Onalaska’s Zumach Claims Phoenix Bass Fishing League Victory on the Mississippi River
May 3rd, 2022 by Keith Worrall
Modified May 3rd, 2022 at 9:41 AM
Boater Darren Zumach of Onalaska, Wisconsin and Strike-King co-angler Lee Lewis of Peoria, Illinois.
Illinois’ Lewis Wins Strike King Co-Angler Division
LA CROSSE, Wis. (May 2, 2022) – Boater Darren Zumach of Onalaska, Wisconsin, caught five bass Saturday weighing 17 pounds, 8 ounces, to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on the Mississippi River . The tournament, hosted by the La Crosse County Convention and Visitors Bureau, was the season-opener for the Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division. Zumach earned $4,884 for his victory.
“The wind really helped me out a lot,” Zumach said. “It actually set me up against the current with the current coming down and the wind coming up, so it kept me in one spot. Once I figured out the fish had moved to shell beds, that wind did nothing but help me.”
Zumach said he fished a shad-colored Strike King KVD Jerkbait and a lipless crankbait in eight feet of water to target the shell-bed bass.
Zumach is a veteran Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournament angler, with a total of 111 MLF events fished since the mid-1990s. Zumach said he caught only seven fish during the course of the tournament – all keepers – but those fish resulted in the right five weigh-in fish on the right day.
“This feels amazing to finally pull off a win,” Zumach said. “I’ve been close and fishing these for a long time, and I finally got the win.
“When I got the 6-pound, 4-ounce smallmouth at 11 o’clock, I thought, ‘Yeah, I might have a chance here,’” Zumach added.
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Darren Zumach, Onalaska, Wis., five bass, 17-8, $4,884
2nd: Kyle von Ruden, Stoddard, Wis., five bass, 16-14, $2,740
3rd: Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 16-12, $1,426
4th: Dan Mohn, Lansing, Iowa, five bass, 16-7, $998
5th: Devin Teigen, Nelson, Wis., five bass, 16-5, $1,320 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
5th: Jeremy Nokken, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 16-5, $820
7th: Kevin Ruh, Onalaska, Wis., five bass, 15-15, $713
8th: Joe Pollak, Lake Geneva, Wis., five bass, 15-8, $942
9th: Hunter Litchfield, Macomb, Ill., five bass, 15-7, $571
10th: Austin Brimeyer, Dubuque, Iowa, five bass, 15-6, $499
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Zumach earned the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $605 with a smallmouth that weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces.
Lee Lewis of Peoria, Illinois, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,140 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 16 pounds, 4 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: Lee Lewis, Peoria, Ill., five bass, 16-4, $2,140
2nd: Alan Bernicky, Joliet, Ill., five bass, 15-13, $1,520
3rd: Shawn Overton, Coal Valley, Ill., five bass, 13-3, $712
4th: Justin Bowder, Rochester, Minn., five bass, 11-8, $499
5th: Thomas Bridges, Kankakee, Ill., four bass, 10-14, $428
6th: Mongshoua Xiong, La Crosse, Wis., four bass, 10-7, $392
7th: Mark Folsom, Waterville, Iowa, five bass, 10-6, $357
8th: Richard Conrad, Arcadia, Wis., four bass, 9-14, $321
9th: Michael Watson, Trempealeau, Wis., four bass, 9-9, $285
10th: Hertz Skaer, Holmen, Wis., three bass, 9-4, $552
Skaer caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 12 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $302.
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. 20-22 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma. 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.
Major League Fishing – WE ARE Bass Fishing™