Winston-Salem’s Whicker Posts Second Career Win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event at High Rock Lake

Riddle, of Hiwassee, Virginia, Wins Strike King Co-Angler Division

LEXINGTON, N.C. (June 10, 2024) – Boater Ladd Whicker of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, caught a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 3 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on High Rock Lake . The tournament was the third event of the season for the BFL Piedmont Division. Whicker earned $9,089, including the lucrative $5,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, for his victory.

Whicker was able to secure the win at High Rock by making a key move mid-morning.

“I caught the fish offshore,” he said. “I thought we were going to fish shallow. And that’s how I’d gotten most of the bites (in practice). This morning (Saturday) I didn’t get many bites that way so I went and fished offshore. It very fortunately worked out. There’s really not a lot of fish out in the lake right now. There are more fish shallow than deep, but the right size is out there and that’s what worked out.”

Whicker gave the shallow bite a couple hours in the morning. Thankfully, he’d practiced offshore too, and he has many years of experience on the lake. So he had some spots to fall back on during the tournament. Plus, he found a couple new spots. Once he made the adjustment to fish out, Whicker kept it simple.

“I caught ’em on plastics – a Texas rig and shaky head. Normal stuff,” Whicker added.

“I think most people were fishing shallow, so there weren’t that many people fishing out,” he added. “That left everything pretty open. That probably had as much to do with me being able to catch them as anything.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:        Ladd Whicker, Winston-Salem, N.C., five bass, 21-3, $9,089 (includes $5,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
2nd:       Jake Frye, Charlotte, N.C., five bass, 19-12, $1,644
3rd:       Jonathan Bailey, Peterstown, W.Va., five bass, 17-12, $1,097
4th:        Conrad Manuel, Pilot Mountain, N.C., five bass, 17-0, $767
5th:        Kevin Chandler, New London, N.C., five bass, 15-15, $658
6th:        Ben Robertson, Walnut Cove, N.C., five bass, 15-14, $603
7th:        Keith Roberts, Hurt, Va., four bass, 15-13, $548
8th:        Ron Rousseau, Raleigh, N.C., five bass, 15-9, $465
8th:        Chris Brummett, Lynch Station, Va., four bass, 15-9, $465
10th:     Harrison McCall, Salisbury, N.C., five bass, 15-8, $384

Complete results can be found at

Mitch Drew of Gold Hill, North Carolina, caught a bass that weighed 7 pounds and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $395.

Dustin Riddle of Hiwassee, Virginia, won the Strike King co-angler division and $1,578 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 14 pounds, 6 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:        Dustin Riddle, Hiwassee, Va., five bass, 14-6, $1,578
2nd:       Alex Moss, Lambsburg, Va., five bass, 12-5, $889
3rd:       Randall Gardner, Salisbury, N.C., five bass, 11-8, $526
4th:        Les Tate, China Grove, N.C., four bass, 11-5, $368
5th:        Jonathan Lowe, Lexington, N.C., three bass, 10-11, $501
6th:        Trent McBride, Galax, Va., four bass, 10-8, $289
7th:        Jeff Rikard, Leesville, S.C., four bass, 9-7, $413
8th:        Travis Owens, Hurt, Va., three bass, 9-2, $237
9th:        Mekye Barnes, Knightdale, N.C., two bass, 8-15, $210
10th:     Bryson Giles, Bedford, Va., four bass, 8-8, $184

Jonathan Lowe of Lexington, North Carolina, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $185, catching a bass that weighed in at 6 pounds, 4 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After three events, Adam Lester of Huddleston, Virginia, leads the Fishing Clash Piedmont Division Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 713 points, while Dustin Riddle of Hiwassee, Virginia, leads the Fishing Clash Piedmont Division Co-Angler of the Year race with 733 points.

The next event for BFL Piedmont Division anglers will be held Aug. 3, at the James River in Henrico, Virginia. To register for the event as a boater or a co-angler, visit 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. 17-19 BFL Regional tournament on Clarks Hill Lake in Appling, Georgia. 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, REDCON1, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, WIX Filters 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 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.