Thursday, May 23, 2024

Italy’s Jacopo Gallelli Claims Victory at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event at the James River


Boater Jacopo Gallelli of Florence, Italy and Strike-King co-angler Roland Gittings of Perryville, Maryland.
Maryland’s Gittings Wins Strike King Co-Angler Division

HENRICO, Va. (June 26, 2023) – Boater Jacopo Gallelli of Florence, Italy, caught a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 5 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on the James River . The tournament, hosted by Richmond Region Tourism, was the fourth event of the season for the BFL Shenandoah Division. Gallelli earned $12,463, including the lucrative $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, for his victory.

“I practiced for this for 1½ days, and the weather was horrible,” said Gallelli, a Tackle Warehouse Invitationals Pro with five career top-10 finishes. “I made the most of it. I felt I could probably put together a decent limit.

“I basically had two situations going on,” said Gallelli, a Tackle Warehouse Invitationals pro with five career top-10 finishes. “One was fishing in the morning with a tiny swimbait and the other was fishing the same stuff – lily pads – but light punching them. In the morning you could catch them on the outside in holes between the pads with the swimbait. Then, when the sun got up, I could flip in there, but I was finesse flipping.”

Gallelli’s finesse approach consisted of lighter line, weights, hooks and small soft-plastic baits, in shad and bluegill colors. His efforts resulted in 20 keepers during the course of the tournament.

“In the mornings, fishing with the smaller hook, I lost a couple of fish,” Gallelli said. “That’s part of it when you fish with a smaller hook and a smaller bait. I lost a 3½-pound and a 4-pound fish. Losing those two big fish I thought I was done. I had a legitimate shot at 20½ pounds. So, going into the weigh-in I thought I would finish in the top 10.

“This win is very good for me,” Gallelli added. “I was starting to worry, ‘Maybe I’m not good enough.’ I came here from Italy pretending to be good enough to make a living doing this. There are days when you second-guess yourself and think you don’t belong here, so this win is so important to me. It is a real confidence injection.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:
1st:          Jacopo Gallelli, Florence, Italy, five bass, 16-5, $12,463 (includes $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
2nd:        Jeff Hamilton, Henrico, Va., five bass, 16-2, $2,232
3rd:        Brian Morgan, Maiden, N.C., five bass, 16-0, $1,489
4th:         Wayne Vaughan, Chester, Va., five bass, 15-14, $1,041
5th:         Bryan Elrod, Mechanicsville, Va., five bass, 15-5, $893
6th:         Bryce Henley, Williamsburg, Va., five bass, 15-2, $818
7th:         Brian Bersik, Chesterfield, Va., five bass, 14-12, $994
8th:         Zachary Stoupa, Prince George, Va., five bass, 14-10, $669
9th:         Bo Boltz, New Kent, Va., five bass, 13-15, $595
10th:      Scott Banton, Midlothian, Va., five bass, 13-14, $521
Complete results can be found at

Jeremy Radford of Huntly, Virginia, caught a bass that weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces to earn the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $640.

Roland Gittings of Perryville, Maryland, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,952 Saturday, after bringing four bass to the scale that totaled 14 pounds, 11 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:
1st:          Roland Gittings, Perryville, Md., four bass, 14-11, $2,952
2nd:        David Torres, Fallston, Md., five bass, 13-7, $1,116
3rd:        Kevin Gregory, Midlothian, Va., five bass, 12-10, $743
4th:         Joey Deluke, Glen Allen, Va., five bass, 12-6, $521
5th:         Brandon Miskell, Vienna, Va., five bass, 11-12, $446
6th:         Jonathan Ceaser, Maidens, Va., five bass, 11-11, $409
7th:         Keith Allen, Midland, Va., five bass, 10-12, $372
8th:         Ryan Sweeney, Secane, Pa., five bass, 10-6, $335
9th:         Carl Whipple, Manassas, Va., five bass, 10-4, $298
10th:      Philip Hornsby, Hughesville, Md., five bass, 10-0, $260
Gittings also earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $320, catching a bass that weighed in at 6 pounds, 4 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After four events, Zachary Stoupa of Prince George, Virginia, leads the BFL Shenandoah Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 970 points, while David Deciucis of Chester, Virginia, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 963 points.

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. 19-21 BFL Regional tournament on Lake Norman in Huntersville, North Carolina. 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: 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, Mystik Lubricants, 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 For regular Bass Fishing League updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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