McKinney Wins Bass Fishing League Tournament on Rend Lake

July 18, 2022
BFL News Archive

SESSER, Ill. (July 18, 2022) – Boater Trey McKinney of Carbondale, Illinois, the reigning Illini Division Angler of the Year (AOY), caught five bass Saturday weighing 16 pounds, 1 ounces, to win the MLF Bass Fishing League Tournament on Rend Lake. McKinney earned $5,244 for his victory.

The 17-year-old McKinney said his approach to tournament fishing of sticking to techniques, locations and baits he has confidence in paid off, and it didn’t take him long to catch his tournament-winning bag Saturday morning, as he stuck to his plan he had developed during practice for the event.

“My main strategy was to run back and forth, hitting key stretches that were high-probability areas,” McKinney said. “

McKinney said he had success on shallow wood laydowns in pockets, the deepest of which was in six feet of water. His bait of choice was a natural-colored jig that imitated bluegill that were present in the lake.

“I had my five fish that I weighed in at 8:11 (Saturday) morning,” McKinney said. “It was unreal that it happened so fast. I knew I had a good bag, but I didn’t think I had 16 pounds. I was thinking I needed one more 4-pounder to have good odds at winning.

“If you think you have enough, you just don’t fish the same as if you think you need one more,” McKinney added. “I always want to underestimate my weight, so I always need that one more bite.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

                1st:        Trey McKinney, Carbondale, Ill., five bass, 16-1, $5,244
                2nd:       Brennan McCord, Thompsonville, Ill., five bass, 14-4, $2,622 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
                3rd:       Larry Diveley, Saint Jacob, Ill., five bass, 13-2, $1,413
                4th:        Greg Hirsch, Saint Jacob, Ill., five bass, 13-1, $990
                5th:        Gabe Jelley, Mulkeytown, Ill., five bass, 12-5, $849
                6th:        Riley Walk, Neoga, Ill., four bass, 11-13, $778
                7th:        Scott Neighbors, Makanda, Ill., four bass, 11-7, $1,707
                8th:        Neil McCord, West Frankfort, Ill., four bass, 11-2, $637
                9th:        Mike Hudson, Creal Springs, Ill., five bass, 10-11, $566
                10th:     Patrick Odell, Windsor, Ill., five bass, 10-8, $495

Complete results can be found at

Neighbors had a largemouth that weighed 5 pounds, 10 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $600. Patrick Lesicko of Staunton, Illinois, won the Co-angler Division and $2,122 Saturday after catching four bass weighing 10 pounds, 15 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers were:

                1st:        Patrick Lesicko, Staunton, Ill., four bass, 10-15, $2,122
                2nd:       Shannon Schloss, West Frankfort, Ill., four bass, 9-6, $1,061
                3rd:       Sheldon Ayers, Goreville, Ill., three bass, 9-1, $707
                4th:        G.W. Gass, West Frankfort, Ill., two bass, 6-14, $495
                5th:        Gary Denney, Livingston, Ill., one bass, 5-15, $724
                6th:        Jeff Anderson, St. Louis, Mo., three bass, 5-10, $389
                7th:        Drake Horn, Murphysboro, Ill., three bass, 5-8, $354
                8th:        Jason Gosnell, Paris, Ill., three bass, 5-6, $318
                9th:        Matthew Hackman, Creal Springs, Ill., two bass, 5-0, $283
                10th:     Matthew Tinsman, Peoria, Ill., two bass, 4-14, $248

Denney caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 15 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $300.

After three events, Trey McKinney of Carbondale, Illinois, leads the Bass Fishing League Illini Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 745 points, while Jojo Johnson of Benton, Illinois, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 721 points.