Monday, May 20, 2024

Louisiana’s Fleming Throws Spinnerbait to Post Second Career Win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event at Lake Sardis


Boater winner Dakota Fleming of Oak Grove, Louisiana, and Strike-King co-angler winner Samuel Jones of Fuquay Varina, North Carolina.
Samuel Jones of Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, Tops Strike King Co-Angler Division

SARDIS, Miss. (May 13, 2024) – Boater Dakota Fleming of Oak Grove, Louisiana, caught a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Sardis. The tournament was the third event of the season for the BFL Mississippi Division. Fleming earned $2,694 for his victory.

For Fleming, winning at Sardis was all about adapting to changing water levels and fishing pressure.

“A week ago, I thought I had something dialed in,” he said. “As the water’s been rising, it’s been coming up on grass. Not marine vegetation, but just grass that grew on these flats while the lake was low. And the fish were keying on that.”

Fleming found three key grass areas, but he wasn’t sure they would hold out with conditions changing. Plus, he was boat No. 30. Knowing that a lot of anglers were dialed into the flooded grass, Fleming was pretty sure he’d have to get in line to fish those spots if he hit them first thing in the morning. So, he made a change at takeoff.

“I was so unsure about even catching a limit,” Fleming said. “He (the tournament director) called my number, and I dropped the trolling motor and started fishing an island by where we were taking off. I caught one about three casts into the day. They were still calling boat numbers.”

Fleming landed another keeper on the island then spent the rest of the day fishing flooded grass with a white and chartreuse spinnerbait and fishing points where he had had some luck with a crankbait in practice. He kept the rotation up all day, even though the crankbait bite never materialized.

“It was all spinnerbait,” he said. “I never could get anything going flipping. The cranking bite was no good. I heard there were people that caught them on frogs, but I never found anything great with topwater except gar.

“It’s a pain to fish it (the spinnerbait) in the grass and try to keep it clean, but to me it was getting bit better than the ChatterBait. So I was willing to keep cleaning it off just to get a couple extra bites.”

Fleming boxed a limit by about 10:30. Then he caught one more keeper and made a crucial cull at about 1 p.m., replacing a 1-pounder with a 4-pounder. That fish was the difference-maker in his win.

“I already had one in the box that was 4 1/2 and then had that 4. It went a long way in that type of tournament where it’s just that tough.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:        Dakota Fleming, Oak Grove, La., five bass, 14-0, $2,694
2nd:       Hayze Hutzel, Flowood, Miss., five bass, 12-1, $1,122
2nd:       Daniel Walker, Collierville, Tenn., five bass, 12-1, $1,122
4th:        John Anderson, Bay Springs, Miss., five bass, 12-0, $1,429 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
5th:        Logan Main, Lumberton, Miss., five bass, 10-10, $539
6th:        Jeff Johnston, Marion, Ark., five bass, 10-6, $494
7th:        Chris Jones, Senatobia, Miss., four bass, 9-8, $449
8th:        Steve Hatch, Long Beach, Miss., four bass, 9-4, $381
8th:        Michael Swider, Oxford, Miss., four bass, 9-4, $381
10th:     Michael Aycock, Petal, Miss., four bass, 8-12, $314

Complete results can be found at

Bill Brock of Amory, Mississippi, caught a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 15 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $290.

Samuel Jones of Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, won the Strike King co-angler division and $1,347 Saturday, after bringing four bass to the scale that totaled 8 pounds, 1 ounce.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:        Samuel Jones, Fuquay Varina, N.C., four bass, 8-1, $1,347
2nd:       Joseph Breeden, Brandon, Miss., four bass, 7-14, $674
3rd:       Randy Maples, Amory, Miss., three bass, 7-5, $594
4th:        Jeff Ingle, Como, Miss., four bass, 7-4, $314
5th:        Michael Marlin, Nesbit, Miss., two bass, 6-7, $269
6th:        Toby Finch, Olive Branch, Miss., two bass, 5-12, $247
7th:        Marian Hall, Hattiesburg, Miss., three bass, 5-3, $225
8th:        Shane Long, Pontotoc, Miss., two bass, 4-12, $191
8th:        Brandon Mast, Mathiston, Miss., three bass, 4-12, $191
10th:     Mike Gebhart, Baton Rouge, La., three bass, 4-9, $157

Randy Maples of Amory, Mississippi, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $145, catching a bass that weighed in at 4 pounds, 6 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After three events, Dakota Fleming of Oak Grove, Louisiana, leads the Fishing Clash Mississippi Division Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 733 points, while Randy Maples of Amory, Mississippi, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 733 points.

The next event for BFL Mississippi Division anglers will be held July 20, at Lake Ferguson in Greenville, Mississippi. 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. 17-19 BFL Regional tournament on Wright Patman Lake in Texarkana, Texas. 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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