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Fleming Island "bass-man" wins in Phoenix

Release from Major League Fishing
Posted 3/14/24

LEESBURG, Fla. – Boater Ryan Crowley of Fleming Island, Florida, caught a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 8 ounces, Saturday to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine …

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Fleming Island "bass-man" wins in Phoenix


Posted

LEESBURG, Fla. – Boater Ryan Crowley of Fleming Island, Florida, caught a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 8 ounces, Saturday to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on the Harris Chain of Lakes. Hosted by Discover Lake County Florida, the tournament was the third event of the season for the BFL Gator Division. Crowley earned $4,541 for his victory.

In second place was Parker Stalvey, a second Clay County bass fisherman and former state high school champion from Clay High School, who bagged five bass for a 20-pound, 14-ounce total to earn $2,270.
Crowley, who has three top-10 finishes with total winnings of $7,186, came into the tournament with a two-part strategy: bed-fishing for spawning bass in a canal and fan-casting offshore around eelgrass and peppergrass. While pre-fishing, he located four quality bass on beds and was able to anchor his limit on tournament day with an early 8-pounder. Unfortunately, two of the other bedding bass he’d found were gone, and a 5-pounder he’d hoped to catch refused to bite.
Crowley, who works in construction, was able to catch a few small buck bass before overcast skies and dingy water made sight-fishing too challenging, which forced a move.
“From there I just went offshore and started chunking around a ChatterBait and a Speed Worm,” he said. “The water temperature was 72, so I thought maybe they’d hit a (Zara) Spook (topwater). So I threw that for a while but didn’t get any blow-ups on it. I was able to catch one right at 5 (pounds) and one right at 4 on a ChatterBait.”
Specifically, Crowley fished a 1/2-ounce Z-Man ChatterBait Jack Hammer with a Gambler Burner Worm trailer on a 7-foot, 4-inch, medium-heavy moderate 13 Fishing Muse rod. He also worked a Burner Worm or Zoom UV Speed Worm through the grass on a 7-foot, 3-inch 13 Fishing Envy rod. Both of his offshore presentations were fished with 17-pound-test Vicious fluorocarbon. While sight-fishing, Crowley used the new Rapala Crush City Cleanup Craw in green pumpkin, and fished on a 7-foot, 6-inch, medium-heavy 13 Fishing Muse rod with 20-pound-test fluorocarbon.
“It was real thick where we were,” Crowley said about his best offshore area, which was about 8 feet deep. “I was just looking for more scattered, isolated stuff where, if I wanted to slow down and fish a worm, I could without getting hung up on every cast.”
Second place went to another Clay County bass fisherman, Parker Stalvey of Green Cove Springs, who was a Clay High state champion Bass

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st: Ryan Crowley, Fleming Island, Fla., five bass, 21-8, $4,541
2nd Parker Stalvey, Green Cove Springs, Fla., five basses, 20-14, $2,270
3rd Lee Stalvey, Palatka, Fla., five bass, 20-6, $2,174
4th Danny Glisson, Auburndale, Fla., five bass, 18-14, $1,060
5th: John Viox, Hebron, Ky., five bass, 17-15, $908
6th: John Dial, Winter Haven, Fla., five bass, 17-8, $833
7th: Devin van Dalen, Grand Island, Fla., five bass, 16-7, $757
8th: Greg Harp, Vero Beach, Fla., five bass, 16-5, $681
9th: Bryan Lefefbvre, Grand Island, Fla., five bass, 16-4, $605
10th: Geoffrey Corah, Tavares, Fla., five bass, 15-14, $530

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Lee Stalvey of Palatka, Florida, caught a bass that weighed 10 pounds, 9 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $660.
Dan Weber of Palm Bay, Florida, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,270 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 15 pounds, 8 ounces.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st: Dan Weber, Palm Bay, Fla., five bass, 15-8, $2,270
2nd: Chris Heath, Miromar Lakes, Fla., five bass, 15-4, $1,465
3rd: Michael Quilatan, Windermere, Fla., five bass, 14-14, $757
4th Jordan Elmore, Saint Petersburg, Fla., five bass, 14-11, $530
5th John Hicks, Winter Garden, Fla., five bass, 14-5, $454
6th Aleksandar Rak, Jacksonville, Fla., four bass, 13-12, $416
7th David White, Winter Garden, Fla., five bass, 13-5, $378
8th Anthony Hunt, Coconut Creek, Fla., five bass, 13-4, $322
8th Jeff Stone, Jackson, Ga., five bass, 13-4, $322
10th Chris Westhelle, Sanford, Fla., five bass, 12-2, $265

Chris Heath of Miromar Lakes, Florida, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $330, catching a bass that weighed in at 9 pounds, 1 ounce – the largest co-angler catch of the day.
After three events, Tyler Sheppard of Yulee, Florida, leads the BFL Gator Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 717 points, while Evrett Hunter of St. Augustine, Florida, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 723 points.
The next event for BFL Gator Division anglers will be held on April 20, at Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida. 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. 10-12 BFL Regional tournament on Santee Cooper Lakes in Clarendon County, South Carolina. 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, and 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 on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.