Vandalen and Bloom Tie for Win at Rescheduled Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Harris Chain of Lakes
Mar 8th, 2022 by Keith Worrall
Modified Mar 8th, 2022 at 11:01 AM
Boaters Devin Vandalen of Umatilla, Fla. (l), and Joey Bloom of Winter Springs, Fla. (r), and Strike-King co-angler Randy Paquette of Sarasota, Fla.
LEESBURG, Fla. (March 7, 2022) – Boaters Devin Vandalen of Umatilla, Florida, and Joey Bloom of Winter Springs, Florida, each caught five bass Sunday weighing 22 pounds, 7 ounces, to tie for the victory at the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Harris Chain of Lakes. The tournament, hosted by Visit Lake County, Florida, was rescheduled from Jan. 29 due to high water levels and unsafe conditions, and was the third event for the Bass Fishing League Gator Division Presented by Revital Outdoors. For their efforts, Vandalen and Bloom each earned $4,500.
“I fished shell bars on Big Harris and knew it was going to be hit or miss,” Bloom said. “I pulled up and saw a bunch of fish on my Lowrance ActiveTarget Sonar, so I threw a black and blue 13 Fishing Bubble Butt Worm and caught all of my big fish on that. I also caught a couple of keepers on a Tennessee Shad-colored Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap.
“This is my first BFL win,” Bloom continued. “I literally sat in the boat yesterday and cried. All of my family was there, and it was an amazing experience to have the people who support me there to see it. It is one of the coolest things that has ever happened in my life.”
Vandalen’s win was not the typical tournament day. He said his intention was to target bass on shell bars using a white Z-Man Evergreen ChatterBait Jack Hammer. He said he was a mile from his first spot when his lower unit malfunctioned.
“I made it to the bank and used the trolling motor to fish two miles of bank and ended up finding a shell bar and caught a small limit that went about 4 pounds,” Vandalen said.
Vandalen received a replacement boat from tournament officials and continued the competition.
“When I got the boat, I went to my other spot and I ended up culling all my fish out,” Vandalen said. “I caught my biggest fish at about 2 o’clock, and that was pretty much my day.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Devin Vandalen, Umatilla, Fla., five bass, 22-7, $4,500
1st: Joey Bloom, Winter Springs, Fla., five bass, 22-7, $4,500
3rd: Ben McCann, Bradenton, Fla., five bass, 21-15, $3,000
4th: Greg Jones, Sarasota, Fla., five bass, 20-0, $1,400
5th: Billy Jackson Jr., Ocala, Fla., five bass, 19-12, $1,200
6th: Santos Solis, Vero Beach, Fla., five bass, 19-2, $1,100
7th: Kyle Wieczorek, Nokomis, Fla., five bass, 18-4, $1,000
8th: Eric Panzironi, Longwood, Fla., five bass, 18-0, $900
9th: Mark Lundgren, Saint Cloud, Fla., five bass, 17-10, $800
10th: Tray Bozeman, Anthony, Fla., five bass, 16-7, $700
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
McCann had an 8-pound, 12-ounce largemouth that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $1,000.
Randy Paquette of Sarasota, Florida, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $3,000 Sunday after catching five bass weighing 19 pounds, 12 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: Randy Paquette, Sarasota, Fla., five bass, 19-12, $3,000
2nd: Greg Fox, Bonita Springs, Fla., five bass, 16-9, $1,700
3rd: James Sponaugle, Auburndale, Fla., five bass, 16-2, $1,000
4th: Antoni Bicy, Lehigh Acres, Fla., five bass, 15-4, $700
5th: Walter McClure, Apopka, Fla., five bass, 14-4, $1,100
6th: Davis Dimauro, Longwood, Fla., five bass, 14-3, $550
7th: Kevin Thomas, Miramar, Fla., five bass, 13-8, $500
8th: Steve England, Soddy Daisy, Tenn., five bass, 13-6, $450
9th: Paul Giove, Punta Gorda, Fla., three bass, 12-11, $400
10th: Sean Ripley, Lakeland, Fla., three bass, 12-8, $350
McClure caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 8 pounds, 12 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $500.
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. 6-8 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Lake Murray in Prosperity, South Carolina. 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.
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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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