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Indiana’s Way Claims Victory by One Ounce at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event at Lake Guntersville

SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (March 27, 2023) – Boater Joe Way of Bedford, Indiana, caught a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 12 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Guntersville by one ounce. The tournament, hosted by the Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce, was the third event for the BFL Choo Choo Division. Way earned $5,165 for his victory.

Photo: Joe Way

“Fishing this tournament was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing,” said Way, who concentrated his efforts on the south end of Guntersville. “I did not have a good practice. I didn’t really know what I was going to do come tournament day.”

Way said he started his tournament with a couple of quick keepers, then lost three good keepers in a row.

“I felt like I had been punched in the gut,” Way said. “But I was persistent and stayed in the area and knew there were fish there. I ended up collecting five fish and managed to cull three or four of them to bring back what I had.”

Way’s fish came on a vibrating jig in 2 to 4 feet of water, in areas that held grass. Way said finding clumps of grass near a mudline where muddy water met clear water was the key to his win.

“When I caught my fifth fish and had my limit I was satisfied,” Way added. “That was my goal; I just wanted to catch a limit.

“This win is a big monkey off my back,” Way added. “This is the eighth BFL event that I’ve fished, and it really hasn’t even really sunk in yet that I have won.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st: Joe Way, Bedford, Ind., five bass, 22-12, $5,165

2nd: Hayden O’Barr, Scottsboro, Ala., five bass, 22-11, $2,882

3rd: Joshua Butts, Springville, Ala., five bass, 20-8, $1,722

4th: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., five bass, 19-6, $1,205

5th: Creig Kimbro, Monteagle, Tenn., five bass, 18-3, $1,033

6th: Charlie Craycraft, Grant, Ala., five bass, 17-9, $1,867 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)

7th: Charles Murphy, Gaylesville, Ala., five bass, 16-1, $818

7th: Will Robinson, Columbia, Tenn., five bass, 16-1, $818

9th: Danny Hall, Ellijay, Ga., five bass, 15-11, $689

10th: Josh Butler, Hayden, Ala., five bass, 15-9, $603

Complete results can be found at

Lamar Patterson of Fyffe, Alabama, caught a largemouth that weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $805.

Craig Childers of Taft, Tennessee, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,577 Saturday, after bringing three bass to the scale that totaled 14 pounds, 12 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st: Craig Childers, Taft, Tenn., three bass, 14-12, $2,577

2nd: Clint Haley, Franklin, Ky., five bass, 14-8, $1,288

3rd: Dennis Putthoff, Old Hickory, Tenn., five bass, 13-13, $729

3rd: Zach Britton, Fayetteville, Tenn., five bass, 13-13, $729

5th: Pop Catalin, Cookeville, Tenn., five bass, 13-10, $515

6th: Justin Stephenson, Jasper, Ala., five bass, 13-3, $472

7th: Jose Serna, Albertville, Ala., four bass, 13-2, $429

8th: Dalynn Teeftaller, Lawrenceburg, Tenn., three bass, 13-0, $387

9th: Michael Jones, Rome, Ga., three bass, 12-2, $744

10th: Michael Corbett, Oxford, Ala., four bass, 9-8, $286

10th: Neil Strickland, Sulligent, Ala., three bass, 9-8, $286

Daniel Corkern of Florence, Mississippi, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $397, catching a largemouth that weighed in at 7 pounds, 4 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After three events, Jordan Lee of Cullman, Alabama, leads the BFL Choo Choo Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 730 points, while Justin Stephenson of Jasper, Alabama, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 715 points.

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. 12-14 BFL Regional tournament on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama. Boaters will fish 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 compete for a top award of $50,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The 2023 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. The 2023 All-American event will take place May 31-June 2, on Lake Hartwell in Seneca, South Carolina. The event is hosted by Visit Oconee SC.

Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, General Tire, Grundéns, Gill, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Mystik Lubricants, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.

For complete details and updated tournament information, visit For regular Bass Fishing League updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

About Major League Fishing

Major League Fishing (MLF) is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, producing more than 250 events annually at some of the most prestigious fisheries in the world, while broadcasting to America’s living rooms on CBS, the Discovery Channel, the Outdoor Channel, CBS Sports Network, the World Fishing Network and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, the MLF roster of bass anglers includes the world’s top pros and more than 30,000 competitors in all 50 states and 13 countries. Since its founding in 2011, MLF has advanced the sport of competitive fishing through its premier television broadcasts and livestreams and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for bass through research, education, fisheries enhancement and fish care.

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