Monday, May 20, 2024

Barnes, Grooms Tie for Win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event at Kerr Lake


Boater winners Wade Grooms of Bonneau, South Carolina and Jason Barnes of Concord, North Carolina, and Strike-King co-angler winner Nicholas Burke of Maiden, North Carolina.
Maiden’s Burke Tops Strike King Co-Angler Division

HENDERSON, N.C. (May 6, 2024) – Boaters Jason Barnes of Concord, North Carolina, and Wade Grooms of Bonneau, South Carolina, each caught five-bass limits weighing 16 pounds, 13 ounces, Saturday to tie for the win at the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Kerr Lake . Hosted by the Vance County Tourism Development Authority, the tournament was the third event of the season for the BFL North Carolina Division. For their share of the victory, Barnes earned $10,412, which includes the lucrative $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, and Grooms took home $2,502.

Barnes and Grooms fished unique patterns to earn their share of a tie.

“What I found was really a postspawn bite,” Grooms said. “The fish were grouped up. I caught them on a pencil popper running real shallow points.”

Grooms rotated through about eight points – all but one on the main lake – and each was good for multiple fish. He made three rotations throughout the day, keeping his boat in about 6 feet and casting up into about 4 feet.

“I did have one in a creek that was real good, but most of them were main lake,” he said. “They were probably the first point out from a spawning pocket or creek where they would go to spawn.”

Barnes caught his fish targeting shallow wood cover.

“I pretty much just ran up the lake, and we were running shallow pockets, pretty well power-fishing throwing buzz baits and a spinnerbait. I did catch some flipping a creature bait,” he said.

Barnes only managed seven keeper bites all day, but they were the right ones, including a 5-pound, 13-ounce kicker that earned him the Berkley Big Bass award of $410.

The key to his success? Simple: “Staying persistent,” he said. “Keeping at it.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:        Jason Barnes, Concord, N.C., five bass, 16-3, $10,412 (includes $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
1st:        Wade Grooms, Bonneau, S.C., five bass, 16-3, $2,502
3rd:       Rob Digh, Denver, N.C., five bass, 16-0, $1,112
4th:        Joseph Sharpe, Henderson, N.C., five bass, 15-11, $779
5th:        Marty Warren, Elon, N.C., five bass, 15-4, $667
6th:        Greg Lahr, Fayetteville, N.C., five bass, 14-14, $612
7th:        Scott Hamrick, Denver, N.C., five bass, 14-10, $556
8th:        Tom Wilkinson, Oxford, N.C., five bass, 14-6, $501
9th:        David Wright, Lexington, N.C., five bass, 14-3, $417
9th:        Scooter Lilley, Williamston, N.C., five bass, 14-3, $417

Complete results can be found at

Nicholas Burke of Maiden, North Carolina, won the Strike King co-angler division and $1,668 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 15 pounds, 6 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:        Nicholas Burke, Maiden, N.C., five bass, 15-6, $1,668
2nd:       Keith Wood, Mooresville, N.C., five bass, 13-2, $834
3rd:       Jared Jones, Denver, N.C., five bass, 12-14, $558
4th:        Arthur Harris, York, S.C., five bass, 11-13, $389
5th:        Jean Lacerte, Elm City, N.C., five bass, 11-0, $334
6th:        Jonathan Ceaser, Maidens, Va., five bass, 10-13, $306
7th:        Brandon Miskell, Vienna, Va., five bass, 10-11, $278
8th:        Russell Nicewander, Bluefield, W.Va., five bass, 10-5, $250
9th:        Robert Green, Sedalia, N.C., five bass, 10-4, $222
10th:     Amos Minard, Akron, Ohio, five bass, 10-3, $195

Samuel Jones of Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $205, catching a bass that weighed in at 4 pounds, 11 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After three events, Lucas Murphy of West Columbia, South Carolina, leads the Fishing Clash North Carolina Division Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 723 points, while Jared Jones of Denver, North Carolina, leads the Fishing Clash North Carolina Co-Angler of the Year race with 736 points.

The next event for BFL North Carolina Division anglers will be held June 15, at High Rock Lake in Lexington, North Carolina. To register for the event as a boater or a co-angler, visit 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. 10-12 BFL Regional tournament on Santee Cooper Lakes in Clarendon County, South Carolina. 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, REDCON1, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, WIX Filters 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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