Heck Wins Bass Fishing League Tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir

January 9, 2023
Bass Fishing League (BFL) News

BROOKELAND, Texas (Jan. 9, 2023) – Boater Hayden Heck of Lufkin, Texas, caught a five-bass limit weighing 28 pounds, 11 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) on Sam Rayburn Reservoir . The tournament was the season-opening event for the BFL Cowboy Division. Heck earned $14,000, including the lucrative $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, for his victory.

“I started out and ran up the lake a ways, then stopped on my first spot I had and just got lucky,” said Heck. “My first couple of casts I pulled a couple of fish off the spot.”

Heck said he left his first spot and roamed the lake, relocating to different areas and picking off fish. Heck said he threw a combination of a crankbait, a big worm and a jig to boat his bass and targeted hard spots in eight to 20 feet of water. He said his big bass, an 8-pound, 5-ounce largemouth that was the Berkley Big Bass of the day, fell for a Zoom Trick Worm.

“These spots were nothing special,” Heck said. “It was just a lot of graphing to find the little areas that the fish get on in the winter time. I had three areas I felt really confident in, and there were little schools of four or five fish on them – nothing crazy.”

Heck said he relocated to Texas four years ago to pursue tournament fishing, and said he spends four to five days a week fishing Sam Rayburn. That time on the water seems to have paid off for Heck, as he said he caught only five fish during the course of the day – the right five fish. Confident in the weight in his livewell, he stopped fishing and tried to find areas to boost his co-angler’s weight.

“I got lucky and got a bite or two off of each spot, and it all worked out,” Heck went on to say. “I’m really happy with the way I fished. I’m just hoping I can go out and do the same thing next time.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

                1st:        Hayden Heck, Lufkin, Texas, five bass, 28-11, $14,000 (includes $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
                2nd:       Cole Moore, Anacoco, La., five bass, 23-4, $3,000
                3rd:       Joe Beebee, Huntsville, Texas, five bass, 20-8, $2,000
                4th:        Nick LeBrun, Bossier City, La., five bass, 19-3, $1,400
                5th:        Jacob Keith, Jefferson, Texas, five bass, 18-2, $1,200
                6th:        Evan Barnes, Dardanelle, Ark., five bass, 16-4, $1,050
                6th:        Kris Wilson, Montgomery, Texas, five bass, 16-4, $1,050
                8th:        Richard Wagnon, Jasper, Texas, five bass, 15-13, $900
                9th:        John Ellender, Lake Charles, La., five bass, 15-12, $800
                10th:     Wyatt Frankens, Corrigan, Texas, five bass, 15-11, $700


Heck’s largemouth that weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces, was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned him the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $1,000. Tim Hawkins of Anna, Texas, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $3,000 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that weighed 15 pounds, 11 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

                1st:        Tim Hawkins, Anna, Texas, five bass, 15-11, $3,000
                2nd:       Brody Bramlett, Taylor, Texas, five bass, 13-14, $1,500
                3rd:       Carter Wijangco, Naperville, Ill., five bass, 12-14, $1,000
                4th:        Greg Boik, College Station, Texas, five bass, 12-12, $700
                5th:        Dicky Martin, Opelousas, La., five bass, 12-4, $600
                6th:        Carson Knutson, St. Croix Falls, Wis., five bass, 11-11, $550
                7th:        J.J. Matzke, League City, Texas, two bass, 11-7, $1,000
                8th:        Dwight Minogue, Benton, La., five bass, 11-5, $450
                9th:        Grant Chapman, Denver, Colo., four bass, 11-2, $400
                10th:     Grant Bourque, Prairieville, La., five bass, 10-14, $350

Matzke earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $500, catching a largemouth that weighed in at 9 pounds, 10 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.