CULLMAN, Ala. (Oct. 24, 2022) – Boater Jesse Wiggins of Addison, Alabama, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 42 pounds, 5 ounces, to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Regional Event on Lewis Smith Lake in Cullman, Alabama. For his victory, Wiggins earned $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000. Wiggins also received automatic entry into the 2023 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, May 31-June 2, at Lake Hartwell in Seneca, South Carolina.
“The first day I caught a couple of quick keepers and then started running some history – spots I’d caught them on this time of year – and I was able to catch a couple more good ones, and then a 4½-pounder near the end of the day.
“Going into Day 2, I was about two pounds behind my brother, who was leading, and I knew I was going to have to get a couple of big bites to get a good bag,” Wiggins added. “I caught a couple of key keepers right off the bat running the same stuff I did before.”
Wiggins said he pulled four big bites from the same area that were key to his second day and gave him momentum and a one-pound lead going into the final day of competition. He felt like he needed 13 pounds to have a chance at the win. He started the final day the same way in the same spots he had started the previous two days; the spot produced two nice keepers. Wiggins said his morning fish came on a 2.8 Jackall Rhythm Wave swimbait and a small Keitech swimbait on a ¼-ounce Owner jighead. Later in the day, his fish came on a squarebill crankbait and a vibrating jig.
“I was happy with that start,” Wiggins said. “I didn’t catch a bunch of fish; it was nothing special. It was just a grindfest for me. I can catch a bunch of fish this time of year, but I was really focusing on quality.
“This was my first time fishing a whole slate of a division of BFLs, and I did it because the Regional was on my home lake here at Lewis Smith,” Wiggins added. “This time of year, it can fish real tough and that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to be in it. A lot of times when it’s tough, you can have an advantage.”
The top six boaters that qualified for the 2023 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American were:
1st: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., 15 bass, 42-5, $60,000
2nd: Emil Wagner, Marietta, Ga., 15 bass, 42-3, $12,700 (including $500 Phoenix MLF contingency
3rd: Jack Daniel Williams, Kingsport, Tenn., 15 bass, 40-8, $6,000
4th: Tristan Abbott, Somerset, Ky., 15 bass, 37-0, $4,000
5th: Joe Anders, Easley, S.C., 15 bass, 33-11, $2,000
6th: Grant Adams, Campbellsville, Ky., 15 bass, 33-0, $1,800
Rounding out the top 10 boaters were:
7th: Jimmy Neece Jr., Bristol, Tenn., 15 bass, 32-12, $1,600
8th: Isaac Peavyhouse, Jamestown, Tenn., 15 bass, 32-7, $1,400
9th: Jayme Rampey, Liberty, S.C., 15 bass, 31-10, $1,200
10th: Ryan Davidson, Branchland, W.V., 15 bass, 30-11, $1,400
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.