Muncie’s Gregory Norris Earns First Career Victory at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event at Lake Patoka

Gregory Norris of Muncie, Indiana.Gregory Norris of Muncie, Indiana.

By Joe Opager,—

BIRDSEYE, IN – Boater Gregory Norris of Muncie, Indiana, caught a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 5 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Patoka. The tournament was the first event of the season for the BFL Hoosier Division. Norris earned $6,582, including the lucrative $2,500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, for his victory.

A lab manager for a wastewater treatment plant, Norris wasn’t sure he’d even fish the tournament due to some mechanical issues. However, everything just seemed to line up.

Norris had his boat at Brownie’s Marine, who put in some extra time to get him up and running. His brother, Jonny Norris, also fished the tournament and finished 15th, and he helped convince Greg to take a shot. Before the tournament, Jonny offered to cover the entry fees for any co-angler who’d link up with him to ensure his spot. Jonny’s linked co-angler was Cory Malcom, who wound up being Greg’s co-angler partner, and coincidentally, Malcom went on to win the Strike King co-angler division in Greg’s boat.

On top of that, Greg and Jonny had some extra “help” in this one.

“We lost my dad a couple months ago and weren’t thinking we were going to fish this year,” Greg said. “We decided to ‘just fish one.’ I think my dad pulled some strings for us.”

Whatever got them to the tournament, for the Norris brothers, it was all about execution – good or bad – come tournament day. Jonny lost a couple key fish that cost him his shot at the win. For Greg, things just went right.

“I didn’t get to practice or anything, so I actually started next to my brother, who practiced a little bit,” Greg said. “I watched him catch a couple 5-pounders in the morning, and my co-angler caught one close to 5 behind me. We got out of there and just started covering bank. After a few hours, I caught one on a spinnerbait and one on a crankbait, and it started blowing so we started chasing wind.”

That’s when they slid out deeper to target windy banks in 12 to 20 feet of water with a swimbait.

“The last 30 minutes he (Malcom) caught one more and I caught my fifth fish, and then I had a decent cull,” Greg said. “We tried to fish something similar and saw a little patch of grass, and we caught three fish off it to finish the day.”

Greg’s limit included a big 5-pound smallmouth. The remaining four in his limit were all largemouth.

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:        Gregory Norris, Muncie, Ind., five bass, 19-5, $6,582 (includes $2,500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
2nd:       James Whitaker, Cincinnati, Ohio, five bass, 17-9, $2,041
3rd:       Bryce Kalen, Greenwood, Ind., five bass, 17-0, $1,487
4th:        Jason Roberts, Bargersville, Ind., four bass, 16-12, $952
5th:        Blake Cross, Coatesville, Ind., five bass, 16-5, $816
6th:        Caleb Carnes, Guston, Ky., five bass, 16-2, $748
7th:        John Melton, Corydon, Ind., five bass, 15-14, $680
8th:        Jerry Koller, Paragon, Ind., four bass, 15-12, $1,172
9th:        Brian Funkhouser, Bloomington, Ind., five bass, 14-1, $544
10th:     Dave Tinsman, Losantville, Ind., four bass, 12-14, $476

Complete results can be found at

Jerry Koller of Paragon, Indiana, caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $560.

Cory Malcom of Bremen, Indiana, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,041 Saturday, after bringing three bass to the scale that totaled 12 pounds, 13 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:        Cory Malcom, Bremen, Ind., three bass, 12-13, $2,041
2nd:       Christopher Lemon, Martinsville, Ind., four bass, 12-10, $1,021
3rd:       Paul Eckert, Jasper, Ind., three bass, 11-2, $683
4th:        Ryan Zwick, Oxford, Ohio, three bass, 10-5, $626
5th:        John Chaney, Evansville, Ind., three bass, 9-15, $408
6th:        Ryan Cannon, Indianapolis, Ind., three bass, 9-6, $374
7th:        Kyler Mason, Bedford, Ind., three bass, 8-15, $340
8th:        Greg Roberts, Columbus, Ind., two bass, 8-11, $306
9th:        Adam Lohr, Boonville, Ind., three bass, 8-5, $272
10th:     Andy Vance, Danville, Ind., two bass, 8-1, $338

Dylan Everett of Columbus, Indiana, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $280, catching a bass that weighed in at 5 pounds, 9 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

The next event for BFL Hoosier Division anglers will be held May 11, at Ohio River-Rocky Point in Cannelton, Indiana. To register for the event as a boater or a co-angler, visit or call (270)-252-1000.

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. 10-12 BFL Regional tournament on the Mississippi River Pools 13-17 in Quad Cities, Illinois. Boaters will fish for a top award of $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Suzuki 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 or Suzuki outboard.

The 2024 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 BFL All-American.

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, Fishing Clash, General Tire, GSM Outdoors, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota and YETI.

For complete details and updated tournament information, visit For regular Bass Fishing League updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.


About Major League Fishing

Major League Fishing (MLF) is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, producing more than 250 events annually at some of the most prestigious fisheries in the world, while broadcasting to America’s living rooms on CBS, Discovery Channel, Outdoor Channel, CBS Sports Network, World Fishing Network and on demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, the MLF roster of bass anglers includes the world’s top pros and more than 30,000 competitors in all 50 states and 17 countries. Since its founding in 2011, MLF has advanced the sport of competitive fishing through its premier television broadcasts and livestreams and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for bass through research, education, fisheries enhancement and fish care.