LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. (Aug. 28, 2023) – Boater Chris Malas of Cincinnati, Ohio, caught nine bass weighing 14 pounds, 8 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Bass Fishing League tournament on the Ohio River at Tanner’s Creek in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. The tournament was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division. Malas earned $5,997 for his victory.
“On Day 1 I made a long run to fish the main river,” Malas said. “I was on some smallmouth, and I hammered them. I caught 14 keepers and culled a bunch of times. I caught them mainly on topwaters and dragging finesse stuff around – a Ned rig.”
Malas said the second day of competition was a little bit different than the first, because when he made his run to his spot, he approached a swimming competition that was being held and authorities had the waters blocked for the safety of the swimming event. Malas said he fished around Cincinnati until 9:15 a.m., and managed to catch a nice spotted bass, before the sheriff allowed boats to proceed.
Malas said the river had risen a foot and his smallmouth were nowhere to be found when he finally arrived at his Day 1 spot, but he did manage to figure out a spotted bass pattern to add three more keepers. Malas said he has a habit of underestimating his total weight and didn’t even think he had a chance at posting a win.
“I was in the weigh-in line and looking at (Chris) Martinkovic in front of me thinking, ‘Well, he’s got me,’” Malas said. “I weighed in and looked at the scale and was surprised. One of my spots was way bigger than I thought it was. It was like a 3-pounder. I walked off the stage and the last guy to weigh in said, ‘Good job, dude. You just won it.’ And I was like, ‘Holy crap!’ So, that was pretty cool.
“It feels insane to win,” Malas continued. “The money and the trophy are cool, but to beat that caliber of guys who fish there is better than anything because those guys are good.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Chris Malas, Cincinnati, Ohio, nine bass, 14-8, $5,997
2nd: Mike Quinlin, Mooresville, Ind., 10 bass, 14-5, $4,379 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF contingency bonus)
3rd: David Spivey, Hamilton, Ohio, nine bass, 13-13, $1,997
4th: Chris Martinkovic, Hamilton, Ohio, 10 bass, 13-9, $1,599
5th: Tony Collins, Dayton, Ohio, 10 bass, 12-13, $1,199
6th: Dale Teaney, Williamsburg, Ohio, 10 bass, 12-11, $1,100
7th: Jamie Cunnagin, New Lebanon, Ohio, seven bass, 12-6, $1,000
8th: John Viox, Hebron, Ky., nine bass, 12-6, $900
9th: John Melton, Corydon, Ind., eight bass, 11-13, $800
10th: Travis Spivey, Union, Ky., nine bass, 11-10, $700
Jason Wood of Connersville, Indiana, had a bass that weighed 4 pounds, 14 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the Big Bass Boater award of $810. Derek Jackson of New Albany, Indiana, won the Co-angler Division and $2,999 Sunday after catching a two-day total of eight bass weighing 10 pounds, 5 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Derek Jackson, New Albany, Ind., eight bass, 10-5, $2,999
2nd: Ryan Sykes, Fairfield, Ohio, six bass, 8-11, $1,899
3rd: John Thomas, Quincy, Ind., seven bass, 8-0, $996
4th: Joe Gorham, Indianapolis, Ind., six bass, 7-15, $700
5th: Greg Roberts, Columbus, Ind., four bass, 7-12, $600
6th: Branden Hardesty, Nineveh, Ind., six bass, 7-8, $550
7th: Rod Yoder, West Lafayette, Ind., five bass, 7-7, $500
8th: Brian Liming, Dillsboro, Ind., five bass, 6-14, $450
9th: Fred Fox, Batavia, Ohio, five bass, 6-10, $400
10th: Mark Bouchie, Evansville, Ind., five bass, 6-9, $350
Jeremy Aslinger of Richmond, Indiana, caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 3 pounds, 9 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $405.
With the regular season now complete, boater Travis Spivey of Union, Kentucky, won the 2023 Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,325 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Joe Gorham of Indianapolis, Indiana, won the 2023 Strike King Co-Angler Hoosier Division AOY race with 1,301 points and earned the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.
Now, the top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the division based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will advance to compete in the Oct. 19-21 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. Boaters will fish for a top award of $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while co-anglers will compete for a top award of $50,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.