Boater Garrett McDowell of Windsor, Illinois, and Strike-King co-angler Sheldon Ayers of Goreville, Illinois
Goreville’s Ayers Bests Field of Strike King Co-Anglers

SESSOR, Ill. (Sept. 19, 2022) – Boater Garrett McDowell of Windsor, Illinois, caught eight bass weighing 19 pounds, 14 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Rend Lake in Sessor, Illinois. The tournament was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Illini Division. McDowell earned $5,426 for his victory.

McDowell said he began his tournament fishing rip rap on the north end of Rend, where wind was prevalent and blowing baitfish onto rock. McDowell said he caught six keepers Saturday morning on a Z-Man Jack Hammer Evergreen ChatterBait , then moved to fish holding in less than a foot of water. On Sunday, the wind was coming from a different direction and the bass were not holding on the rip rap, so McDowell said he fished shallow, but cloud cover hampered quality production.

“With about an hour left the clouds broke, and I was able to get my last two bites flipping cyprus trees,” McDowell said.

McDowell said he found success using an Omega Revelation Swim Jig for his cyprus tree bite.

“This feels pretty good,” McDowell said. “My first BFL win was in a Super Tournament on Shelbyville in 2018. This is just kind of my time of year – when it transitions into the fall bite. That’s kind of when I shine.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st:        Garrett McDowell, Windsor, Ill., eight bass, 19-14, $5,426
2nd:       Patrick Odell, Windsor, Ill, seven bass, 19-10, $2,563
3rd:       Alex Moore, Chester, Ill., nine bass, 18-13, $1,709
4th:        Toby Corn, Paducah, Ky., nine bass, 18-7, $1,596
5th:        Trey McKinney, Carbondale, Ill., eight bass, 18-5, $1,325
6th:        Brennon McCord, Thompsonville, Ill., eight bass, 17-13, $1,440 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF5 contingency bonus)
7th:        Wayne O’Dell, Toledo, Ill., six bass, 17-2, $1,484
8th:        Greg Mullins, Mount Vernon, Ill., six bass, 16-0, $769
9th:        Scott Rice, Cobden, Ill., six bass, 15-6, $683
10th:     Michael Black, Toledo, Ill., six bass, 14-7, $598

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Wayne O’Dell of Toledo, Illinois, had a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $630.

Sheldon Ayers of Goreville, Illinois, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,502 Sunday after catching a two-day total of five bass weighing 12 pounds, 12 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:

1st:        Sheldon Ayers, Goreville, Ill., five bass, 12-12, $2,502
2nd:       Rick Cheatham, Carterville, Ill., five bass, 12-6, $1,401
3rd:       Ryan Murphy, Paris, Ill., six bass, 11-12, $1,034
4th:        Ryan Taylor, Christopher, Ill., four bass, 9-14, $584
5th:        Ovidiu Marginean, Glenview, Ill., four bass, 9-9, $500
6th:        Chuck Davis, Farmington, Ill., four bass, 9-6, $559
7th:        Andrew Boring, El Paso, Ill., four bass, 8-15, $417
8th:        Mike Swetland, Tamaroa, Ill., four bass, 8-11, $375
9th:        Steve Bowcock, Bridgeport, Ill., four bass, 7-6, $392
10th:     Brian Huber, Saint Charles, Mo., three bass, 7-0, $292

Drake Horn of Murphysboro, Illinois, caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 3 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $307.

With the regular season now complete, boater Trey McKinney of Carbondale, Illinois, won the 2022 Bass Fishing League Illini Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,326 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Chuck Davis of Farmington, Illinois, won the 2022 Strike King Co-Angler Illini Division AOY race with 1,283 points and earned the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.

Now, the top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the division based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will advance to compete in the Oct. 13-15 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Boaters will compete 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 fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six Regional Championships 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 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American.

The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division will also earn priority entry into the MLF Toyota Series, the pathway to the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour.

Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, AFTCO, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Gary Yamamoto Baits, General Tire, Lew’s, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Revital Outdoors, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X, YETI and Yo-Zuri.

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.

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