Heck Wins Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Super Tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Smith Claims Strike King Co-Angler Division

BROOKELAND, Texas (Aug. 28, 2023) – Boater Hayden Heck of Lufkin, Texas, caught six bass weighing 36 pounds, 4 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas. The tournament, which was fished with a three-bass daily limit, was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Cowboy Division. Heck earned $14,704 for his victory, including the lucrative $7,000 Phoenix MLF contingency bonus.

“We started off each day looking for fish and fishing brushpiles,” Heck said. “We caught some on a big worm and a jig, and others came on a Double Z Custom Lures Swayback Swimmer, which is a small 4-inch swimbait we were using for suspended fish just hanging around.

“We spent a lot of time just scoping around trying to pick off single fish,” Heck added. “We were looking in 20 to 25 feet of water since the surface temperature is ridiculous right now.”

Heck said his fishing was better Saturday – he caught more fish and they bit better – while Sunday was tougher. Heck said he didn’t catch any quality fish after 10 a.m. He said he could see good fish, but they kept their mouths shut.

“It was a good tournament, and I can’t complain,” Heck said. “I had 15 pounds or so by mid-morning Sunday, and I really thought it would take a total weight of 30 to 32 pounds to win. I got a little lucky and got a few bigger fish to bring that weight up.

“This is the second BFL I’ve ever fished, and it feels really good to win one of the two-day ones,” Heck added. “I fished my first one in January. I’ve been out of town for almost two months, but I got back and had a little time to look around, saw some good fish, and decided to jump in the tournament. So, this is awesome.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st:          Hayden Heck, Lufkin, Texas, six bass, 36-4, $14,704 (includes $7,000 Phoenix MLF5 Contingency Bonus)
2nd:        Zane Parker, Kingwood, Texas, six bass, 31-0, $3,352
3rd:        Derek Mundy, Broaddus, Texas, six bass, 28-2, $2,233
4th:         Wesley Baxley, Cypress, Texas, six bass, 26-1, $1,564
5th:         Hank Harrison, Nacogdoches, Texas, six bass, 23-2, $1,341
6th:         Tommy Loving, Cypress, Texas, six bass, 22-0, $1,229
7th:         Thomas McMillan, Choudrant, La., six bass, 21-7, $1,117
8th:         Kevin Lasyone, Dry Prong, La., six bass, 20-14, $1,006
9th:         John Ellender, Lake Charles, La., six bass, 20-5, $894
10th:      Colby Bryant, Houston, Texas, six bass, 20-5, $782
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.Tater Reynolds of Florien, Louisiana, had a bass that weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $975.

Jacob Smith of McKinney, Texas, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $3,839 Sunday after catching a two-day total of six bass weighing 23 pounds, 13 ounces.The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:

1st:          Jacob Smith, McKinney, Texas, six bass, 23-13, $3,839
2nd:        Gary Lachance, Austin, Texas, five bass, 17-12, $1,676
3rd:        Jesse Rawls, Lorena, Texas, six bass, 17-5, $1,117
4th:         Michael Mooney, Diana, Texas, six bass, 16-13, $782
5th:         William Hadraba, Willow Springs, Ill., six bass, 16-1, $670
6th:         Stephen Crumpler II, Bloomburg, Texas, six bass, 15-2, $615
7th:         Zach Moran, Waco, Texas, six bass, 15-0, $559
8th:         David Laine, Bryan, Texas, five bass, 14-3, $503
9th:         Nick Stanislaus, Porter, Texas, six bass, 13-15, $647
10th:      Ben Faucheaux, Natchitoches, La., six bass, 13-14, $391
Smith also caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $487.With the regular season now complete, boater Tater Reynolds of Florien, Louisiana, won the 2023 Bass Fishing League Cowboy Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,324 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. J.J. Matzke of League City, Texas, won the 2023 Strike King Co-Angler Cowboy Division AOY race with 1,320 points and earned the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.

Now, the top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the division based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will advance to compete in the Oct. 5-7 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Oklahoma. Boaters will fish 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 compete for a top award of $50,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The 2023 Phoenix BFL Presented by T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 events throughout the season, five qualifying tournaments in each division. The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five qualifying event winners, will advance to one of six BFL 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 BFL All-American.

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 2023 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, General Tire, Grundéns, Gill, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Mystik Lubricants, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.

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.