John Barnett of Huntsville finished as the top boater of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) presented by T-H Marine event last Saturday at Indian Lake in Lakeview.
The Lima area bass angler fished near Long Island on the north side of the lake to earn his first career FLW victory. He caught a five-bass limit that weighed 13 pounds.
“I was punching a mixture of grass – a lot of coon tails – keying in on patches that had deeper water around it. I got most of my good bites around 3½- to 4-foot-deep, which on this lake is relatively deep,” he said in a FLW press release.
Barnett used both beaver- and craw-type baits with ¾- and 1¼-ounce weights, cycling through different setups to see what the bass wanted.
“I found those fish two weeks ago and pretty much just expanded on my area,” Barnett went on to say. “I had a set game plan of what I wanted to do in this tournament, and everything worked out for me,” he said.
Six other boaters placed among the top 50 in that category.
Kyle Weisenburger of Columbus Grove tied for 15th with a five-bass limit that weighed 9 pounds, 12 ounces.
Cody Seeger of Lakeview and Jay Ellis of Celina tied for 17th. They each had a limit that weighed 9 pounds, 10 ounces. Craig Burwell of North Baltimore was 38th with a weight of 7 pounds, 15 ounces while Jay Jeffries of Celina was 43rd with a weight of 7 pounds, 10 ounces. Brandon Good of Fort Jennings was tied for 50th with a weight of 7 pounds, 6 ounces. All three caught limits.
Co–angler Joel Berelsman of Minster finished sixth in that category. He caught a limit of five bass that weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces. Bryan Hofsteter of Lewistown was 39th. He caught two bass that weighed 5 pounds, 2 ounces.
The Indian Lake event was the first of five tourneys to be held in the Buckeye Division. The next tourney is scheduled for July 11 on the Ohio River out of Tanner’s Creek in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers with 128 tournaments throughout the season. It has five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments 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 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American will be held Nov. 11-13 at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina.
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Weisenburger, who also competes on the FLW Warehouse Tackle circuit, can hardly wait to get back on that tour. The last tourney on that circuit was held in late March at Lake Martin in Alexander City, Alabama.
The revamped tourney schedule has the next event slated for June 23 on Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee.
“I can’t wait to get back at it,” Weisenburger said. “I am excited to get the tour going again, and I’ll get my three practice days prior to the event. I have been building some baits and gearing up for what I expect to be doing.”
The Lima area bass angler is competing this weekend in the West Virginia Bass Festival on the Ohio River in St. Marys. The tourney begins with a full field and cut to 30 for Sunday.
“I feel like my game is very sharp right now and just want to keep the momentum rolling. I’ve been fishing a lot lately in evening tournaments and local weekend events leading up to BFL (which began last Saturday on Indian Lake).
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A famous lure designer and a pair of former Bassmaster Classic champions are among five people who will be inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in November.
James Heddon, a lure maker known for the Zara Spook (“walking the dog”) and Lucky 13, will be inducted along with Bassmaster Classic winners Jay Yelas and the late Bryan Kerchal. Also being inducted are Steve Bowman, a noted figure in bass fishing media and the professional fishing scene, and fishing educator Ron Lindner.
The induction ceremonies at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield on Sept. 24.
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL