“I had a good practice Friday,” said Anders, who notched the second BFL win of his MLF career. “I located some bigger fish shallow that were cruising on flats, and I told my fishing partner that I could win if I could get one of those fish to bite.
“I had found two or three places that I could catch the quality of fish that everyone else was catching fairly easily,” Anders continued. “I caught basically what the top 5 caught in the first hour of fishing. And then I caught my second kicker fish about 1:15.”
Anders said he targeted larger bass on flats around flooded trees in less than 2 feet of water with a Manley Custom Tackle Buzz Toad paired with an Undertaker Bait Company bluegill-colored fluke bait. He said he also relied on a Megabass Magdraft swimbait and a bluegill-colored Texas-rig. He added he caught topwater fish on an Evergreen JT 95 Topwater Walking Bait .
“I was due for this win,” Anders said. “I’ve had some decent finishes at Clarks Hill before. There have been tournaments I felt I should have won, but I’ve had some mishaps – losing fish or equipment malfunctions – that cost me the win. But it wound up right this time. When it’s your time to win, it’s your time. I certainly don’t take these wins for granted, because I know how hard they are to get.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Joe Anders, Easley, SC, five bass, 19-12, $11,117 (includes $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
2nd: Jason Burroughs, Hodges, SC, five bass, 17-13, $2,358
3rd: Greg Glouse, Liberty, SC, five bass, 16-11, $1,307
4th: Kyle Ricker, Greenville, SC, five bass, 16-10, $914
5th: Todd Pearson, Anderson, SC, five bass, 16-4, $783
6th: Sterling Banks, Beech Island, SC, five bass, 16-2, $718
7th: Justin Hadden, Warrenville, SC, five bass, 15-5, $653
8th: Garrett Guinan, Marietta, Ga., five bass, 15-2, $588
9th: Cole Pearson, five bass, 14-14, $522
10th: DJ Hadden, Appling, Ga., five bass, 14-12, $457
Brad Benfield of Demorest, Georgia, caught a largemouth weighing 5 pounds, 14 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – to earn the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $520.
James Akins of Cumming, Georgia, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $1,958 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: James Akins, Cumming, Ga., five bass, 14-13, $1,958
2nd: Darren Jeter, Candler, NC, five bass, 13-3, $979
3rd: Jody Hughes, Baldwin, Ga., five bass, 10-7, $653
4th: Johnny Hancox, West Union, SC, three bass, 10-6, $784
4th: Corey Veal, Royston, Ga., five bass, 10-6, $424
6th: Dwayne Parton, Anderson, SC, five bass, 9-13, $359
7th: Joseph Scarlett, Columbia, SC, five bass, 9-11, $326
8th: Darryl Huntsinger, Canon, Ga., five bass, 9-10, $294
9th: Joey Alexander, Salem, SC, five bass, 9-6, $244
9th: Kyle Davis, Liberty, SC, five bass, 9-6, $244
After four events, Jason Burroughs of Hodges, South Carolina, leads the Bass Fishing League Savannah River Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 993 points, while Johnny Hancox of West Union, South Carolina, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 956 points.
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 Smith Lake in Cullman, Alabama. 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.