Tingen ‘Glides’ to Win at Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League Super Tournament on Lake Keowee

Backman Claims Victory in Strike King Co-Angler Division

SENECA, S.C. (Aug. 14, 2022) – Boater Justin Tingen of Moore, South Carolina, weighed in six bass over two days totaling 21 pounds, 2 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Super Tournament Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Keowee in Seneca, South Carolina. The tournament, hosted by Visit Oconee, was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Savannah River Division. Tingen earned $4,943 for his victory.

“On Friday I started out fishing a buzzbait and a frog, and within 30 minutes I had a 3½-pounder blow my buzzbait out of the water,” said Tingen, who notched his second career BFL win – both two-day Super Tournaments. “I jerked it a little too quickly and missed him. Usually, when they do that, they don’t come back and eat it again. So, I reeled up as quickly as I could, fired the frog out there, and he ate it that time. That was a good number one fish to help settle me down.”

Tingen said he followed that fish with a few 1½- to 2-pounders, but knew that wasn’t going to help him win, so at 2 p.m. he approached a bream bed he had found the prior week. He threw a worm and a frog on the bed and attracted interest from bass, but no bites.

“Then I made the best decision that I made all weekend, and it won me the tournament,” Tingen said. “I told my co-angler, ‘When fish won’t eat anything, they’ll eat a glide bait.’ So I reached in my rod box, grabbed the glide bait, made a perfect cast up underneath a walkway on a dock and I see a 4-13 coming out from underneath the dock. It came up and just annihilated the glide bait.”

Tingen’s baits included a bream-colored finesse buzzbait, a black Zoom Horny Toad a gizzard shad-colored SPRO KGB Chad Shad 180 Glide Bait, and he ended the first day of competition in fifth place. He said he knew he needed to change up his approach, so he made a plan to run new water in the mid-lake area on Day 2.

Tingen’s plan for Saturday didn’t start out like he hoped, and he had only one 3-pound spotted bass and two “little rats” at 11 a.m. He went into a pocket he had never been in, saw a bream bed and found a large bass. He cast a worm, the fish bit, and Tingen set the hook on nothing. The fish moved away, and Tingen threw a Zoom Horny Toad at it. The fish swam away again. He then tried the glide bait, threw it right to the fish, twitched it a few times, and the bass bit.

“That was the game-winning decision,” Tingen said. “The glide bait did it when nothing else would work.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st:        Justin Tingen, Moore, S.C., six bass, 21-2, $4,943
2nd:       Bo Price, Seneca, S.C., six bass, 20-5, $2,471
3rd:       Brandon Addis, Seneca, S.C., six bass, 19-11, $1,648
4th:        Lane Clark, Anderson, S.C., six bass, 19-6, $1,153
5th:        Roger Gosnell, Inman, S.C., six bass, 18-14, $989
6th:        Sean Clayton, Seneca, S.C., six bass, 18-11, $906
7th:        Tyler Thompson, Liberty, S.C., six bass, 18-4, $1,124
8th:        Brent Willey, Anderson, S.C., six bass, 18-0, $1,241 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF5 contingency bonus)
9th:        Joe Anders, Easley, S.C., six bass, 17-9, $909
10th:     Tim Watson, Martin, Ga., six bass, 17-8, $577

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Matthew O’Connell of Brooks, Georgia, caught a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 3 ounces that was the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $607.

Stacy Backman of Walhalla, South Carolina, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,441 Sunday after catching a two-day total of six bass weighing 14 pounds, 10 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:

1st:        Stacy Backman, Walhalla, S.C., six bass, 14-10, $2,441
2nd:       Chris Lind, Anderson, S.C., six bass, 14-10, $1,220
3rd:       Logan Brown, Fletcher, N.C., five bass, 14-5, $1,514
4th:        Nicholas Gurkin, Simpsonville, S.C., six bass, 13-3, $570
5th:        Johnny Hancox, West Union, S.C., six bass, 12-14, $488
6th:        Harold Addison II, Columbia, S.C., six bass, 11-7, $597
7th:        Chris Wilson, Easley, S.C., six bass, 10-10, $407
8th:        Corey Veal, Royston, Ga., five bass, 10-9, $366
9th:        Mark Garrett, Walhalla, S.C., five bass, 10-4, $325
10th:     Robert Thomas, Travelers Rest, S.C., six bass, 10-4, $285

Logan Brown of Fletcher, North Carolina, caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 13 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $300.

With the regular season now complete, boater Paul Marks of Cumming, Georgia, won the 2023 Bass Fishing League Savannah River Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,346 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. William Bensel of Abbeville, South Carolina, won the 2023 Strike King Co-Angler Savannah River Division AOY race with 1,287 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. 12-14 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama. 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 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 Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six Regional Championships 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 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 MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular Bass Fishing League updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.