Chapin’s Johnathan Crossland wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Lake Murray


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Lake Murray, SC 10/20/2021 – Pro Johnathan Crossland from Chapin, South Carolina brought a total of three days of 15 basses to the scale weighing 43 pounds, 12 ounces to gain the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship presented by TH Marine in Lake Murray. For his victory, Crossland won $ 61,500, including a Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200 horsepower, $ 10,000 Mercury outboard, as well as lucrative emergency bounties, including up to an additional $ 7,000 of Phoenix MLF Bonus. Crossland also received automatic entry into the 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Pan Am Championship, June 2-4, at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, as well as priority entry into the Toyota Series – The Road to the Circuit. Tackle Warehouse Pro and finally the Bass Pro Tour. “Before the limits the bite off was really good,” said Crossland. “I was catching 15 to 18 pounds quite easily. But come and practice, it got really tough as you can see from the results. “Traditionally Murray can get tough in October. I think there has been some rolling in parts of the lake, but it’s also just that transition where they move from the bush to the shore, following a bait. They’re just in a funk. The weather did not help matters and the heavy rains leading up to the Regional prompted Crossland, along with other competitors, to look for other means of crossing the lake.

“One thing that spoiled the bite off a bit was that the water came up,” Crossland said. “We had all of this rain north of us and it came down from the Saluda River and blew it away for the most part. “I knew I was going to fish offshore on brush piles and things like that, so I wanted to look for something else. I looked up shallow and found grass on deeper spots – the first one I caught was like a 4 pounder and had four more explosions. The river hit its crest just before the tournament and was starting to drop, so I knew I was going to spend a day trying to catch a few on a frog. As the tournament began on day one, Crossland said it didn’t take long for him to realize that offshore fishing was going to be key. “I had an explosion at 9 am on Day 1 and from there I got into offshore,” Crossland said. “I ran into a brush pile around 9:30 am and that was the first one I stopped and got bitten on – at that point I was engaged.” Fishing drops, brush and spikes in about 20 feet of water from Buffalo Creek to the dam during the entirety of the event, Crossland said he made about 50 stops on day one, but he had been able to reduce it a bit in the past two days. “I burned a lot of fuel and ran a lot,” said Crossland. “It was a timing deal – sometimes they were there and sometimes they weren’t. I used Garmin LiveScope, so it gave me the confidence to come back to areas where I didn’t catch any fish just because I could see they were there. Getting just five goalie bites on Day 1 and six goalie bites on days 2 and 3, Crossland said he knows every bite will count. “On the last day I was nervous because the wind was supposed to be blowing hard and when it blows so hard for me it usually doesn’t work well. I didn’t have a guard at 9:30 am and the wind was already starting to blow well. I walked over to a pile of brush and grabbed my biggest fish from the last day. From there, I just entered my rotation and had a limit around 12 o’clock. Opting for surface water to call the fish from their lairs offshore, Crossland said he put a Cowboy Castaic in his hand all day, every day. He threw it on a 6ft 9in medium action Bulldawg rod coiled with 12 pounds Berkley Trilene Big Game.

Winning a tournament of this caliber on his native pond certainly meant a lot to the South Carolina boater, but it meant even more with his friends and family watching him. “I lost my stepfather, Mike Patsolic, on August 17 to COVID,” Crossland said. “It’s been almost two months, but knowing that he was there with me and proudly watching means a lot. My friends and family were also there, so I had a crowd that was rooting for me. It’s hard to put words into what it feels like. He still hasn’t really settled down. Having a good support system is vital for any tournament angler and Crossland said he looks forward to representing them all at the All-American next year. “The All-American is the hardest tournament to qualify for bass fishing, in my opinion,” said Crossland. “The things you need to do to get there and all the locals you need to beat, it’s just a dream come true.” The top six boaters who qualified for the 2022 All-American Phoenix Bass Fishing League were:

1st: Johnathan Crossland of Chapin, SC, 15 bass, 43-12, $ 61,500, including Phoenix 819 Pro boat with 200 horsepower outboard motor 2nd: Chase Stewart of Ware Shoals, SC, 15 bass, 40- $ 10, $ 10,000 3rd: Andy Wicker of Pomaria, SC, 13 basses, 39-4, $ 5,000 4th: Scott Browning of Franklin, NC, 11 basses, 37-12, $ 3,000 5th: Hunter Eubanks of Inman, SC, 15 basses, 35-10, $ 2,000 6th: David Bright of Mooresville, NC, 14 basses, 35-0, $ 1,800

The top 10 boaters were:

7th: Jack Dice of Lynchburg, Virginia, 13 basses, 34-4, $ 1,600 8th: Corey Brooks of Louisville, Tenn., 15 basses, 33-7, $ 1,400 9th: Chris Dover of Blacksburg, SC, 13 basses , 32-5, $ 1,200 10th: Rodney Bell of Salisbury, NC, 13 basses, 31-11, $ 1,000

Full results are available at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

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Robert A. Glidden

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