West Salem’s Weber wins two-day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Super Tournament on Mississippi River

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49 seconds ago by Keith Worrall

Amended September 12, 2022 at 3:08 PM

Oates leads Illinois in Strike King Co-Angler Division

LA CROSSE, Wis. (September 12, 2022) – Boater Clayton Weber from West Salem, Wisconsincaught 10 bass weighing 34 pounds and 2 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by TH Marine on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The tournament was hosted by the La Crosse County Convention and Visitors Bureau and was the fifth and final regular season event for the Bass Fishing League‘s Great Lakes Division. Weber earned $5,886 for his victory.

“I’m on cloud nine,” added Weber. “That win was one of those things where you don’t know if it will ever happen, but you never stop trying.”

Weber said he started his tournament by locking himself in Pool 7 in the Mississippi to fish smallmouth, but the main channel was choppy with storms and wind. Weber said he changed his plans and went to a place where he found a largemouth shoal on baitfish.

“I really didn’t know how big they were, but I knew there were quite a few,” Weber said. “I caught about 14½ pounds in about 10 minutes then left them alone to fish for the smallmouth. I was able to take down twice with a smallmouth. Then I went back to my bigmouth and, on my first cast, I selected the fish I weighed.

Weber said the weather on Sunday was much better for him with wind and clouds but no rain. He returned to his big mouth but found that they had repositioned themselves due to the change in weather. He managed to get out 12½ pounds of bigmouth water there, then moved into the smallmouth water.

“I started shedding my 2½ pounds, so I was putting on crazy weight,” Weber said.

Weber said his big mouth was in the grass, feeding on a school of gizzard shad on a dish. He said he caught them on a Kureiji Sakana Tackle Company Panic Swim Jig, which features a wide, side-to-side swinging action that mimicked gizzard shad escaping from the bass. Weber’s little mouth fell for a number of baits, including an Evergreen Shower Blows surface bait, a Carolina rig, and a swim bait.

“To the smallmouth, it seemed like each fish was eating its own bait,” Weber said.

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st: Clayton Weber, West Salem, Wis., 10 bass, 34-2, $5,886
2nd: Cade Laufenberg, La Crosse, Wis., 10 low, 33-10, $3,643 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF5 contingency bonus)
3rd: Kyle Meyer, Blaine, Minn., 10 bass, 31-14, $1,964
4th: Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., 10 bass, 31-14, $1,373
5th: Benny Stutzman, Caledonia, Minn., 10 bass, 31-6, $1,177
6th: Rob Leidholdt, Milton, Wis., 10 bass, 30-3, $1,079
7th: Chad Moldenhauer, Coon Valley, Wis., 10 bass, 29-8, $981
8th: Tong Lor, La Crosse, Wis., 10 bass, 28-14, $883
9th: Jeff Benson, Holmen, Wis., 10 bass, 28-10, $785
10th: Joe Pollak, Lake Geneva, Wis., 10 bass, 28-8, $1,737

Full results are available at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Max Ford of Genoa, Wisconsin caught a bass weighing 5 pounds, 7 ounces – the heaviest in the event in the Boater Division – to win the Berkley Big Bass Boater prize of $795.

Nicholas Oates of Marengo, Ill., won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $3,366 on Sunday after catching a total of 10 bass weighing 21 pounds, 15 ounces over two days.

Strike King’s top 10 co-anglers were:

1st: Nicholas Oates, Marengo, IL, 10 bass, 21-15, $3,366
2nd: Matt McVeigh, Fort Dodge, Iowa, nine bass, 20-3, $1,458
3rd: Mark Folsom, Waterville, Iowa, nine bass, 19-9, $971
4th: Kevin Clark, Lancaster, Wis., nine bass, 19-7, $680
5th: Devan Jenkins, Milwaukee, Wis., eight bass, 16-12, $583
6th: Lee Lewis, Peoria, IL, eight bass, 16-10, $535
7th: Jessie Pollard, Whitehall, Wisconsin, six bass, 15-14, $486
8th: Larry Litchfield, Macomb, Ill., six bass, 15-2, $437
9th: David Ondrla, Elmhurst, IL, six bass, 14-15, $389
10th: Jeff Pfeffer, Isanti, Minn., six bass, 14-11, $340

Brian Brecka of Alma, Wisconsin caught the biggest bass in the Strike King Co-angler division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 5 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $394.

With the regular season now over, boater Jeff Ritter of Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin, won the 2022 Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,323 points to win the boater AOY of $1,000. award. Mark Folsom of Waterville, Iowa won the 2022 AOY Strike King Co-Angler Great Lakes Division race with 1,300 points and took home the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.

Now, the top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the division based on points standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will qualify to compete in the Bass Fishing League Regional Championship from Oct. 20-22 in Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma. 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 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 on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

About Major League Fishing
Major League Fishing (MLF) is the world’s largest fishing tournament organization, producing more than 250 events a year in some of the world’s most prestigious fisheries, while broadcasting in American living rooms on CBS, Discovery Channel, Outdoor Channel, CBS Sports Network, the World Fishing Network and on demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with offices in Benton, Kentucky, the MLF list of bass anglers includes the world’s top pros and more than 30,000 competitors in all 50 states and 13 countries. In 2019, the MLF expanded its portfolio of catch, weigh-in and immediate release events to include the five biggest most powerful fish format tournament circuits in the sport. Since its founding in 2011, MLF has advanced the sport of competitive fishing through its premier television and live streams and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for bass through research, to education, the improvement of fishing and the care of fish.

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Robert A. Glidden