Marengo man wins bass tournament

Boater Jeff Copley of Marengo caught five bass Saturday weighing 26 pounds, 4 ounces, to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on Lake St. Clair.

The tournament was the second event for the Bass Fishing League Michigan Division. Copley earned $8,407, including a $2,500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, for his victory.

“We pulled up on some areas where I thought I had them pretty planned out, but I struggled for a while,” Copley said. “I ended up locating a school I had found Friday and spent the rest of the day making drifts and alternating between a swimbait and a drop-shot.”

Copley said he was fishing 13 to 16 feet deep and targeting isolated grass clumps in the Anchor Bay area. Copley said he caught an estimated 20 fish during the course of the day, all of which were keepers.

“I don’t typically weigh fish,” Copley said. “If they’re over four pounds, they go in the livewell, and if they’re under four pounds they get a cull tag. At one point I had culled everything that had a cull tag, and then I caught a 6-pounder. At that point I knew I had significantly more than 21 pounds.

“I’ve learned from some of the best out there by fishing as a co-angler,” Copley said. “To be able to go out there and put it together myself was pretty amazing.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

1st: Jeff Copley, Marengo, Ohio, five bass, 26-4, $8,407 (includes $2,500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)

2nd: Kyle Greene, Ortonville, Mich., five bass, 23-8, $2,436

3rd: Brayden Federer, Deerfield, Mich., five bass, 22-9, $1,623

4th: Todd Schmitz, Coldwater, Mich., five bass, 22-4, $1,137

5th: Kevin Langlands, Macomb, Mich., five bass, 21-13, $974

6th: Jeremy Reese, Powell, Ohio, five bass, 21-11, $893

7th: Scott Dobson, Clarkston, Mich., five bass, 21-6, $1,012

8th: Aaron Jagdfeld, Rochester, Mich., five bass, 21-3, $731

9th: Austin Freed, LaGrange, Ind., five bass, 21-0, $650

10th: John Lovin, Fayetteville, Ohio, five bass, 20-15, $568

Complete results can be found at

Copley also caught the heaviest bass of the tournament – 6 pounds, 3 ounces, to earn the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $735.

Information received from Major League Fishing.

Information received from Major League Fishing.