Dice Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Smith Mountain Lake

Grottoe’s Melendez Wins Co-angler Division

HUDDLESTON, Va. (March 16, 2020) – Boater Jack Dice of Lynchburg, Virginia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 22 pounds even to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Smith Mountain Lake in Huddleston, Virginia. For his victory, Dice earned a total of $5,246.

A person wearing a hat

Description automatically generatedThe tournament was the first of five events in the Shenandoah Division presented by A.R.E. Truck Caps.

“I started my day in the upper lake in the Roanoke River arm, near the bridge, but I was really just killing time until later in the afternoon when the sun was going to warm up the lake,” said Dice, who earned his first career victory in FLW competition. “My best area was actually in Craddock Creek, and I ran there for the second half of the day and caught most of my fish there.”

Dice said that the key to his victory was fishing in north-facing pockets. He said the sun had been warming those pockets faster than the rest of the lake and it had the fish pulling up shallow.

“Where the water was warmest was important, but another key factor was timing,” Dice said. “I’d been out practicing the last two days and the day before the event I didn’t have a keeper until 12:30. I figured that any fish that I caught earlier in the day was a bonus.”

Dice targeted laydowns and floating docks with a wacky-rigged 5-inch Yamamoto Senko (green-pumpkin) and a 6-inch Megabass Magdraft swimbait.

“I fished so hard, I’m exhausted,” Dice went on to say. “I’ve wanted to win a tournament so badly. I’ve won the Angler of the Year (AOY) title a few times, but I’ve never won a single tournament before. It feels awesome to finally get one.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament as follows:

1st: Jack Dice of Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 22-0, $5,246

2nd: Cavin Young of Prince George, Va., five bass, 20-1, $2,623

3rd: Steve Colgin of Lanexa, Va., five bass, 18-15, $2,452

4th: Frank Ippoliti of Mercersburg, Pa., five bass, 18-13, $1,177

5th: Thomas Wooten of Huddleston, Va., five bass, 18-8, $1,009

6th: Justin Hicks of Roanoke, Va., five bass, 18-7, $925

7th: Chad Pilson of Bassett, Va., five bass, 17-9, $1,341

8th: Wayne Dorman of Louisa, Va., five bass, 17-4, $757

9th: Kevin Chandler of New London, N.C., five bass, 16-14, $673

10th: Peter Yanni of Gaithersburg, Md., five bass, 16-9, $589

Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.

Colgin also earned the day’s $770 Boater Big Bass award with his largest fish, a 7-pound bass.

Pilson took home an extra $500 as the highest finishing FLW PHOENIX BONUS member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

Costas Melendez of Grottoes, Virginia, earned the win in the Co-angler Division Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 2 ounces. Melendez earned $2,523 for his victory.

The top 10 co-anglers finished as follows:

1st: Costas Melendez of Grottoes, Va., five bass, 16-2, $2,523

2nd: David Mills of Moneta, Va., five bass, 14-2, $1,262

3rd: Matthew Noraas of Pamplin, Va., five bass, 14-1, $841

4th: Victor Auriemma of Baltimore, Md., five bass, 13-11, $589

5th: Brian Byrd of Roanoke, Va., three bass, 13-4, $505

6th: Scott Howard of Bedford, Va., five bass, 12-10, $463

7th: Timothy Kinder of Manassas, Va., five bass, 12-7, $571

8th: Pat Kendrick of Bumpass, Va., four bass, 12-1, $378

9th: Eric Gifford of Colonial Beach, Va., three bass, 11-12, $721

10th: Ricky Grant of Callands, Va., five bass, 10-4, $294

Gifford caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 6 pounds, 4 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $385.

The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the Shenandoah Division presented by A.R.E. based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 8-10 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on the James River in Richmond, Virginia, hosted by Richmond Region Tourism. Boaters will compete for a $60,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new 18-foot Phoenix bass boat with a 200-horsepower outboard.

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, 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 April 30 through May 2 at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina and is hosted by Visit Anderson. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division earn priority entry into the FLW Series, the pathway to the FLW Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour, where top pros compete with no entry fees.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.