Fishing in his first All-American Championship, boater Brant Grimm of Church Hill, Tennessee, won the 38th annual Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American at Douglas Lake presented by TINCUP after bringing five bass weighing 14 pounds, 4 ounces to the scale Saturday. Grimm's three-day total of 15 bass weighing 46-9 bested second-place boater Leslie Brandenburg of Springfield, Missouri, by 1 pound, 15 ounces. Grimm took home $100,000 for his victory and earned a spot in the 2021 Toyota Series Championship on Pickwick Lake, Oct. 28-30.
"I'm usually a really talkative person, but today at noon I hadn't said more than three words," Grimm said after earning the victory. "It was kind of tough, today. I only managed seven keeper bites. But thankfully they were the right ones and it all worked out.
"It really hasn't sunk in for me, yet," Grimm continued. "It's a lot of money. I'll probably do something boring with it – stick it into a retirement account or buy a rental property or something like that. I'm not going to go buy a yacht, or anything like that."
Grimm said he caught his fish this week fishing a narrow section below the Nolichucky River, targeting offshore river drops where the fish gang up with a shad-colored Strike King 6XD crankbait.
"I love fishing shallow – I consider myself a shallow-water angler. But I fished shallow here for two weeks prior to the off-limits period and I couldn't catch anything more than 3 pounds. I didn't feel like I could win on the bank, so I committed my time offshore."
Grimm considers Douglas Lake and Cherokee Lake his home waters, and when asked if he had any aspirations of moving up to the Toyota Series or Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, he said he's happy to stay around home.
"I fished the (FLW) Tour one year – I've been there, done that," Grimm said. "I don't know that I'm good enough to compete. I'm not on that level. I'm good around here on a couple of lakes, and I'm going to stay here on these couple of lakes and just keep trying to catch them."
With his victory, Grimm now automatically earns entry into the 2021 Toyota Series Championship on Pickwick Lake in October.
"I'll definitely be giving that tournament my all, and I'll prepare for that event just like I did this one. Hopefully that one will work out just as well."
The top 10 boaters on Douglas Lake finished:
- Brant Grimm, Church Hill, Tenn., 15 bass, 46-9, $100,000
- Leslie Brandenburg, Springfield, Mo., 15 bass, 44-10, $20,000
- Cody Hoyle, Rutherfordton, N.C., 15 bass, 43-6, $15,000
- Blake Tomlin, Greenville, Ga., 15 bass, 40-8, $14,000
- Chris Baldwin, Lexington, N.C., 15 bass, 40-1, $13,000
- Chris Nelson, Social Circle, Ga., 15 bass, 39-15, $12,000
- Roger Fitzpatrick, Eldon, Mo., 15 bass, 39-11, $11,000
- Harmon Davis, Marlow, Okla., 15 bass, 38-14, $10,000
- Dale Pelfrey, Rockwood, Tenn., 15 bass, 37-10, $9,700
- Austin Culbertson, Moberly, Mo., 15 bass, 35-13, $8,000
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 50 bass weighing 121 pounds, 10 ounces, caught by the final 10 boaters Saturday. All of the final 10 boaters brought a five-bass limit to the scales.
Daniel Buswell Jr. of Fayetteville, Georgia, won the Strike King Co-angler Division at the All-American Championship and $50,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 34 pounds, 2 ounces. Rod MacKinnon III of Middletown, New York, finished in second place with 14 bass weighing 31-3, good for $10,000.
Buswell became the first co-angler to ever win the All-American Championship twice – he previously won the title in 2013 on Nickajack Lake in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The final 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:
- Daniel Buswell Jr., Fayetteville, Ga., 15 bass, 34-2, $50,000
- Rod MacKinnon III, Middletown, N.Y., 14 bass, 31-3, $10,000
- Rex Henry, Knoxville, Tenn., 12 bass, 30-7, $6,000
- Melinda Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., 14 bass, 30-6, $5,000
- James Jarvis, West Frankfort, Ill., 15 bass, 29-4, $4,700
- Chase Fitzpatrick, Eldon, Mo., 15 bass, 29-2, $4,000
- Andrew Starnes, Chapin, S.C., 15 bass, 28-15, $3,500
- Dustin Elrod, Jasper, Ga.., 14 bass, 26-9, $3,000
- Travis Garrett, Little Rock, Ark., 13 bass, 25-14, $2,500
- Ken Coats, Greenup, Ill., 13 bass, 24-14, $2,000
Overall, there were 46 bass weighing 76 pounds, 1 ounce, caught by the final 10 Strike King co-anglers Saturday. The catch included five five-bass limits.
In addition to the cash payouts, the highest-finishing boater and Strike King co-angler from each of the seven Regional Championships (including the Wild Card) and the TBF National Championship at the All-American will advance to the 2021 Toyota Series Championship on Pickwick Lake in Counce, Tennessee, Oct. 28-30, for a shot at winning $235,000 and $33,500, respectively.
The eight boaters and Strike King co-anglers that now advance to the 2021 Toyota Series Championship on Pickwick Lake are:
- Region 1 (Lake Chickamauga) Boater Champion: Blake Tomlin, Greenville, Ga.
- Region 2 (James River) Boater Champion: Chris Baldwin, Lexington, N.C.
- Region 3 (Mississippi River at La Crosse) Boater Champion: Leslie Brandenburg, Springfield, Mo.
- Region 4 (Cherokee Lake) Boater Champion: Brant Grimm, Church Hill, Tenn.
- Region 5 (Table Rock Lake) Boater Champion: Roger Fitzpatrick, Eldon, Mo.
- Region 6 (Lake Lanier) Boater Champion: Cody Hoyle, Rutherfordton, N.C.
- WildCard (Lake of the Ozarks) Boater Champion: Harmon Davis, Marlow, Okla.
TBF (Red River) Boater Champion: Jason Crone, Kalispell, Mont.
- Region 1 (Lake Chickamauga) Strike King Co-angler Champion: Allen Neal, Whitley City, Ky.
- Region 2 (James River) Strike King Co-angler Champion: Rod MacKinnon III, Middletown, N.Y.
- Region 3 (Mississippi River at La Crosse) Strike King Co-angler Champion: James Jarvis, W. Frankfort, Ill.
- Region 4 (Cherokee Lake) Strike King Co-angler Champion: Daniel Buswell Jr., Fayetteville, Ga.
- Region 5 (Table Rock Lake) Strike King Co-angler Champion: Melinda Hays, Hot Springs, Ark.
- Region 6 (Lake Lanier) Strike King Co-angler Champion: Dustin Elrod, Jasper, Ga.
- WildCard (Lake of the Ozarks) Strike King Co-angler Champion: Chris Gebhardt, Columbia, Mo.
- TBF (Red River) Strike King Co-angler Champion: Matt Felty, Sykesville, Md.