MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING NEWS

Thrift Wins Qualifying Round at REDCREST 2021 Presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage on Lake Eufaula

EUFAULA, Ala. (Feb. 23, 2021) – Pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina, weighed in 15 bass totaling 50 pounds, 4 ounces over the first two days of competition to win the two-day Qualifying Round at REDCREST 2021, the Bass Pro Tour championship at Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama. The five-day competition features a field of 40 of the best anglers in the world from the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour competing for a top cash prize of $300,000.

The field is now cut to 20, and weights are zeroed as competition moves into the Knockout Round. A field of 10 anglers (Group A) will compete on Wednesday and the remaining 10 anglers (Group B) will compete Thursday. The top five anglers from each day advance to the fifth and final day of competition, Championship Friday.

Lake Eufaula was a bit tougher for anglers on Tuesday, however quite a few anglers, including Thrift, spent most of the day practicing and searching for new areas to fish during the upcoming Knockout Round.

“I didn’t catch a lot of fish today – only two scorable bass – but it was a fun day because I eliminated a lot of water,” Thrift said. “That’s pretty much all we got accomplished today, but that’s just a part of it. Sometimes that’s almost as good as finding the winning hole, because now I’ve got a great idea of what not to do when I get back out there, and that’s definitely a plus.

“It feels great to be leading in my very first REDCREST, but I’ve still got some work left to do,” Thrift said. “You can’t win if you don’t make it to the Championship Round. I’m looking forward to getting back out there and seeing what we can do.”

Reigning REDCREST champion, Oklahoma’s Edwin Evers, had a great day Tuesday, catching eight bass weighing 22 pounds, 4 ounces – the largest weight of the day – to vault from 25th place to inside the Toro Top 20 Cut and end the day in 8th place.

“I caught the largest weight of the day, and I know that doesn’t mean a lot to some of the guys that laid off their fish, but it gives me a lot of confidence going into the Knockout Round,” Evers said. “The majority of my fish today came on a Berkley PowerBait Power Hog. I’m learning more and putting more pieces of the puzzle together each day and I can’t wait to get back out there and compete in the Knockout Round.”

The top 20 pros that made the cut and will advance in competition at Lake Eufaula are:1st:           Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 50-4
2nd:          Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., 12 bass, 39-7
3rd:          Zack Birge of Blanchard, Okla., 10 bass, 36-3
4th:           Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tenn., 10 bass, 33-8
5th:           Takahiro Omori of Tokyo, Japan, 10 bass, 33-2
6th:           Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Ark., 11 bass, 31-1
7th:           Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., nine bass, 31-1
8th:           Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., 11 bass, 30-0
9th:           Alton Jones Jr. of Waco, Texas, 10 bass, 29-7
10th:        Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., nine bass, 28-12
11th:        David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., eight bass, 28-7
12th:        Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., 10 bass, 27-4
13th:        Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., eight bass, 27-0
14th:        Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark., seven bass, 26-8
15th:        Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn., eight bass, 26-4
16th:        Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., nine bass, 26-3
17th:        Jordan Lee of Cullman, Ala., six bass, 23-5
18th:        Fred Roumbanis of Russellville, Ark., nine bass, 23-3
19th:        Dustin Connell of Clanton, Ala., seven bass, 22-15
20th:        Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn., eight bass, 20-10
Full results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 105 bass weighing 101 pounds, 3 ounces caught by 35 pros on Tuesday, which included eight 5-pounders and eight 4-pounders caught.

Fletcher Shryock of Guntersville, Alabama, won Tuesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in a 5-pound, 14-ounce largemouth during Period 1. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler that weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $7,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.

The 10 anglers that will compete in the Group A Knockout Round on Wednesday are:

Zack Birge of Blanchard, Okla.
Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Ark.
Dustin Connell of Clanton, Ala.
Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark.
David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va.
Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C.
Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn.
Fred Roumbanis of Russellville, Ark.
Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn.
Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich.
The 10 anglers that will compete in the Group B Knockout Round on Thursday are:Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan.
Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tenn.
Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla.
Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C.
Alton Jones Jr. of Waco, Texas
Jordan Lee of Cullman, Ala.
Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn.
Takahiro Omori of Tokyo, Japan
Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla.
Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C.
REDCREST 2021 Presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage, the Bass Pro Tour championship at Lake Eufaula, is hosted by the Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce.

All 40 Anglers competed on Day 1 (Monday) and 2 (Tuesday) of the event. Now, the field is cut to just the top 20 based on two-day total cumulative weight. The remaining 20 anglers are split into two groups – 10 compete on Day 3 (Wednesday) and 10 compete on Day 4 (Thursday). The top five anglers from each group based on total single-day weight will advance to the fifth and final day of competition (Friday), where weights are zeroed and the angler that catches the highest total weight on the final day will be crowned the REDCREST 2021 champion.

