Drake Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Lake Chickamauga

Strike King Co-Angler Robert Ford of Boones Mill, Virginia and Boater Kevin Drake of Cleveland, Tennessee display their trophies following the weigh-in at Lake Chickamauga.
Virginia’s Ford Wins Strike King Co-Angler Division

DAYTON, TENNESSEE (Jan. 31, 2022) – Boater Kevin Drake of Cleveland, Tennessee, caught five bass Sunday weighing 22 pounds, 5 ounces, to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Chickamauga. Drake earned $13,304 for his victory, including a $7,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus.

“The seven days leading up to the tournament I was out there four days prefishing,” Drake said. “I basically fished daylight to dark because I really wanted to do well in this tournament.”

Drake said he had previously fished a Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournament as well as two Toyota Series events on Lake Chickamauga but managed to collect only small checks for his efforts.

“I really, really, really wanted to do well in this tournament,” Drake said. “So I prefished extremely hard. And it worked out well for me.”

Drake said he began the day on a spot he had fished four years ago, and his fifth cast produced his second-largest bass of the day – a 5 ½-pounder. He then went through a two-hour dry spell without a fish, so he relocated and then finished out his limit in two quick stops.

“I figured I had about 16 pounds, and then about 11 o’clock it really turned on and I caught my biggest fish of the day during that period,” Drake said.

Drake said he caught nine fish – including 12 keepers –  during the course of the day, all of which came on a YUM Yumbrella Flash Mob Jr. Umbrella Rig with Castaic Baits Swimbaits. He said he tried changing up to a jerkbait during the course of the tournament but couldn’t provoke a reaction strike with it.

“Altogether I just fished really hard, covered a lot of water and had luck go my way,” Drake added. “When it’s really cold like it was today it’s definitely not a numbers game. You’re just hoping you get five good bites and get them to the boat.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st:          Kevin Drake, Cleveland, Tenn., five bass, 22-5, $13,304 (includes $7,000 Phoenix Bonus)
2nd:        Brent Butler, Vonore, Tenn., five bass, 21-3, $2,652
3rd:        Tommy Brown, Louisville, Tenn., five bass, 20-7, $1,768
4th:         Casey Majni, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 18-13, $1,238
5th:         Jake Gardner, Lenoir City, Tenn., five bass, 16-1, $1,061
6th:         Seth Davis, Harrison, Tenn., five bass, 15-12, $972
7th:         Chris Peters, Birchwood, Tenn., five bass, 15-8, $884
8th:         Chris Dodson, Spring City, Tenn., five bass, 15-4, $751
8th:         Eric Allen, Powder Springs, Ga., five bass, 15-4, $751
10th:      Tim Smiley, White Pine, Tenn., five bass, 15-1, $588
10th:      Austin Lytle, New Market, Tenn., five bass, 15-1, $588

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Boater Justin Coffey of Harriman, Tenn., caught a 7-pound, 5-ounce largemouth to earn the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $835.

Robert Ford of Boones Mill, Virginia, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,636 Sunday after catching five bass weighing 14 pounds, 14 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:

1st:          Robert Ford, Boones Mill, Va., five bass, 14-14, $2,636
2nd:        Matt Rasnick, Elizabethton, Tenn., two bass, 13-9, $1,733
3rd:        Konnor Sweet, Abingdon, Va., five bass, 11-10, $879
4th:         Scott Bussey, Hayden, Ala., five bass, 11-9, $615
5th:         Hunter Cseledy, Waynesville, N.C., five bass, 11-6, $527
6th:         Jonathon Kennedy, Bloomingdale, Tenn., five bass, 11-3, $483
7th:         Travis Malone, Wartburg, Tenn., three bass, 10-0, $439
8th:         Amanda Huff, Chilhowie, Va., three bass, 9-15, $395
9th:         Rex Henry, Hixson, Tenn., three bass, 9-14, $352
10th:      Josh Massengale, Clinton, Tenn., three bass, 9-0, $308

Rasnick caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 10 pounds, 4 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $415.

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 Sept. 10-11 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Watts Bar Lake in Spring City, Tenn. 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 T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to 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.

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 .