Austin of Virginia wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on South Holston Reservoir

Sweet Takes Strike King Co-Angler Division of Abingdon

BRISTOL, TN (May 2, 2022) – Boater Doug Austin from Bristol, Virginiacaught five bass on Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 4 ounces, to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by TH Marine on the South Holston Reservoir. The tournament was the second event for the Bass Fishing League’s Volunteer Division. Austin earned $5,024 for his win.

“I had a couple of fish that I had located before the tournament that I thought I could catch, and that was my main plan – catch them off the bat and then settle on the shore and go from there,” Austin said. “I caught two of the three pretty quickly and then the rest of the day was spent jumping from here to there, catching little ones and the occasional good one. It was really uneven.

Austin said he used a green pumpkin Berkley Powerbait Power Worm on a 1/0 hook with an 1/8 ounce weight on a 7 pound test line. He said the light line was key to helping the platform descend deeper faster. Austin said the rig caught 10 or 12 fish, nine of which were keepers.

“We were hitting a bank and getting a good one and then I was catching two or three 2-pounders,” Austin said. “The last fish I caught and weighed, I caught 30 or 45 minutes early.”

Austin said he expected the winning weight to be 19 or 19½ pounds.

“When I came in, I thought I had a top 5,” Austin said. “It was at the end of laying, and the weights tend to drop.”

Austin said his longtime fishing buddy died days before the tournament, with memorial services scheduled on the day of the competition. His friends encouraged him to continue fishing.

“They told me he would want me to go ahead and fish today, and I did,” Austin said. “Winning was something special. When I found out I had won, I left and spent some time crying and talking to him.

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st: Doug Austin, Bristol, Virginia, five bass, 18-4, $5,024
2nd: JR Henard, Rogersville, TN, five bass, 17-1, $2,512
3rd: Tyler Altizer, Abingdon, Va., five bass, 16-10, $1,674
4th: Colton Chambers, Elizabethton, TN, five bass, 16-7, $1,172
5th: Jimmy Neece Jr., Bristol, TN, five bass, 16-4, $1,463 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF contingency bonus)
5th: Jack Daniel Williams, Kingsport, Tennessee, five bass, 16-4, $963
7th: Bryan Leonard, Blountville, TN, five bass, 16-3, $837
8th: Clayton Winebarger, Abingdon, Va., five bass, 16-1, $754
9th: Brian Barnett, Bluff City, TN, five bass, 15-14, $628
9th: Brandon Stanley, Johnson City, TN, five bass, 15-14, $628

Full results are available at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Joshua Short of Bean Station, Tennessee, and Tim Smiley of White Pine, Tennessee, both caught a big mouth that weighed in at 4 pounds, 12 ounces in the Boater division and split the Berkley Big Bass Boater prize of $774.

Konnor Sweet of Abingdon, Va., won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,419 on Saturday after catching five bass weighing 15 pounds, 12 ounces.

Strike King’s top 10 co-anglers were:

1st: Konnor Sweet, Abingdon, Va., five bass, 15-12, $2,419
2nd: Ryan Lee, Pound, Virginia, five bass, 15-8, $1,210
3rd: Kevin King, Blountville, TN, five bass, 15-7, $807
4th: Stephen Brady, Woodlawn, Va., five bass, 15-5, $524
4th: Travis Malone, Wartburg, TN, five bass, 15-5, $524
6th: Brian Bailey, Austinville, Va., five bass, 15-2, $444
7th: Brad Barton, Middlesboro, Kentucky, five bass, 14-11, $403
8th: Mike Roten, Creston, NC, five bass, 14-7, $363
9th: Joshua Rasnake, Jonesborough, TN, five bass, 13-14, $323
10th: Rod Grayson, Oxford, Iowa, five bass, 13-10, $282

James Reece of Big Stone Gap, Va., caught the biggest bass in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 5 pounds, 13 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $365.

After two events, JR Henard of Rogersville, Tennessee leads the Bass Fishing League Volunteer Division’s Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 480 points, while Konnor Sweet of Abingdon, Virginia leads the Strike King Co- Angler Division AOY with 498 points.

The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will be entered into the Bass Fishing League Regional Championships Oct. 20-22 on Smith Lake in Cullman, in Alabama. Boaters will compete for a prize of $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200 horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while fellow anglers will fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a Mercury outboard of 200 horsepower.

The 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by TH Marine is a 24-division circuit dedicated to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 Strike King boaters and co-fishermen in each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six Regional Championships where they compete to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the oldest championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American. The 2022 All-American will be held June 2-4 at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.

The top 45 Strike King boaters and co-fishermen as well as tournament winners from each division of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League will also gain priority entry into the MLF Toyota Series, the path 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 TH Marine include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, AFTCO, ARE 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, TH Marine, Toyota, Wiley X, YETI and Yo-Zuri .

For more details and up-to-date tournament information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular Bass Fishing League updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media at Facebook, instagramand Youtube.

Robert A. Glidden