Attendance is limited to competing anglers, essential staff and media covering the event only. Fans are encouraged to follow the event online through the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com

The 2020 Bass Pro Tour featured a field of 80 of the top professional anglers in the world competing in a COVID-shortened five regular-season tournaments around the country. The top 40 anglers in the Angler of the Year (AOY) standings after the five events qualified to compete in Bass Pro Shops REDCREST 2021 presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage.

The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action each day of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MLF NOW!®  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com. and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

Television coverage of REDCREST 2021 presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage, the Bass Pro Tour championship, will be showcased across two two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, July 3 on the Discovery Channel. A one-hour special episode of MLF Inside the REDCREST will premiere at 2 p.m. ET, Sunday, July 18 on CBS. 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.

Jacob Wheeler Catches 7½-Pound Largemouth to Earn $50K, Final 10 Set for Championship Round at General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops

RALEIGH, N.C. (April 13, 2021) – One fish. $50,000. Pro Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tennessee, boated a 7-pound, 8-ounce, largemouth Tuesday afternoon on Shearon Harris Reservoir, the largest fish of the day, to win $50,000 at the Major League Fishing (MLF) General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops in Raleigh, North Carolina. Wheeler finished the day in 2nd place and punched his ticket straight to Wednesday’s final-day Championship Round.

“50 g’s, heck yeah, that is unreal,” Wheeler said in his post-game interview. “That will be a fish that I remember for the rest of my life. I was cruising down the bank and when I saw that fish, I literally stopped and was like ‘Whoa, that’s a $50,000 bass.’ It took me about 45 minutes trying to figure out how to catch her, and it was pretty dang awesome when I did.”

Wheeler caught the big bass on a Googan Baits Lunker Log, although he credited a different bait as being his key for the day.

“The (Googan) Bandito Bug was the big player for me today and I caught several of my fish doing that,” Wheeler said. “But, I also caught a couple, including the big ‘un, on the Lunker Log.

“I got really close to winning here two years ago, and I’d love to try to take home the title and get a little pay back on this lake this time around. So far, after today, it’s treating me pretty solid. Shearon Harris… I love you.”
 

Joining Wheeler in the Championship Round will be pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tennessee, who won Tuesday’s Knockout Round with 15 bass weighing 46 pounds, 11 ounces.

“It was a great day for me, and well beyond my expectations,” said Morgan. “It was pretty simple fishing – just looking for spawning fish. They were up super-shallow, right around the bank. Weed clumps, trees, logs – whatever they could get around.

“I caught them on just a couple of baits,” Morgan continued. “I threw a ½-ounce Strike King Thunder Cricket with a chartreuse and white-colored Zoom Swimmer on the back. I also caught them flipping a Zoom Brush Hog and a Zoom Z-Craw . Some of the fish were actually feeding – those ones I’d catch on the Cricket. The bass that I caught flipping were primarily all spawning.”

Morgan fished the Thunder Cricket on a 7-foot, 2-inch medium-heavy Favorite Fishing Big Sexy casting rod, paired with a Lew’s 6:3:1 reel and spooled with 16-pound fluorocarbon line. For his flipping setup, he Texas-rigged the creature baits and threw them on a Favorite Fishing Pro Series The GOAT rod paired with an 8:3:1 Lew’s Flipping and Pitching reel and 20-pound fluorocarbon line.

Wednesday’s Championship Round will feature Qualifying Round winners Fletcher Shryock and Bryan Thrift, along with the top eight anglers from Tuesday’s Knockout Round, competing in a final-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000. In addition to the tournament purse, a $100,000 Big Bass Bonus will be awarded to the angler that lands the single biggest fish on the final day.

The top eight pros from the Knockout Round that advanced to Wednesday’s final-day Championship Round on Shearon Harris Reservoir are:

  1st:          Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 15 bass, 46-11
  2nd:         Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., 13 bass, 41-6
  3rd:         Alton Jones, Woodway, Texas, 13 bass, 39-6
  4th:         Ish Monroe, Oakdale, Calif., 12 bass, 36-15
  5th:         Dave Lefebre, Erie, Pa., 10 bass, 35-8
  6th:         Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., nine bass, 30-3
  7th:         Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 29-13
  8th:         Jeff Sprague, Point, Texas, nine bass, 29-13

Eliminated from competition after the Knockout Round on Shearon Harris Reservoir are:

  9th:         Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., eight bass, 27-7, $4,000
  10th:       Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss., eight bass, 27-0, $4,000
  11th:       Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., seven bass, 24-5, $4,000
  12th:       Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., seven bass, 19-15, $4,000
  13th:       Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., seven bass, 17-9, $4,000
  14th:       Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., four bass, 15-5, $4,000
  15th:       Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., four bass, 13-5, $4,000
  16th:       Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., three bass, 8-12, $4,000
  17th:       Boyd Duckett, Guntersville, Ala., three bass, 6-12, $4,000
  18th:       Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., one bass, 2-15, $4,000

A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 143 bass weighing 453 pounds even caught by the 18 pros on Tuesday, which included one 7-pounder, one 6-pounders and seven 5-pounders caught from Shearon Harris Reservoir.

The MLF General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops is hosted by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance.

