MONROE-WEST MONROE, La. (Feb. 7, 2022) – Favorite Fishing pro Mark Daniels Jr. of Tuskegee, Alabama, boated eight scorable bass totaling 15 pounds, 7 ounces to earn the win Monday during the Group A Qualifying Round at the season-opening MLF Bass Pro Tour B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One Presented by Power-Pole in Monroe-West Monroe, Louisiana. Daniels now advances directly to Thursday’s final-day Championship Round on Bussey Brake.
Daniels’ two-day Qualifying Round total of 16 bass weighing 33 pounds, 5 ounces, earned him the win by a comfortable 8½-pound margin over Nitro pro Edwin Evers of Talala, Oklahoma, who caught a two-day total of nine bass weighing 24-13 to finish the round in second place. Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina, boated a two-day total of 11 bass weighing 23-15 to end the round in third, while Shinichi Fukae of Osaka, Japan , finished the round in fourth place with a two-day total of eight bass for 22-6. Rounding out the top five was Day 1 leader Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Arkansas, who caught six bass for 21-2 to advance in fifth place.
The six-day event, hosted by Discover Monroe-West Monroe, showcases 80 of the top professional bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a purse of $805,000, including a top cash prize of $100,000 to the winner.
“To be honest, I was really looking forward to going to Caney Creek, but I’m even happier now that I’m going straight to Bussey Brake with an opportunity to win this thing,” Daniels said in his post-game interview. “The automatic top-10 berth makes it an already awesome week and I could not be any happier with how this round went.”
Daniels dominated early Monday, catching five scorable bass on a jerkbait before 10 a.m. Seven of his eight keepers came on the jerkbait – he also added one in the afternoon on a ¼-ounce Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap.
“That ¼ ounce Trap is a little sneaky – not a lot of people throw it,” Daniels said. “Most of the time I’m throwing it trying to match the bait, but I’m throwing it this week because I’m targeting that 1-to-3-foot depth.
“I’m throwing the jerkbait on my 6-foot, 8-inch Favorite Pro Series casting rod,” Daniels continued. “It’s a little bit shorter and allows me to impart a good action on the bait without slapping the water, which happens to me with a longer rod. I’m throwing the Trap on a 6-foot, 10-inch Favorite Signature B-Lat Sick Stick with a 6:8:1 gear ratio reel and 12-pound Seaguar Fluorcarbon line.”
With Daniels now advancing to the Championship Round for the fifth time in his career, he’ll be looking to earn his first career victory on Thursday.
“I’m looking forward to spending a little bit of time scouting Bussey Brake on my day off. It’s been a grinder, but I’m super grateful to make the Championship Round. I’ve got a shot and I can’t ask for anything else – that’s why I’m here.”
The top 20 anglers from Group A will now enjoy an off day, while the 40 anglers in Qualifying Group B will complete their two-day Qualifying Round of competition on Tuesday. The Knockout Round, featuring 38 anglers competing to finish in the top eight, will take place Wednesday on Caney Creek. Thursday’s Championship Round on Bussey Brake will feature Thrift, Tuesday’s Group B winner, and the top eight anglers from the Knockout Round competing in a final-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000.
The top 20 pros in Qualifying Group A that now advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round on Caney Creek Reservoir are:
1st: Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 16 bass, 33-5 – ADVANCES TO CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
2nd: Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., nine bass, 24-13
3rd: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 11 bass, 23-15
4th: Shinichi Fukae, Osaka, Japan, eight bass, 22-6
5th: Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., six bass, 21-2
6th: Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., six bass, 21-1
7th: Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., 10 bass, 19-3
8th: Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., seven bass, 18-9
9th: Alton Jones Jr., Waco, Texas, seven bass, 18-5
10th: Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, six bass, 18-5
11th: Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, eight bass, 16-15
12th: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., six bass, 16-9
13th: Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., six bass, 15-9
14th: Roy Hawk, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., five bass, 15-9
15th: Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., seven bass, 14-14
16th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 14-11
17th: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., five bass, 12-14
18th: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., six bass, 12-12
19th: Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., four bass, 12-11
20th: Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 12-5
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall on Monday there were 104 scorable bass caught weighing 250 pounds, 13 ounces caught by 34 pros.
Evers earned the $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award Monday with a 5-pound, 13-ounce largemouth that bit a jerkbait at the start of Period 3. Berkley awards $1,000 to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass each day, and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass of the tournament.
The 40 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Lake D’Arbonne on Saturday and Monday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Sunday and Tuesday. After each two-day Qualifying Round is complete, the anglers that finish in 2nd through 20th place from both groups advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round on Caney Creek Reservoir, while the winner of each group advances directly to Thursday’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 on Bussey Brake. In the final day Championship Round, weights are zeroed and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.
In the four-day opening Qualifying Rounds, anglers will launch at 8:30 a.m. from the Lake D’Arbonne State Park, located at 3628 Evergreen Road in Farmerville, Louisiana. The Knockout Round will launch Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. from the Caney Creek Hooks Marina, located at 400 Spillway Road in Chatham, Louisiana. Thursday’s final day Championship Round on Bussey Brake will launch at 8:30 a.m. from Bonner Ferry Road, five miles northwest of Bastrop off of Hwy 593.
Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the respective launch ramps, 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 B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One Presented by Power-Pole features anglers competing with a 1-pound, 8-ounce minimum weight requirement on Lake D’Arbonne, and a 2-pound minimum weight requirement on Caney Creek and Bussey Brake for a bass 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 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, competing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2023 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 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One Presented by Power-Pole will premiere at 7 a.m. ET, Sept. 3 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, BallyBet, Bass Cat, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Covercraft, Favorite Fishing, Garmin, General Tire, Googan Baits, Grundéns, Guaranteed Rate, Humminbird, Lowrance, Luminox, Mercury, Minn Kota, Mossy Oak, Nitro Performance Boats, Onyx, Plano, Power-Pole, Power Stop, Rapala, Starbrite, Toro, Toyota, Wrangler, Yellowstone Bourbon and Zoom.