Ten Mile’s Matt Becker Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event at Dale Hollow Lake

Kentucky’s Carey Tops Strike King Co-Angler Division

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. (March 2, 2024) – Boater Matt Becker of Ten Mile, Tennessee, caught a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 12 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Dale Hollow Lake . Hosted by Star Point Marina and Resort in Byrdstown, Tennessee, the tournament was the first event of the season for the BFL Mountain Division. Becker earned $11,610, including the lucrative $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, for his victory.

Becker is fresh off a top-10 finish at the MLF Bass Pro Tour Suzuki Stage Two Presented by Fenwick on Santee Cooper Lakes. Back home in Tennessee, he had plans to pre-practice for April’s Bass Pro Tour Stage Three on Dale Hollow, and realized he could combine pre-practice with a shot at a BFL win on one of his favorite “fun-fishing” lakes.

Becker caught his winning fish using a Damiki rig with a 3-inch Yamamoto Scope Shad in his signature Becker’s grape juice color. He rigged it on a 3/8-ounce Queen Tackle L.S. Tungsten Jig Head, and he tied it to an 8-pound-test leader of Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon connected to 15-pound-test braided main line. His go-to rod was a 6-foot, 10-inch, medium Favorite Hex spinning model.

According to Becker, who is the reigning Bally Bet Angler of the Year on the Bass Pro Tour, the farther he could stay off the fish, the better. Becker used Garmin LiveScope to spot and accurately target his bass. He caught a quick limit, then experienced a lull for several hours, before culling out most of his keepers with bigger fish in the afternoon. Most of his fish came in the mouths of creeks, where they’re staging prior to spawning.

“The main thing was just batifish,” Becker said about his winning program. “Just looking for where the population of bait was at.

“I worked pretty much from the takeoff to the dam and back, bouncing around in the morning until I settled down in the mid-lake region for the afternoon.”

As for his next Dale Hollow tournament, Becker is excited about the potential for a Bass Pro Tour smallmouth slugfest. In the BFL, anglers could keep only one smallmouth bass under 16 inches and one smallmouth bass over 21 inches. That made it primarily a largemouth bass tournament. When the Bass Pro Tour comes to town in April, anglers will be able to record any scorable bass of at least 2 pounds – including smallmouths – thanks to the catch-weigh-release format.

“It has the potential to set records for the most weighed in a day, and it’s going to really get to showcase the lake,” Becker said.

The top 12 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:        Matt Becker, Ten Mile, Tenn., five bass, 22-12, $11,610 (includes $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
2nd:       Jacob Woods, Loudon, Tenn., five bass, 22-8, $2,305
3rd:       Michael Morrison, Stamping Ground, Ky., five bass, 22-3, $1,661
4th:        Evan Fields, Shelbyville, Ky., five bass, 21-10, $1,076
5th:        Lee Sinclair, Albany, Ky., five bass, 21-7, $922
6th:        Tanner Rich, Byrdstown, Tenn., five bass, 21-3, $845
7th:        Gavin Cloutier, Jonesboro, Tenn., five bass, 20-15, $768
8th:        Blake Smith, Byrdstown, Tenn., five bass, 20-4, $691
9th:        Ryan Lachniet, Gum Spring, Va., five bass, 20-2, $615
10th:     Wyatt Pearman, Hodgenville, Ky., five bass, 19-10, $489
10th:     Bailey Gay, Union, Ky., five bass, 19-10, $489
10th:     Chris Halfacre, Cookeville, Tenn., five bass, 19-10, $489

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Grant Adams of Campbellsville, Kentucky, caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $670.

David Carey of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,305 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 15 pounds, 3 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:        David Carey, Harrodsburg, Ky., five bass, 15-3, $2,305
2nd:       Corbin Ward, Glasgow, Ky., five bass, 15-2, $1,152
3rd:       Dan Basham, Taylorsville, Ky., five bass, 12-3, $768
4th:        Barry King, Liberty, Ky., four bass, 11-1, $538
5th:        Elijah Adkins, Monticello, Ky., four bass, 10-2, $461
6th:        Jerry Hogue, Danville, Ky., five bass, 9-13, $423
7th:        Nathan Nester, Cookeville, Tenn., three bass, 8-15, $384
8th:        Joshua Cloutier, Hilham, Tenn., three bass, 8-13, $346
9th:        Nathan Kallstrand, Naperville, Ill., three bass, 7-14, $307
10th:     Gabriel Fishlock, Cincinnati, Ohio, two bass, 7-10, $269

Robbie Mattingly of Junction City, Kentucky, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $335, catching a bass that weighed in at 4 pounds, 15 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

The next event for BFL Mountain Division anglers will be held March 23, at Dale Hollow Lake in Byrdstown, Tennessee. To register for the event as a boater or a co-angler, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com or call (270)-252-1000.

The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five tournament winners of each qualifying event, will qualify for the Oct. 3-5 BFL Regional tournament on Pickwick Lake in Counce, Tennessee. Boaters will fish for a top award of $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Suzuki 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 or Suzuki outboard.

The 2024 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.

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, Fishing Clash, General Tire, GSM Outdoors, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota 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 FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

About Major League Fishing
Major League Fishing (MLF) is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, producing more than 250 events annually at some of the most prestigious fisheries in the world, while broadcasting to America’s living rooms on CBS, Discovery Channel, Outdoor Channel, CBS Sports Network, World Fishing Network and on demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, the MLF roster of bass anglers includes the world’s top pros and more than 30,000 competitors in all 50 states and 17 countries. Since its founding in 2011, MLF has advanced the sport of competitive fishing through its premier television broadcasts and livestreams and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for bass through research, education, fisheries enhancement and fish care.