Chester’s Casey earns victory at Phoenix BFL Regional Tournament on the James River


Cody Casey of Chester, Virginia, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 39 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the Phoenix BFL Regional Tournament on the James RiverCody Casey of Chester, Virginia, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 39 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the Phoenix BFL Regional Tournament on the James River
Cody Casey of Chester, Virginia, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 39 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the Phoenix BFL Regional Tournament on the James River

RICHMOND, Va. – Boater Cody Casey of Chester, Virginia, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 39 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Regional Tournament on the James River in Richmond, Virginia. For his victory, Casey earned $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000. Casey also receives an automatic entry into the 2023 Phoenix BFL All-American Championship, May 31 through June 2, at Lake Hartwell in Seneca, South Carolina.

“There was a shad spawn going on, but there was so much bait in the water, the bass weren’t biting a crankbait like they usually do this time of year,” Casey said. “I throw a drop-shot year round, and I had flipped a drop-shot around during practice and was getting bit, so I figured it would be my key bait.”

Casey said he started his days by fishing wood in creeks while the tide was low, then fished current breaks and jetties with the drop-shot rig, as well as an Evergreen Flat Force 4 crankbait. Casey said he also stopped at riprap banks on his way back to Richmond every day. Casey said his efforts paid off with 30 keepers the first day and 10 on the second day of the tournament.

“I had 30 minutes to go on the last day and caught one close to 5 pounds,” Casey said. “I thought in my head that I had a good shot at winning then. And then at my last spot I caught another keeper that culled me up. At that point, I knew I had a real chance, and I couldn’t keep my emotions in check.

“I’ve fished my whole life and never accomplished something this big,” Casey said. “I’m still just messed up about it. I haven’t slept the last four days.”

The top six boaters that qualified for the 2023 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American were:

1st: Cody Casey, Chester, Va., 15 bass, 39-10, $60,000
2nd: Brian Laclair, Denton, Md., 15 bass, 36-10, $12,200
3rd: Chris Baldwin, Lexington, N.C., 15 bass, 36-5, $6,300
4th: Keith Estes, Spring Grove, Va., 15 bass, 35-14, $4,200
5th: Chris Atwell, Mechanicsville, Va., 15 bass, 34-5, $2,500 (including $500 Phoenix MLF contingency bonus)
6th: Michael Downes, South Chesterfield, Va., 15 bass, 34-4, $1,800
Rounding out the top 10 boaters were:

7th: Chris Daves, Spring Grove, Va., 15 bass, 34-0, $1,600
8th: Scott Thomas, Reading, Pa., 14 bass, 33-9, $1,700
9th: Rick “Hawk” Hawkins, Roanoke, Va., 15 bass, 33-9, $1,200
10th: Logan Anderson, Catawba, N.C., 14 bass, 33-6, $1,100

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The top four boaters from each division that earned a $1,000 bonus for placing highest in the event were:

Northeast: Brian Laclair, Denton, Md., 2nd Place, $1,000
Shenandoah: Keith Estes, Spring Grove, Va., 4th Place, $1,000
Buckeye: Kyle Weisenburger, Columbus Grove, Ohio, 16th Place, $1,000
North Carolina: Chris Baldwin, Lexington, N.C., 3rd Place $1,000
Atwell took home an extra $500 as the highest finishing Phoenix MLF Bonus member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

Strike King Co-angler win goes to North Carolina’s Killian

Trent Killian of Bostic, North Carolina, weighed in 14 bass over three days totaling 27 pounds even to win the top Strike King co-angler prize package of $50,800, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The top six Strike King co-anglers that qualified for the 2023 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American were:

1st: Trent Killian, Bostic, N.C., 14 bass, 27-0, $50,800
2nd: David Deciucis, Chester, Va., 15 bass, 26-4, $5,500
3rd: Billy French, Hamilton, Ohio, 14 bass, 25-8, $3,200
4th: Brent Jones, Okeana, Ohio, 12 bass, 24-15, $1,650
5th: John Robinson, Montpelier, Va., 15 bass, 24-10, $1,500
6th: Safulla Rana, Warrenton, Va., 14 bass, 24-1, $900

Rounding out the top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:

7th: Max Meister, Atco, N.J., 13 bass, 22-5, $1,300
8th: Jesse Foster, Franklin, Ohio, nine bass, 22-2, $700
9th: Travis Waterman, Fredericksburg, Va., 13 bass, 21-13, $600
10th: David Paszkiewicz, Kearny, N.J., 11 bass, 17-10, $550

The top four Strike King Co-anglers from each division that earned a $1,000 bonus for placing highest in the event were:

Northeast: Max Meister, Atco, N.J., 7th Place, $500
Shenandoah: John Robinson, Montpelier, Va., 5th Place, $500
Buckeye: Billy French, Hamilton, Ohio, 3rd Place, $500
North Carolina: Trent Killian, Bostic, N.C., 1st Place $500

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Regional Tournament on the James River was hosted by Richmond Region Tourism. It featured the top pros and Strike King co-anglers from the Northeast, Shenandoah, Buckeye and North Carolina divisions.

The 2022 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, advanced 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 boaters and Strike King co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division will also earn priority entry into the Toyota Series, the pathway to the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals and ultimately the Bass Pro Tour.

Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, AFTCO, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Gary Yamamoto Baits, General Tire, Lew’s, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Revital Outdoors, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X, YETI and Yo-Zuri.

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.

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, the Discovery Channel, the Outdoor Channel, CBS Sports Network, the World Fishing Network, and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with offices 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 13 countries.

In 2019, MLF expanded its portfolio of catch, weigh, and immediately release events to include the sport’s strongest five-biggest-fish format tournament circuits. 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.

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