Boater John Lee of Cataula, Georgia and Strike-King co-angler Johnny Suratt of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.
Tennessee’s Suratt Claims Victory in Strike King Co-Angler Division
EUFAULA, Ala. (Oct. 3, 2022) – Boater John Lee of Cataula, Georgia, caught 10 bass weighing 35 pounds, 4 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama. The tournament, hosted by the Eufaula County Chamber of Commerce, was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Bama Division. Lee earned $6,143 for his victory.
Lee said he focused his fishing between Cheneyhatchee Creek and Pataula Creek and relied on crankbaits to fill his livewell.
“We fished a medium-deep pattern, mid-lake, in 16 to 18 feet of water,” Lee said. “The bite was really strong. On Saturday I caught about 18 fish and culled a lot of really nice fish.”
What started out as a hot bite turned south for Lee on Sunday when forces of nature came into play. Lee stuck with his game plan, however.
“The wind picked up on Sunday, and it was ferocious, and I could not get a bite,” Lee added. “I got seven bites all day and culled two fish. What carried me through was the nice ones I caught Saturday.
“This is the biggest win I’ve ever had,” Lee added. “I’ve been close before but have never been able to seal the deal. This is just unbelievable and I’m elated.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: John Lee, Cataula, Ga., 10 bass, 35-4, $6,143
2nd: Mark Stillwell, Salem, Ala., 10 bass, 31-10, $2,723
3rd: Kyle Welcher, Opelika, Ala., 10 bass, 29-2, $1,816
4th: Ethan Greene, Eufaula, Ala., 10 bass, 28-1, $1,271
5th: Tucker Smith, Birmingham, Ala., 10 bass, 28-0, $1,089
6th: Mike Cavender, Phenix City, Ala., 10 bass, 27-10, $998
7th: Hunter Nanney, Dumas, Miss., 10 bass, 24-7, $1,108
8th: Nathan Ashmore, Baldwyn, Miss., 10 bass, 23-14, $1,017
9th: Jimmy Mason, Rogersville, Ala., 10 bass, 22-6, $1,826 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF5 contingency bonus)
10th: Steve Graziano, Phenix City, Ala., eight bass, 22-0, $635
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Lee also earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $697 with a bass that he caught on Day 1 weighing 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
Johnny Suratt of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,723 Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 25 pounds, 15 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: Johnny Suratt, Lawrenceburg, Tenn., 10 bass, 25-15, $2,723
2nd: Rodney Thompson, Highland Home, Ala., nine bass, 23-0, $1,361
3rd: Daniel Buswell Jr., Fayetteville, Ga., nine bass, 22-7, $908
4th: Ethan Shaw, Raymond, Miss., eight bass, 16-9, $935
5th: Mark Black, Selma, Ala., five bass, 15-15, $545
6th: Robert Enke, Columbus, Ga., eight bass, 15-10, $499
7th: Daniel Corkern, Florence, Miss., seven bass, 15-8, $604
8th: Justin Nalley, Fayetteville, Ga., seven bass, 13-7, $408
9th: Justin Foster, Thomaston, Ga., seven bass, 13-2, $363
10th: Richard White, Alexander City, Ala., seven bass, 13-1, $318
Cole Bedsole of Prattville, Alabama, caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 1 ounce. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $349.
With the regular season now complete, boater Robbie Robinson of Mobile, Alabama, won the 2022 Bass Fishing League Bama Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,287 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Mike Langdale of Sycamore, Georgia, won the 2022 Strike King Co-Angler Bama Division AOY race with 1,303 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. 13-15 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Pickwick Lake in Counce, Tennessee. 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 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 T-H Marine include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, AFTCO, A.R.E. 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, T-H 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.