Virginia’s Austin Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on South Holston Reservoir
May 3rd, 2022 by Keith Worrall
Modified May 3rd, 2022 at 9:52 AM
Boater Doug Austin of Bristol, Virginia, and Strike-King co-angler Konnor Sweet of Abingdon, Virginia.
Abingdon’s Sweet Takes Strike King Co-Angler Division
BRISTOL, Tenn. (May 2, 2022) – Boater Doug Austin of Bristol, Virginia, caught five bass Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 4 ounces, to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on South Holston Reservoir. The tournament was the second event for the Bass Fishing League Volunteer Division. Austin earned $5,024 for his victory.
“I had two or three fish I had located before the tournament that I thought I could catch, and that was my main plan – to catch them right at the start and then settle in on the bank and go from there,” Austin said. “I caught two out of the three pretty quickly, and then the rest of the day was spent just jumping from here to there, catching little ones and every now and then a good one. It was real spotty.”
Austin said he used a green-pumpkin Berkley Powerbait Power Worm on a 1/0 hook with a 1/8-ounce weight on 7-pound-test line. He said the light line was key to helping the rig get down deeper more quickly. Austin said the rig resulted in 10 or 12 fish – nine of which were keepers.
“We’d hit a bank and get a good one, and then I’d catch two or three 2-pounders,” Austin said. “The last fish I caught that I weighed I caught with 30 or 45 minutes to spare.”
Austin said he expected the winning weight to be 19 or 19½ pounds.
“When I came in, I was thinking I had a top-5 finish,” Austin said. “It was at the end of the spawn, and the weights tend to go down.”
Austin said his longtime fishing companion passed away days before the tournament, with memorial services scheduled the day of competition. His friends encouraged him to fish on.
“They told me he would want me to go ahead and fish today, and I did,” Austin said. “To win it was a special thing. When I found out I had won, I just went off and had myself a moment and cried and talked to him.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Doug Austin, Bristol, Va., five bass, 18-4, $5,024
2nd: J.R. Henard, Rogersville, Tenn., five bass, 17-1, $2,512
3rd: Tyler Altizer, Abingdon, Va., five bass, 16-10, $1,674
4th: Colton Chambers, Elizabethton, Tenn., five bass, 16-7, $1,172
5th: Jimmy Neece Jr., Bristol, Tenn., five bass, 16-4, $1,463 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
5th: Jack Daniel Williams, Kingsport, Tenn., five bass, 16-4, $963
7th: Bryan Leonard, Blountville, Tenn., five bass, 16-3, $837
8th: Clayton Winebarger, Abingdon, Va., five bass, 16-1, $754
9th: Brian Barnett, Bluff City, Tenn., five bass, 15-14, $628
9th: Brandon Stanley, Johnson City, Tenn., five bass, 15-14, $628
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Joshua Short of Bean Station, Tennessee, and Tim Smiley of White Pine, Tennessee, both caught largemouth that weighed 4 pounds, 12 ounces in the Boater Division and split the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $774.
Konnor Sweet of Abingdon, Virginia, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,419 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 15 pounds, 12 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: Konnor Sweet, Abingdon, Va., five bass, 15-12, $2,419
2nd: Ryan Lee, Pound, Va., five bass, 15-8, $1,210
3rd: Kevin King, Blountville, Tenn., five bass, 15-7, $807
4th: Stephen Brady, Woodlawn, Va., five bass, 15-5, $524
4th: Travis Malone, Wartburg, Tenn., five bass, 15-5, $524
6th: Brian Bailey, Austinville, Va., five bass, 15-2, $444
7th: Brad Barton, Middlesboro, Ky., five bass, 14-11, $403
8th: Mike Roten, Creston, N.C., five bass, 14-7, $363
9th: Joshua Rasnake, Jonesborough, Tenn., five bass, 13-14, $323
10th: Rod Grayson, Oxford, Iowa, five bass, 13-10, $282
James Reece of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 13 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $365.
After two events, J.R. Henard of Rogersville, Tennessee, leads the Bass Fishing League Volunteer Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 480 points, while Konnor Sweet of Abingdon, Virginia, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 498 points.
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 Smith Lake in Cullman, Alabama. 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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