Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Olney’s Lee Flips Wood to Win Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event at Lake Shelbyville


Boater Jeffrey Lee of Olney, and Strike-King co-angler Lane Argo of Edinburg, Illinois.
Edinburg’s Argo Tops Strike King Co-Angler Division

SHELBYVILLE, Ill. (May 20, 2024) – Boater Jeffrey Lee of Olney, Illinois, caught a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 4 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Shelbyville . The tournament was the first event of the season for the BFL Illini Division. Lee earned $3,289 for his victory.

Sometimes in tough bass tournaments, all you can do is put your head down and grind all day. That’s exactly what Lee did to get his win.

“I figured out that there was only one area of the lake really – the lower end – that had any fish for me,” he said. “Other guys did better up on the mid- and upper lake, but I stayed on the lower end and basically flipped shallow wood all day.”

Lee targeted stumps, laydowns and other wood cover with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver in the dirty Sanchez color.

Some of the wood was on the bank, but Lee also fished deeper cover that wasn’t visible by eye.

“I have 360 and forward-facing sonar and was able to make accurate flips instead of blind-casting,” he said. “You’ve got stuff you can see visually and you’ve got the stuff that you can’t see. And neither one was any better than the other. You just had to put your head down and just go as hard as you could go all day long.”

The day started fast for Lee. He put three keepers in the box by 7 a.m., including a 4-11 kicker, but then the action slowed. He broke off a 4-pounder that might’ve put the tournament away sooner, but it wound up not costing him thanks to a key fish late in the day.

“My fifth keeper actually came when we were in the very back of a pocket,” he recalled. “I had seen some fry, and I knew that since the fry were there, there had to be a guarder. I threw my wacky worm up there, and she didn’t bite it, but as I was reeling it in she chased it. So I knew she was there. I threw back in there, and I caught her and she was almost 3 pounds. And that was kind of the ice. That was at like 1 o’clock.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:          Jeffrey Lee, Olney, Ill., five bass, 13-4, $3,289
2nd:        Ethan Fields, Breese, Ill., five bass, 12-8, $1,644
3rd:         Hunter Russell, Salem, Ill., five bass, 12-6, $1,097
4th:         Riley Walk, Neoga, Ill., five bass, 11-13, $767
5th:         Matt Swalls, Carterville, Ill., four bass, 11-5, $1,053
6th:         Colby Schrumpf, Highland, Ill., five bass, 10-0, $1,403 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
7th:         Cliff Pass, Lenzburg, Ill., four bass, 9-10, $548
8th:         Travis Boley, Weldon, Ill., five bass, 9-8, $493
9th:         Michael Black, Toledo, Ill., three bass, 9-1, $411
9th:         Garrett McDowell, Windsor, Ill., five bass, 9-1, $411

Complete results can be found at

Matt Swalls of Carterville, Illinois, caught a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 7 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $395.

Lane Argo of Edinburg, Illinois, won the Strike King co-angler division and $1,644 Saturday, after bringing three bass to the scale that totaled 7 pounds, 13 ounces.

The top 11 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:          Lane Argo, Edinburg, Ill., three bass, 7-13, $1,644
2nd:        Jojo Johnson, Benton, Ill., three bass, 6-12, $972
3rd:         Brandon Depew, Odin, Ill., four bass, 6-11, $549
4th:         Andrew Boring, El Paso, Ill., three bass, 6-6, $384
5th:         Ryan Murphy, Paris, Ill., four bass, 6-0, $329
6th:         Aaron Arning, Walnut Hill, Ill., three bass, 5-5, $301
7th:         Chase Johnson, Quincy, Ill., two bass, 4-3, $260
7th:         Robert Lindley, Greenville, Ill., two bass, 4-3, $260
9th:         Dale Renth, Mascoutah, Ill., one bass, 3-15, $391
9th:         Brad Thacher, Hardin, Ky., two bass, 3-15, $194
9th:         Jason Halverson, Belvidere, Ill., two bass, 3-15, $194

Dale Renth of Mascoutah, Illinois, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $197, catching a bass that weighed in at 3 pounds, 15 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

The next event for BFL Illini Division anglers will be held June 29, at Rend Lake in Sesser, Illinois. 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 Pools 13-17 of the Mississippi River in Quad Cities, Illinois. 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.

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