HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (June 27, 2023) – Favorite Fishing pro Dustin Connell of Clanton, Alabama , maintained his position atop the leaderboard, catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 45 pounds, 9 ounces, to lead Group B and win Tuesday’s Qualifying Round at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour General Tire Stage Six at Lake St. Clair Presented by John Deere Utility Vehicles .
The remaining 40 anglers – the top 20 from each group – now advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round, where weights are zeroed, and the anglers compete to finish in the top 10 to advance to the Championship Round on Thursday. Weights will carry over from the Knockout Round into the Championship Round, which will feature the final 10 anglers competing for the heaviest two-day cumulative total and the top prize of $100,000.
“It’s been a good two days, but now the real derby starts,” said Connell. “I was able to practice and look around a lot today, but it’s strictly business now. I’ve done great in the Qualifying Rounds this season, but I haven’t done too well in the Knockout Round. I have a feeling that might change in this event though.”
Connell spent the day bouncing around various places on the lower section of Lake St. Clair using his Lowrance ActiveTarget. He said he found a new area – and two new schools of fish – where he expects to find some big ones.
“I’m on such a big area and that’s played out well for me,” said Connell. “I’m able to get away from everyone else and there hasn’t been a single boat in sight, which just makes it better. Hopefully the weather lays down on Wednesday, because if it does, a lot of these fish will slide up off the bottom and that will make it easier to see them and catch them.”
Connell’s five-fish limit on Tuesday included a group of 4-pounders and a 5-pound, 7-ounce kicker fish that he weighed in during Period 2. He caught all of his fish on his 7-foot, 2-inch medium heavy Favorite Fishing Hex Rod, throwing a Googan Baits Rattlin’ Ned on a 3/8-ounce drop-shot rig, using 15-pound braid and a 12-pound Seaguar Gold Label Fluorocarbon Leader.
The top 20 pros in Group B that now advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round on Lake St. Clair are:
1st: Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 10 bass, 45-9
2nd: Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 10 bass, 42-5
3rd: Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., 10 bass, 41-4
4th: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., 10 bass, 40-6
5th: John Hunter, Shelbyville, Ky., 10 bass, 40-1
6th: Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky., 10 bass, 39-11
7th: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., 10 bass, 39-11
8th: Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 10 bass, 38-14
9th: Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., 10 bass, 38-5
10th: Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., 10 bass, 38-3
11th: Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., 10 bass, 38-2
12th: Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 38-1
13th: Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, 10 bass, 37-4
14th: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 36-14
15th: Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss., 10 bass, 36-9
16th: Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., 10 bass, 36-0
17th: Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., 10 bass, 35-7
18th: Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., 10 bass, 35-1
19th: Gary Klein, Mingus, Texas, 10 bass, 34-13
20th: Jacob Wall, New Hope, Ala., 10 bass, 34-5
Eliminated from competition are:
21st: Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., 10 bass, 34-4
22nd: Shin Fukae, Osaka, Japan, 10 bass, 34-4
23rd: John Murray, Spring City, Tenn., 10 bass, 34-1
24th: Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, 10 bass, 34-0
25th: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 10 bass, 33-15
26th: James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., 10 bass, 33-12
27th: Nick LeBrun, Bossier City, La., 10 bass, 33-10
28th: Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., 10 bass, 33-10
29th: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 10 bass, 32-5
30th: Mike McClelland, Blue Eye, Mo., 10 bass, 32-4
31st: Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., 10 bass, 31-4
32nd: Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., 10 bass, 30-3
33rd: Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 10 bass, 30-1
34th: Matt Lee, Cullman, Ala., 10 bass, 29-9
35th: Russ Lane, Prattville, Ala., 10 bass, 28-12
36th: Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., 10 bass, 28-12
37th: Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, eight bass, 28-7
38th: Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, eight bass, 27-14
39th: Tommy Biffle, Wagoner, Okla., 10 bass, 27-8
40th: Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 24-11
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Tuesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award was awarded to pro Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, who weighed in a 6-pound, 2-ounce smallmouth – the biggest bass of the event thus far – which bit a jerkbait in Period 2. Berkley awards $1,000 to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass each day, and another $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass of the tournament.
The six-day event, hosted by the Detroit Sports Commission, Macomb County and Lake St. Clair Metroparks, showcases 80 of the top professional anglers in the world, competing for a purse of more than $805,000, including a top payout of $100,000 and valuable Angler of the Year (AOY) points in hopes of qualifying for the General Tire Heavy Hitters All-Star event and REDCREST 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship.
Anglers will launch each day at 7:20 a.m. ET from Lake St. Clair Metropark, located at 31300 Metro Parkway in Harrison Township. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the Metropark, beginning at 4 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all launch and takeout events and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLFNOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
On Championship Thursday, June 29, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., MLF will welcome fans of all ages to celebrate the top 10 and crown the General Tire Stage Six at Lake St. Clair Champion at the Watch Party and Trophy Presentation. The final 10 Championship Round Bass Pro Tour anglers will be on hand at the trophy celebration to meet and greet fans, sign autographs and take selfies.
The General Tire Stage Six at Lake St. Clair Presented by John Deere Utility Vehicles features anglers competing using the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, with each angler’s five (5) heaviest bass per day tallied as their day’s weight. Anglers strive to catch their heaviest five fish each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the live scoring SCORETRACKER® leaderboard. Minimum weights are determined individually for each competition waters that the Bass Pro Tour visits, based on the productivity, bass population and anticipated average size of fish in each fishery.
The 2023 MLF Bass Pro Tour features a field of 80 of the top professional anglers in the world competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, fishing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and REDCREST 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship, held March 13-17, 2024, on Lay Lake in Birmingham, Alabama.
The MLFNOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action live on all six days of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. MLFNOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the General Tire Stage Six at Lake St. Clair Presented by John Deere Utility Vehicles Championship Round will air as a two-hour episode starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, November 4 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, with re-airings on the Outdoor Channel.
Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, Ark Fishing, ATG by Wrangler, B&W Trailer Hitches, Bally Bet, Bass Cat Boats, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, Daiwa, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Ferguson, Fox Rent A Car, General Tire, Grundéns, Humminbird, Lowrance, Minn Kota, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Power-Pole, Rapala, Star tron, T-H Marine, TORO, Toyota, U.S. Air Force, Yellowstone Bourbon, Yo-Zuri and Zoom Baits.