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Salisbury's Bell notches sixth career win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at High Rock Lake

by Major League Fishing 23 Jun 2023 15:17 UTC
Boater Rodney Bell of Salisbury, North Carolina, and Strike-King co-angler David Deciucis of Chester, Virginia © Major League Fishing

Boater Rodney Bell of Salisbury, North Carolina, caught a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the 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. Bell earned $5,024 for his victory.

"I started early with a buzzbait and caught one doing that," Bell said. "It was extremely crowded where I was, and I live on High Rock, so I switched creeks to get away from the crowd."

Three of Bell's six BFL wins have come on High Rock Lake, and his knowledge of the fishery, especially the mid-lake area where he fished during competition, paid off during the tournament. His relocation quickly produced a 4 half-pounder and a 6-15 bass, the Berkley Big Bass of the day.

"When I caught that big one, I decided I was there for the duration of the day," Bell said. "I settled down and fished docks and laydowns with an E&L Lures jig and a couple of bass came on a worm. I stayed shallow all day long and caught nine keepers.

"I've fished probably 150 of these BFL events, but it's always special to win at home," Bell said.

The Top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st: Rodney Bell, Salisbury, N.C., five bass, 21-1, $5,024
2nd: Travis Donaldson, Cleveland, N.C., five bass, 20-9, $2,197
3rd: Ryan Powroznik, Hopewell, Va., five bass, 20-3, $1,464
4th: Junior Roberts, Alexandria, Va., five bass, 18-4, $1,025
5th: Evan White, Roanoke Rapids, N.C., five bass, 18-2, $879
6th: David Wright, Lexington, N.C., five bass, 17-1, $1,775 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
7th: Chad Poteat, Mount Airy, N.C., five bass, 16-13, $1,232
8th: Ron Wolfarth, Oakboro, N.C., five bass, 16-3, $659
9th: Dennis Burdette, Pembroke, Va., five bass, 15-8, $586
10th: Ladd Whicker, Winston-Salem, N.C., four bass, 15-1, $513

Complete results can be found at

Bell also caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $630.

David Deciucis of Chester, Virginia, won the Strike King co-angler division and a total of $2,379 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 14 pounds, 12 ounces.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st: David Deciucis, Chester, Va., five bass, 14-12, $2,379
2nd: Hank Cooke, Emporia, Va., five bass, 13-10, $907
2nd: Cornell Badra, Clarksburg, Md., four bass, 13-10, $907
4th: Eric Nelson, Gainesville, Va., five bass, 13-5, $509
5th: Ben Dacey, Powhatan, Va., five bass, 12-15, $786
6th: Matthew Noraas, Pamplin, Va., five bass, 12-1, $400
7th: Vernon Adams, Clayton, N.C., five bass, 11-15, $363
8th: Mekye Barnes, Raleigh, N.C., five bass, 11-14, $327
9th: Bobby Henderson, Charlotte, N.C., two bass, 10-13, $603
10th: Tim Privette, Jr., Wendell, N.C., five bass, 10-9, $254

Bobby Henderson of Charlotte, North Carolina, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $312, catching a bass that weighed in at 6 pounds, 13 ounces - the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After three events, Evan White of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, leads the BFL Piedmont Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 719 points, while Timothy Kinder of Fairfax, Virginia, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 720 points.

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. 5-7 BFL Regional tournament on the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. Boaters will fish for a top award of $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury 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 outboard.

The 2023 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 2024 BFL All-American.

Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, General Tire, Grundéns, Gill, Lew's, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Mystik Lubricants, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.

For complete details and updated tournament information, visit

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