MASSENA, N.Y. (June 28, 2021) – Berkley pro John Cox of DeBary, Florida, caught 23 scorable bass Monday weighing 75 pounds, 15 ounces to win the two-day Qualifying Group B round at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour General Tire Stage Five at the St. Lawrence River Presented by Berkley in Massena, New York. Cox’s two-day total of 54 bass weighing 175 pounds even earned him the victory by a 23-pound, 11-ounce margin and advances him directly into Wednesday’s final-day Championship Round of competition.
Phoenix Boats pro James Elam of Tulsa, Oklahoma caught a two-day total of 51 bass weighing 151-5 to end the round in second place, and Shelby, North Carolina pro Bryan Thrift finished the round in third place with a two-day total of 51 bass weighing 149-11.
The remaining 38 anglers – 19 from Group A and 19 from Group B – will now compete Tuesday in the Knockout Round, where weights are zeroed, and the anglers compete to finish in the top eight to advance to Championship Wednesday. Wednesday’s Championship Round will feature Group A winner Jacob Wheeler, Group B winner John Cox, and the top eight anglers from the Knockout Round competing in a final-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000.
“Oh my gosh, I feel like I won the tournament, just making it to the Championship Round,” said an excited Cox. “I’ve never won one of these rounds before, so this is a new experience for me. I’m really excited to be able to allow the fish to rest a little before the next round.
“Ten of us are going to compete for $100,000 on Wednesday – I don’t even know what to say. Not sure if I’m having a mild heart attack or if the red bull is just really kicking in,” continued Cox. “I caught a ton of fish today and found some exciting stuff in the third period that should help us out in the next round. On the last cast, there were probably 15 fish that came in when I shook that 4 pounder off. I can’t wait to get back out there – it’s going to be awesome.
“I’ve been using the new 7-foot, medium action Abu Garcia Fantasista Premier spinning rod – it bends perfectly and handles the fish on the light line. I’m throwing 8-pound, Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon, on the Abu Garcia REVO MGXtreme Spinning Reel. It has a super-smooth drag and allows me to fight the fish really well.”
Cox said his key baits came down to the Berkley Powerbait Maxscent The General Worm and the Berkley Powerbait Maxscent Hit Worm.
“I never even had these smaller Berkley General worm until a couple years ago because I figured the 5 inch was plenty small enough,” continued Cox. “They didn’t want the 5-inch today, but they ate this 4-inch one up really well.
“The Maxscent Hit Worm was an accidental win today. I had no idea it would work that well – I’d never heard of anyone catching smallmouth with it. I put it on to save some Flat Worms and they’ve just been killing it today.”
With a full day off, Cox said he plans to take his kids tubing down below the locks and is looking forward to enjoying the family time prior to Wednesday’s competition.
“This event has been awesome. I can’t wait to get back out there for the Championship Round,” said Cox. “This place is full of fish – it’s just been unreal.”
The top 20 pros in Qualifying Group B that now advance to Tuesday’s Knockout Round on the St. Lawrence River are:
1st: John Cox, DeBary, Fla., 54 bass, 175-0
2nd: James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., 51 bass, 151-5
3rd: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 51 bass, 149-11
4th: Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., 49 bass, 149-2
5th: Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., 44 bass, 132-10
6th: Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, Calif., 41 bass, 127-1
7th: Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 33 bass, 126-6
8th: Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., 35 bass, 125-9
9th: Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., 42 bass, 125-6
10th: Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., 44 bass, 123-14
11th: Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., 37 bass, 122-14
12th: Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 41 bass, 116-15
13th: Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., 37 bass, 114-15
14th: John Murray, Spring City, Tenn., 38 bass, 110-11
15th: Shin Fukae, Osaka, Japan, 29 bass, 104-12
16th: David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn., 36 bass, 102-12
17th: Matt Lee, Cullman, Ala., 32 bass, 100-0
18th: Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., 31 bass, 96-9
19th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 34 bass, 96-6
20th: Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., 34 bass, 94-14
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A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 594 bass weighing 1,808 pounds, 8 ounces caught by the 39 pros on Monday.
Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Florida won Monday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in a 6-pound, 6-ounce smallmouth bass on a ned rig during Period 3. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler who weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.
The General Tire Stage Five at the St. Lawrence River Presented by Berkley features anglers competing with a 2-pound minimum weight requirement, meaning each bass caught must weigh at least 2 pounds for it to be deemed scorable. 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 MLF Bass Pro Tour General Tire Stage Five at the St. Lawrence River Presented by Berkley is hosted by the Town of Massena and Fish Massena.
The 40 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Friday and Sunday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Saturday and Monday. With both groups two-day qualifying round now complete, the anglers that finish in 2nd through 20th place from both groups now advance to Tuesday’s Knockout Round, while the winner of each group advances directly to Wednesday’s Championship Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed and the remaining 38 anglers compete to finish in the top 8 to advance to the Championship Round. In the final day Championship Round, weights are zeroed and the highest one-day total wins.
Anglers will take off from the Massena Intake Boat Launch Ramp, located on Route 13, in Massena, at 8:30 a.m. ET each day of competition. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will also be held at the Launch Ramp, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all takeoff and takeout ceremonies and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The Bass Pro Tour features a field of 76 of the top professional anglers in the world – joined at each event by 4 pros that qualify from the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit – competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, competing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2022 championship.
The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action on all six days of competition from 9:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the General Tire Stage Five Presented by Berkley at the St. Lawrence River will be showcased across two two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, Oct. 23 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.
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, the Discovery Channel, the Outdoor Channel, CBS Sports Network, the World Fishing Network, the Sportsman Channel and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with offices 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 13 countries. In 2019 MLF acquired FLW and rebranded it as MLF BIG5, which expanded its portfolio of catch, weigh and immediately release events to include the sport’s strongest five-biggest-fish format tournament circuits. 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.
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