Hudson Posts Long-Awaited Victory at Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Super Tournament on Kerr Lake

Garner Wins Strike King Co-Angler Division

HENDERSON, N.C. (Sept. 11, 2023) – Boater Derik Hudson of Concord, Virginia, caught 10 bass weighing 31 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Kerr Lake in Henderson, North Carolina. The tournament was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division. Hudson earned $7,017 for his victory.

“I got to practice Friday, but I didn’t find anything that was really awesome,” said Hudson, who has posted 22 top-10 finishes in MLF events. “I know this place fishes tough, so I felt good that I found some fish.

“On the first day, I went to a spot and caught three fish, one of which was a 3½-pound spotted bass,” Hudson added. “I was headed up the lake and saw fish bust in front of me. I felt the Lord was leading me there, so I turned around and caught just about all of my 16 pounds the first day on that spot – a spot I had never fished before.”

Hudson said he returned to the same spot on the second day of competition, but it produced no bass. He didn’t panic; he relied on his faith to keep him calm. His next spot produced the 15 pounds he weighed Sunday.

Hudson said he fished mid-lake – from the dam to just above Rudd’s Creek Recreation area – and targeted bass with a Missile Baits Magic Worm in the Missile Morning color on a drop-shot rig. A Heddon Zara Spook and soft jerkbaits were also key baits for Hudson.

“Anything is possible on Kerr Lake, but when I culled my last bass, I knew someone would have to really catch them to beat me,” Hudson said. “If I finished second, third or fourth, I could not have complained about this tournament. I had a phenomenal two days of fishing.

“I’ve heard so many stories of ‘when it’s your time it’s your time,’” Hudson added. “The Lord provided. To fish 100 tournaments with MLF and then win the 101st … to finally get that win … wow. It’s amazing.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st:          Derik Hudson, Concord, Va., 10 bass, 31-10, $7,017
2nd:        Brandon Gray, Bullock, N.C., 10 bass, 26-15, $2,759
3rd:        Bryan Elrod, Mechanicsville, Va., 10 bass, 26-7, $1,839
4th:         Tommy Jones, Salisbury, N.C., 10 bass, 26-4, $1,287
5th:         Tyler Trent, Nathalie, Va., 10 bass, 26-3, $1,603 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
6th:         Michael Birr, Franklinton, N.C., 10 bass, 26-0, $1,012
7th:         Chad Poteat, Mount Airy, N.C., 10 bass, 25-10, $1,500
8th:         Tyler Purcell, Townsville, N.C., 10 bass, 23-12, $828
9th:         Richard Hodges, Jr., Camden, N.C., eight bass, 23-11, $736
10th:      Logan Odum, Lumberton, N.C., nine bass, 21-13, $644
Complete results can be found at

Steven Lahr of Port Charlotte, Florida, had a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $720.

Dan Garner of Littleton, North Carolina, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,759 Sunday after catching a two-day total of eight bass weighing 20 pounds, 15 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:

1st:          Dan Garner, Littleton, N.C., eight bass, 20-15, $2,759
2nd:        Dustin Riddle, Hiwassee, Va., nine bass, 19-8, $1,379
3rd:        Robert Wedding, Welcome, Md., six bass, 17-0, $1,469
4th:         Tim Privette Jr., Wendell, N.C., six bass, 15-7, $644
5th:         Cornell Badra, Clarksburg, Md., five bass, 13-2, $552
6th:         Wes House, Knightdale, N.C., six bass, 12-13, $506
7th:         Tony Toombs, Drakes Branch, Va., six bass, 12-11, $460
8th:         Craig Ferguson, Emporia, Va., six bass, 11-10, $414
9th:         Kristofer Goin, Farmville, Va., six bass, 11-5, $368
10th:      Bud Amend, Pleasant Garden, N.C., five bass, 10-10, $322
Terrell Mann of Oxford, North Carolina, caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 5 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $360.

With the regular season now complete, boater Evan White of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, won the 2023 Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,328 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Robert Wedding of Welcome, Maryland, won the 2023 Strike King Co-Angler Piedmont Division AOY race with 1,333 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 the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. 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 Invitationals 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 For regular Bass Fishing League updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.