Wetumpka’s Rutland Takes Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event Title on the Alabama River
May 10th, 2022 by Keith Worrall
Modified May 10th, 2022 at 10:10 AM
Boater Chris Rutland of Wetumpka, Alabama, and Strike-King co-angler Kane Harper of Ranburne, Alabama.
Ranburne’s Harper Wins Strike King Co-Angler Division
PRATTVILLE, Ala. (May 9, 2022) – Boater Chris Rutland of Wetumpka, Alabama, caught five bass Saturday weighing 17 pounds even to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on the Alabama River. The tournament was the third event for the Bass Fishing League Bama Division. Rutland earned $4,825 for his victory.
“I caught nothing at the first three or four stops that I made,” Rutland said. “Finally I caught a little fish mid-morning, then another little one, and then just totally abandoned my game plan.
“I owe my co-angler a lot of credit for the change,” Rutland added. “I was fishing pretty quick-moving baits, and he was dragging, and he had a limit before I had even caught a fish.”
Rutland said he changed to a Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog and caught “seven or eight” fish – including a 6-pound Berkley Big Bass and two that weighed 3½ pounds – from 11:30 to 12:30. Rutland said he pitched the frog, paired with a 3/8-ounce weight, into wood that was in shade.
“Those bass were very aggressive with the frog,” Rutland said. “You threw in there and picked it up, and they’d be leaving with it. They were either there immediately or not at all.”
Rutland said he considers the Alabama River and nearby Lake Jordan his home waters.
“I’ve been fishing the Alabama River for years, and I’ve had a lot of success here over the years,” Rutland said. “So it feels really good to win this tournament here.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Chris Rutland, Wetumpka, Ala., five bass, 17-0, $4,825
2nd: Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., five bass, 16-1, $2,418
3rd: Scott Wiley Jr., Bay Minette, Ala., five bass, 14-7, $1,413
4th: Taylor Luna, Millbrook, Ala., five bass, 14-5, $988
5th: Robbie Robinson, Mobile, Ala., five bass, 13-14, $847
6th: Dennis Perrigo, Rienzi, Miss., five bass, 12-12, $1,176
7th: Conner Neal, Hoover, Ala., five bass, 12-9, $670
7th: Joseph Lamar, Deatsville, Ala., five bass, 12-9, $670
9th: Lamar Landreth Jr., Smiths Station, Ala., five bass, 11-14, $1,065 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
10th: Kyle Dorsett, Springville, Ala., five bass, 11-13, $494
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Rutland’s largemouth that weighed 6 pounds even was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and also earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $590.
Kane Harper of Ranburne, Alabama, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,118 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 12 pounds, 3 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: Kane Harper, Ranburne, Ala., five bass, 12-3, $2,118
2nd: Brannon Jones, Montgomery, Ala., five bass, 11-12, $1,059
3rd: Daniel Corkern, Florence, Miss., five bass, 11-9, $856
4th: William Chadick, Auburn, Ala., five bass, 11-4, $494
5th: Anthony Davis, McCalla, Ala., five bass, 10-15, $719
6th: Edward Kennedy, Wetumpka, Ala., five bass, 10-9, $388
7th: Chris Harcrow, Dawson, Ala., four bass, 10-5, $453
8th: Larry Harvey, Montgomery, Ala., five bass, 10-1, $318
9th: Mike Langdale, Sycamore, Ga., five bass, 9-11, $282
10th: Caleb Whitehurst, Andalusia, Ala., five bass, 9-7, $247
Davis caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 6 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $295.
After three events, Robbie Robinson of Mobile, Alabama, leads the Bass Fishing League Bama Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 722 points, while Mike Langdale of Sycamore, Georgia, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 729 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. 13-15 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Pickwick Lake 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.
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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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