DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (June 3, 2021) – Boater Leslie Brandenburg of Springfield, Missouri, grabbed the early lead Thursday at the 38th annual Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American at Douglas Lake presented by TINCUP with a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 6 ounces. Behind Brandenburg in second place is Rutherfordton, North Carolina’s Cody Hoyle, who brought five bass to the scale good for 15 pounds, 11 ounces.
Brandenburg said that he spent the majority of the day fishing the upper end of the lake, in the river, flipping a jig to a countless number of bushes.
“I’ve only been here one other time – I was a co-angler, and we went up that river and I won a check that time,” said Brandenburg, who is fishing in his 18th career event as a boater in MLF competition. “Sometimes, it just works out and maybe it’s God’s plan. I hope. We’ll know tomorrow. You dang sure can’t win it the first day but you can lose it. Hopefully I can turn this good start into a Top 10.”
One advantage that Brandenburg has this week is his custom-designed boat, made for getting into places that others can’t.
“I brought a boat that I built. It’s an aluminum Xpress. It’s got a hydraulic jack plate, and I built it purposely to get to places where other people can’t go. It’s a rugged old boat and I’m not afraid to tear it up to go catch them,” Brandenburg said. “I’ve got a lot more places to fish, and I think I’ve got enough to carry me through.”
With sunnier conditions being forecast for Friday, Brandenburg is realistic about his chances of weighing in another big bag but said that he does like his chances in what could be a tough day of fishing.
“I don’t think I can have that kind of weight again, but I think I can have a good sack,” the Missouri boater went on to say. “I think I can weigh 12 pounds. If I get lucky and get a good fish or two, I really think I can come in with 12 or 13 pounds a day the next two days and I think I can [win] it.”
The top 10 boaters after day one on Douglas Lake are:
1st: Leslie Brandenburg, Springfield, Mo., five bass, 18-6
2nd: Cody Hoyle, Rutherfordton, N.C., five bass, 15-11
3rd: Blake Tomlin, Greenville, Ga., five bass, 15-7
3rd: Kyle Kitts, Joplin, Mo., five bass, 14-13
5th: Chris Baldwin, Lexington, N.C., five bass, 14-12
6th: Josh Butler, Hayden, Ala., five bass, 14-4
7th: Austin Culbertson, Moberly, Mo., five bass, 14-2
8th: Eric Olliverson, Lampe, Mo., five bass, 13-12
9th: Brant Grimm, Church Hill, Tenn., five bass, 13-4
10th: Harmon Davis, Marlow, Okla., five bass, 13-1
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 239 bass weighing 537 pounds, 12 ounces, caught by 49 boaters Thursday. The catch included 46 five-bass limits.
Rod MacKinnon III of Middletown, New York, leads the Co-angler Division with four bass weighing 13 pounds, 6 ounces, followed by Chase Fitzpatrick of Eldon, Missouri, in second place with five bass weighing 11 pounds, 8 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers are:
1st: Rod MacKinnon III, Middletown, N.Y., four bass, 13-6
2nd: Chase Fitzpatrick, Eldon, Mo., five bass, 11-8
3rd: Lenny Bays, Bethel Island, Calif., five bass, 11-6
4th: James Jarvis, Athens, Ga., five bass, 11-5
4th: Rex Henry, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 11-5
6th: Chris Gebhardt, Shelbyville, Ind., five bass, 10-13
7th: Dustin Elrod, Cushing, Okla., five bass, 10-9
8th: Ken Coats, Greenup, Ill., five bass, 10-7
9th: Travis Garrett, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 10-2
10th: Dax Liner, Eddyville, Ky., five bass, 9-13
Overall, there were 203 bass weighing 353 pounds, 9 ounces, caught by 49 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 28 five-bass limits.
All-American competitors will take off from the Dandridge Boat Dock, located at 100 Public Drive in Dandridge, at 7 a.m. ET each morning, June 3-5. Weigh-in will also be held at the dock at 3:30 p.m. daily. Fans are welcome to attend or follow the event online through daily coverage, live blogs and photos at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine All-American at Douglas Lake Presented by TINCUP is hosted by Visit Jefferson County TN.
Live weigh-in coverage will be streamed daily on MajorLeagueFishing.com. Television coverage of the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine All-American at Douglas Lake Presented by TINCUP will premiere on the Sportsman Channel Sept. 29, 2021, and on the Outdoor Channel on Oct. 3, 2021.
The 2021 All-American features field of the top 49 boaters and 49 Strike King co-anglers from across the 24-division Bass Fishing League and The Bass Federation, all competing for a grand prize of up to $120,000 in the boater division, including the lucrative $20,000 Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency award, and $50,000 in the Strike King co-angler division.
Additionally, the highest-finishing boater and Strike King co-angler from each of seven Regional Championships (including the Wild Card) and the TBF National Championship at the All-American will advance to the 2021 Toyota Series Championship for a shot at winning $235,000 and $33,500, respectively.
The full field of anglers compete on Thursday and Friday, with only the top 10 boaters and top 10 co-anglers based on cumulative weight from the first two days continuing to Championship Saturday. The 2021 All-American champions will be determined by the heaviest three-day total weight.
For complete details and updated information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine on MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
About MLF BIG5
MLF BIG5 is part of MLF, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization. It provides anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money across five tournament circuits featuring a five-biggest-fish format. Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with offices in Benton, Kentucky, MLF 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.
MLF tournaments are broadcast on Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, World Fishing Network, MyOutdoorTV, Discovery and CBS Sports while MLF Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros to the world’s most avid bass anglers.