthew Morton of Wichita, Kansas, caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 15 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $600.
With the regular season now complete, boater Brandon Ackerson of Afton, Oklahoma, won the 2023 Bass Fishing League Ozark Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,265 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Adler Odle of Willow Springs, Missouri, won the 2023 Strike King Co-Angler Ozark Division AOY race with 1,245 points and earned the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.