|Boater Chuck Koski of Madison, Mississippi, and Strike-King co-angler Reggie Thornton of Columbus, Mississippi.|
|Columbus’ Thornton Tops Strike King Co-Angler Division|
BRANDON, Miss. (March 6, 2023) – Boater Chuck Koski of Madison, Mississippi, caught a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Ross Barnett Reservoir. The tournament was the first event of the season for the BFL Mississippi Division. Koski earned $4,804 for his victory.
Koski said low water and muddy conditions on Ross Barnett forced him to search for better backwater bites. He slowed down his approach and targeted stumps and grass in shallow water with soft-plastic lizards and craw worms to boat his bag.
“I had two little pockets that I idled probably 45 minutes in and out to get to,” Koski said. “But then I found fish and caught them in 1½ to 2 feet of water. The trolling motor was churning mud all day long.”
Koski said he had four fish at 11 a.m. and relocated up river to another backwater hole, where he caught his fifth keeper and managed to cull once to add to his total weight.
“It wasn’t a great day of fishing,” Koski said. “The bites I got were good ones. This is the first BFL tournament I’ve fished in five or six years, so this win was a nice surprise.
“I never thought I had a chance to win this,” Koski added. “I was just hoping to be in the top five. I’ve had my feelings hurt many times coming to weigh-in with bigger bags than this on this lake this time of year. I feel like I never have enough on this lake.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:
1st: Chuck Koski, Madison, Miss., five bass, 18-7, $4,804
2nd: Michael Aycock, Petal, Miss., five bass, 17-3, $1,902
3rd: Steven McCrea, Vancleave, Miss., five bass, 16-8, $1,267
4th: Terry Whittington, Laurel, Miss., five bass, 13-13, $888
5th: Johnny Simmons, Oxford, Miss., four bass, 13-6, $761
6th: Hayze Hutzel, Flowood, Miss., five bass, 13-3, $697
7th: Teddy Cranford, Collins, Miss., five bass, 12-14, $834
8th: Corey Sullivan, Brandon, Miss., four bass, 12-0, $507
8th: Marc Gatwood, Hattiesburg, Miss., five bass, 12-0, $507
8th: Ivy Bradshaw, Brandon, Miss, four bass, 12-0, $507
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Dakota Fleming of Oak Grove, Louisiana, caught a largemouth that weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $505.
Reggie Thornton of Columbus, Mississippi, won the Strike King co-angler division and $1,902 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 15 pounds, 9 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:
1st: Reggie Thornton, Columbus, Miss., five bass, 15-9, $1,902
2nd: Tanner Peavy, Sumrall, Miss., two bass, 12-13, $1,203
3rd: Kevin Wisnoski, Canton, Miss, three bass, 11-5, $634
4th: Hunter Averett, Carriere, Miss., four bass, 11-1, $444
5th: Chase Fernandez, Mobile, Ala., four bass, 10-6, $380
6th: Austin Waldrup, Ellisville, Miss., four bass, 9-7, $349
7th: Ansel Davis, Tylertown, Miss., three bass, 8-13, $317
8th: David Wheat, Philadelphia, Miss., three bass, 7-11, $285
9th: Jimmy Hughes, Bartlett, Tenn., two bass, 6-14, $254
10th: Clay Chancellor, Louisville, Miss., three bass, 6-5, $222
Tanner Peavy of Sumrall, Mississippi, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $252, catching a largemouth that weighed in at 7 pounds, 9 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five tournament winners of each qualifying event, will qualify for the Oct. 5-7 BFL Regional tournament on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Oklahoma. 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.
The 2023 Phoenix BFL Presented by T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 events throughout the season, five qualifying tournaments in each division. The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five qualifying event winners, will advance to one of six BFL Regional tournaments 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 BFL All-American. The 2023 All-American event will take place May 31-June 2, on Lake Hartwell in Seneca, South Carolina. The event is hosted by Visit Oconee SC.
Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, General Tire, Grundéns, Gill, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.
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.