PALATKA, Fla. – The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League continued competition Saturday at the St. John’s River in Palatka, Florida – the first time that the Gator Division has opened its season on the St. Johns River. Of the top 10 spots, local anglers took five of those places, but failed to take the top spot.
Boater Eddie Carper of Valliant, Oklahoma, caught the largest five-bass limit of the day (weighing 26 pounds even) to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Gator division presented by A.R.E. opener and earn the top prize – a total of $12,415 after collecting his $7,000 FLW PHOENIX Bonus contingency award. The victory was the first win of Carper’s FLW career.
“I travel a lot for work, so I don’t really get to practice or fish in my home region very much,” the Oklahoman said. “Getting the opportunity to come to a place like Florida and the St. John’s River and earning the win after never having been here in my life is pretty humbling. I’ve been chasing one of these for a long time, and it feels absolutely awesome to finally win one.
“I caught one fish early on a War Eagle Finesse Spinnerbait, but the rest of my fish came on a junebug-colored Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Worm,” Carper continued. “I was fishing in Lake George, and the key was definitely staying in that one area. I caught every one of my fish from one 30-by-30-yard area.
“They were biting good and I definitely had the confidence that they were there – especially after I caught the big one,” Carper said of his 9-pound, 15-ounce kicker, the largest bass of the tournament. “I had to drag my worm extremely slow, and they seemed to shut down when it got cloudy. But once the sun would come back out they’d feed again.
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament as follows:
1st: Eddie Carper of Valliant, Okla., five bass, 26-0, $5,415 + $7,000 FLW PHOENIX BONUS
2nd: Yoan Alvarez of Miami, Fla., five bass, 21-14, $2,360
3rd: Jerry Stalvey Jr. of Palatka, Fla., five bass, 19-12, $1,574
4th: Mike Jackson of San Mateo, Fla., five bass, 19-5, $1,101
5th: Terry Fisher of Jacksonville, Fla., five bass, 16-4, $944
6th: Trevor Brown of Deltona, Fla., five bass, 14-8, $865
7th: Kyle Walters of Grant Valkaria, Fla., five bass, 13-13, $787
8th: Dawayne Burke of Cross City, Fla., five bass, 13-10, $708
9th: John Mobley of Macclenny, Fla., five bass, 13-4, $629
10th: Jason Reed of Hollister, Fla., five bass, 13-1, $551
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Carper’s 9-pound, 15-ounce largemouth was also good for the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $695.
Carper took home an extra $7,000 as the highest finishing FLW PHOENIX BONUS member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
Randy Paquette of Sarasota, Florida, won the Co-angler Division and $2,360 Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 5 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers finished as follows:
1st: Randy Paquette of Sarasota, Fla., five bass, 16-5, $2,360
2nd: Theron Asbery of Fort Pierce, Fla., five bass, 12-0, $1,180
3rd: Kyle Gelles of Pingree, Idaho, three bass, 11-15, $1,284
4th: Scott Farnham of Port St. Lucie, Fla., five bass, 11-5, $551
5th: Richard Dunham of Palm Harbor, Fla., three bass, 8-14, $472
6th: Aaron Gengler of Lakeland, Fla., five bass, 8-2, $433
7th: Jerry Meece of Lufkin, Texas, four bass, 7-7, $493
8th: Spencer Howerton of Melbourne Beach, Fla., four bass, 6-6, $354
9th: Tim Kidwell of Crittenden, Ky., three bass, 6-2, $315
10th: Jason Gonzalez of Loxahatchee, Fla., three bass, 5-15, $275
Gelles caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $347.
The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine on the St. John’s River was hosted by the Putnam County Tourist Development Council.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the Gator Division presented by A.R.E. based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 22-24 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia hosted by the Gainesville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Boaters will compete for a $60,000 prize package, including a new 18-foot Phoenix bass boat with a 200-horsepower outboard and $10,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new 18-foot Phoenix bass boat with a 200-horsepower outboard.
The 2020 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 co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six 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 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American.
The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American will be held April 30 through May 2 at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina and is hosted by Visit Anderson. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division earn priority entry into the FLW Series, the pathway to the FLW Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour, where top pros compete with no entry fees.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, FLW and its partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Zimbabwe.
FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show while Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. Acquired by Major League Fishing in late 2019, FLW is expanding its programming in 2020 to the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel as well as on-demand at MyOutdoorTV (MOTV).