“I took a long run in rough water to get to where I had located them on beds in practice,” Dixon said. “I had figured out how to get them to react to a bait on the beds, but I knew when the tournament came the tide wouldn’t be right to see them anymore, so I just stuck to the area, kept my bait in the water and kept it slow.”
Dixon said he focused on a stretch of about 75 yards of water and used a 4-inch swimbait with a small hook bass couldn’t see. He said his method resulted in 20 fish, seven of which were keepers, during the course of the day. Dixon said he shared the stretch of water with a fellow competitor.
“The bait made the biggest difference for me to get the bigger ones,” Dixon said. “I actually caught more behind the guy fishing the same area on casts after he had already fished through there.”
Dixon said the victory had a special meaning to him, as he added his second BFL win to his resume.
“This feels pretty cool, especially since this win came five years after my first BFL win here,” he said.
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Aaron Dixon, Bel Alton, Md., five bass, 18-2, $4,127
2nd: Michael Duarte, Baltimore, Md., five bass, 17-13, $2,639
3rd: Randy Caruso, Liberty, NY, five bass, 16-14, $1,377
4th: John Lorenzo, Kane, Pa., five bass, 16-12, $963
5th: Jessie Moore, Severn, Md., five bass, 16-8, $1,325
6th: Jason Shipton, Muncy, Pa., five bass, 16-6, $757
7th: Ernie Freeman, Broad Run, Va., five bass, 16-5, $1,188 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
8th: Robert Henderson, King George, Va., five bass, 16-1, $619
9th: Charles Peart, King of Prussia, Pa., five bass, 16-0, $550
10th: Damian Szlachta, Center Valley, Pa., five bass, 15-10, $482
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Duarte had a largemouth that weighed 5 pounds, 2 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $575.
Jeffrey Ivey of Fairfax, Virginia, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,064 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 17 pounds, 1 ounce.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: Jeffrey Ivey, Fairfax, Va., five bass, 17-1, $2,064
2nd: Rumnea Kelly, Boyds, Md., five bass, 15-13, $1,032
3rd: Matthew Noraas, Pamplin, Va., five bass, 15-11, $788
4th: Richard Jensen, Virginia Beach, Va., five bass, 15-8, $482
5th: Aaron Wilkie, North Bennington, Vt., five bass, 15-5, $763
6th: Tyler Burriss, Stafford, Va., five bass, 15-0, $378
7th: Ahmed Behery, Farmington, Conn., five bass, 14-4, $344
8th: Michael Bahnweg, Union Dale, Pa., five bass, 13-9, $292
8th: Cody Lunceford, Hanover, Pa., five bass, 13-9, $292
10th: James Obrien Sr., Southampton, NY, five bass, 13-8, $241
Max Meister of Atco, New Jersey, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 12 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $287.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 20-22 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on the James River in Richmond, Virginia. Boaters will compete 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 fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.
The 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by TH Marine is a 24-division circuit to devoted weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six Regional Championships where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American. The 2022 All-American will be held June 2-4 at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.
The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division will also earn priority entry into the MLF Toyota Series, the pathway to the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by TH Marine include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, AFTCO, ARE Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Gary Yamamoto Baits, General Tire, Lew’s, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Revital Outdoors, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, TH Marine, Toyota, Wiley X, YETI and Yo-Zuri.
For complete details and updated tournament information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular Bass Fishing League updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.