Greenville’s Derrick Bridges Earns Top Honors at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Hartwell

Category: article

 Feb 16th, 2022 by Keith Worrall 

Modified Feb 16th, 2022 at 6:10 PM

Winning boater Derrick Bridges of Greenville, S.C. (left) and winning Strike King co-angler Albert McNair of Watkinsville, Ga.

Georgia’s McNair Wins Strike King Co-Angler Division

ANDERSON, S.C. (Feb. 16, 2022) – Greenville, South Carolina angler Derrick Bridges brought five bass to the scale Saturday totaling 16 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Hartwell . The event, hosted by the Anderson Convention & Visitors Bureau, was the season-opener for the Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division. Bridges earned $4,652 for his victory.

“So much of this tournament was just fishing history,” said Bridges, who earned his first career victory in MLF competition. “I’ve got a lot of experience on this lake, but I didn’t get but a couple of hours of practice. And I didn’t get to do anything in the morning, which is critical on Lake Hartwell. So, I ran history.”

Bridges said he fished in the mid-lake area, on both the Georgia and South Carolina sides. He said he caught one early on a Keitech swimbait, then the rest of his eight keepers came on a jig.

“I caught one on a brown mop jig, and the rest on a ½-ounce green-pumpkin-colored War Eagle Heavy Finesse jig,” Bridges said. I used (Zoom) Speed Craws and the Zoom Super Chunk Jr. for trailers, but I don’t think they were real important.”

Bridges credited his forward-facing sonar as being important to his success.

“Could I have won without my forward-facing sonar – sure. I’ve won a lot of tournaments with out it,” Bridges went on to say. “But it just makes you so much more efficient. You could see a fish in a bush 50 to 60 feet away and chunk your jig in there – if you didn’t see the fish come off the structure – you might as well move on.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st: Derrick Bridges, Greenville, S.C., five bass, 16-12, $4,652
2nd: Randy Childers, Anderson, S.C., five bass, 16-6, $2,326
3rd: Justin Kimmel, Athens, Ga., five bass, 16-2, $1,551
4th: Greg Glouse, Liberty, S.C., five bass, 15-15, $1,086
5th: Brent Story, Atlanta, Ga., five bass, 15-14, $930
6th: Shannon Poore, Walhalla, S.C., five bass, 15-11, $853
7th: Alex Cummings, Lyman, S.C., five bass, 15-8, $775
8th: Justin Raines, Easley, S.C., five bass, 15-0, $698
9th: Jason Burroughs, Hodges, S.C., five bass, 14-11, $1,320 (includes $500 MLF Phoenix Bonus)
10th: Bo Price, Seneca, S.C., five bass, 14-9, $543

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Shane Cantley of Elgin, South Carolina, caught a 6½-pounder – the heaviest bass weighed in the event in the Boater Division and earned the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $685.

Albert McNair of Watkinsville, Georgia, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,620 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 17 pounds, 7 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:

1st: Albert McNair, Watkinsville, Ga., five bass, 17-7, $2,620
2nd: Blake Gillispie, Reidsville, N.C., five bass, 14-15, $1,144
3rd: William Chris Bensel, Abbeville, S.C., five bass, 12-2, $762
4th: Wess Johnson, Covington, Ga., three bass, 11-14, $534
5th: Darren Ashley, Calhoun Falls, S.C., five bass, 10-13, $658
6th: Ryan Evans, Columbia, S.C., five bass, 10-3, $419
7th: Eddie Hall, Inman, S.C., four bass, 10-1, $381
8th: Casey McQuerns, Appling, Ga., five bass, 9-10, $343
9th: Arthur Harris, York, S.C., five bass, 8-11, $286
10th: Zahreed McClinton, Fort Bragg, N.C., five bass, 8-11, $286

McNair also caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in 7 pounds even. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $332.

The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 13-15 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Lake Pickwick in Counce, Tennessee. 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 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 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.

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 Tulsa, Oklahoma, with offices 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. In 2019, MLF expanded its portfolio of catch, weigh, and immediately release events to include the sport’s strongest five-biggest-fish format tournament circuits. 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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