Eldon’s Fitzpatrick Posts 11th Career Win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event at Lake of the Ozarks

Boater winner Roger Fitzpatrick of Eldon, Missouri, and Strike-King co-angler winner J.D. Bromley of Odessa, Missouri.
Odessa’s Bromley Tops Strike King Co-Angler Division

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (April 1, 2024) – Boater Roger Fitzpatrick of Eldon, Missouri, caught a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 6 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Lake of the Ozarks . The tournament was the second event of the season for the BFL Ozark Division. Fitzpatrick, age 59, is an eight-time BFL All-American qualifier and has now won 11 BFL tournaments in his career. He earned $5,689 for the victory.

A recent retiree and a Lake of the Ozarks local, Fitzpatrick was able to spend four days practicing for the tournament. While he was able to find some quality bass and had about 25 pounds in practice on Thursday, Fitzpatrick wasn’t able to duplicate his best pattern on Friday. As is so often the case in spring tournaments, the bass were in transition, and Fitpatrick knew he might have to adjust on Saturday. 

And that’s exactly how it turned out.

“I was fishing boat docks, and then later in the day I was fishing clearer water,” Fitpatrick said. “It’s really warming up here. The water temperature warmed up to 57, 58 (degrees), and they started showing up in places they are going to spawn.”

Fitpatrick was able to land a limit on the docks, including a 5-pound, 13-ounce bass, but it wasn’t the mid-20-pound limit he knew was possible. Later in the day, he and his co-angler noticed multiple 6- and 7-pound-class bass setting up on spawning grounds. According to Fitzpatrick, it’s common for the fish to make that transition off the docks very quickly when the conditions are right. It was a very obvious signal to him to change things up.

“They were on the docks, but when it gets so far along, they just get out in the open where they’re going to spawn,” he said. “I do a lot of sight-fishing here and just started running that stuff.”

After switching gears, Fitzpatrick was able to catch a key 4-pounder. That fish culled out a 3-pounder and put him atop the leaderboard as the only angler in the field to crack 20 pounds.

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:        Roger Fitzpatrick, Eldon, Mo., five bass, 20-6, $5,689
2nd:       Marcus Sykora, Osage Beach, Mo., five bass, 19-1, $2,844
3rd:       Eric Olliverson, Shell Knob, Mo., five bass, 18-9, $2,398 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
4th:        Jonathan Pimentel, Camdenton, Mo., five bass, 18-3, $1,627
5th:        Brian Hansen, Fenton, Mo., five bass, 18-0, $1,138
6th:        Dave Hodges, Farmington, Ark., five bass, 17-15, $1,043
7th:        Nick Luna, Buckner, Mo., five bass, 16-15, $948
8th:        Ryan Tucker, Lenexa, Kan., five bass, 16-13, $853
9th:        Adam Boehle, Warrenton, Mo., five bass, 16-12, $758
10th:     Austin Culbertson, Moberly, Mo., five bass, 16-7, $664

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Justin Luetkemeyer of Lake Ozark, Missouri, caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $920.

J.D. Bromley of Odessa, Missouri, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,844 Saturday, after bringing four bass to the scale that totaled 12 pounds, 12 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:        J.D. Bromley, Odessa, Mo., four bass, 12-12, $2,844
2nd:       Tim Sisco, Fair Grove, Mo., five bass, 12-11, $1,422
3rd:       Ben Sadler, Lincoln, Mo., five bass, 12-4, $948
4th:        Kirk Short, St. Clair, Mo., five bass, 12-2, $664
5th:        Gabe Montgomery, Jackson, Mo., five bass, 11-12, $545
5th:        Brian Davis, Bethalto, Ill., four bass, 11-12, $545
7th:        Wes Proctor, Manhattan, Kan., three bass, 10-14, $934
8th:        Alex Thomas, Fulton, Mo., two bass, 9-2, $403
8th:        Steve Richmond, Crestwood, Mo., three bass, 9-2, $403
10th:     Shay Hassell, Springfield, Mo., three bass, 8-15, $332

Wes Proctor of Manhattan, Kansas, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $460, catching a bass that weighed in at 6 pounds, 8 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After two events, Eric Olliverson of Shell Knob, Missouri, leads the Fishing Clash Ozark Division Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 497 points, while Kirk Short of St. Clair, Missouri, leads the Fishing Clash Ozark Division Strike King Co-Angler of the Year race with 488 points.

The next event for BFL Ozark Division anglers will be held May 4, at Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. To register for the event as a boater or a co-angler, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com or call (270)-252-1000.

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. 3-5 BFL Regional tournament on Pickwick Lake in Counce, Tennessee. Boaters will fish for a top award of $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Suzuki 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 or Suzuki outboard.

The 2024 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.

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, Fishing Clash, General Tire, GSM Outdoors, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota 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.