The 20 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Jordan Lake on Friday and Sunday – the 20 anglers in Group B on Falls Lake on Saturday and Monday. The anglers that finished in 2nd through 10th place from both groups advanced to Tuesday’s Knockout Round on Shearon Harris, while the winner of each group advanced directly to Wednesday’s Championship Round on Shearon Harris. In Wednesday’s final-day Championship Round, weights are zeroed and the highest one-day total wins.

BREAKING NEWS!!! – Major League Fishing Prohibits Berkley PowerBait MaxScent in Bass Pro Tour Competition

TULSA, Okla. (March 31, 2021) – Major League Fishing (MLF), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today a rule change to Bass Pro Tour Rule No. 7 regarding Tackle and Equipment, which addresses the usage of Berkley PowerBait MaxScent baits on the MLF Bass Pro Tour. Effective immediately, anglers that compete on the Bass Pro Tour are prohibited from using any Berkley PowerBait MaxScent product, both in practice and competition.

“MLF has studied the use of the Berkley PowerBait MaxScent since its launch in 2018, and we’ve made the decision to no longer permit its usage on the Bass Pro Tour,” Aaron Beshears, MLF Bass Pro Tour Director said. “The ban applies only to Berkley PowerBait MaxScent baits. At this time, original Berkley PowerBait and Berkley Gulp! baits are not included in this restriction.

“The bait has simply evolved to a point that it provides an unfair competitive advantage to Bass Pro Tour anglers that cannot use the product – whether through limited availability or competing sponsorship restrictions,” Beshears continued. “That said, Berkley PowerBait MaxScent baits will still be permitted in our MLF BIG5 tournament circuits. This decision is consistent with the wishes of the majority of our Bass Pro Tour anglers.”

Berkley remains a sponsor of MLF and the Bass Pro Tour, and MLF is currently in discussions with the company and its stakeholders regarding this decision.

For further clarification on the elimination of Berkley PowerBait MaxScent from Bass Pro Tour competition, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.

“We are proud to be an angler-driven league and to continue to support our anglers and their livelihood with this decision,” said Boyd Duckett, MLF co-founder and President of the Professional Bass Tour Anglers’ Association (PBTAA). “The Alabama Rig was banned in 2013 for similar reasons and we believe this is the next crucial step to creating a level playing field and ensuring no one angler or group of anglers has an unfair advantage over the rest of the field.

“Since 2012, we have prided ourselves on listening to our anglers, providing them with excellent tournaments on premium fisheries and a game that can be played and won by any competitor. We believe the game must continue to evolve as well in order to preserve the integrity of the sport.”

The Berkley PowerBait MaxScent products which are now prohibited from usage on the Bass Pro Tour are:

  • PowerBait MaxScent Creature Hawg
  • PowerBait MaxScent Critter Hawg
  • PowerBait MaxScent D-Worm
  • PowerBait MaxScent Flat Worm
  • PowerBait MaxScent Flatnose Jerk Shad
  • PowerBait MaxScent Flatnose Minnow
  • PowerBait MaxScent Hit Worm
  • PowerBait MaxScent Hit Worm Magnum
  • PowerBait MaxScent Kingtail
  • PowerBait MaxScent Lizard
  • PowerBait MaxScent Lunch Worm
  • PowerBait MaxScent Meaty Chunk
  • PowerBait MaxScent Power Chunk
  • PowerBait MaxScent The General

The 2021 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 next event for Bass Pro Tour anglers will be the 2021 General Tire Heavy Hitters Event, held April 9-14 at Falls Lake, Jordan Lake & Shearon Harris Reservoir in Raleigh, North Carolina.

APRIL FOOLS COURTESY OF MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING!!!

DeFoe Wins Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage One at Sam Rayburn Reservoir Presented by Power-Pole

JASPER, Texas (March 26, 2021) –In one of the craziest endings to a tournament in Major League Fishing (MLF) history, pro Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tennessee, caught two key fish late in the day to overtake Spokane, Washington’s Luke Clausen and win the Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage One at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Power-Pole with a final day total of 13 bass weighing 30 pounds, 2 ounces

The ending was crazy because of the area that DeFoe had been fishing in – a secluded spot way up the Angelina River on the north end of Sam Rayburn. Cellular coverage was extremely spotty, so when Defoe boated a back-to-back 2-12 and a 2-13 with about 20 minutes left in the event to overtake Clausen, it didn’t register on the SCORETRACKER leaderboard until very near the end of competition. His first bass – the 2-12 – tied him with Clausen, and the 2-13 earned him the victory by that margin.

“I just love fishing this time of year,” said DeFoe, who earned his second career Bass Pro Tour victory – both in Texas. “The end of the day was a bit of disaster due to the area that I was in… the service was bad, but the fishing was really good.”

DeFoe said that he found his area on the first day of practice and committed to fishing it for the entire event.

“The very first day of practice I spent up there and got a fair number of bites, and I liked what I saw,” DeFoe said. “I spent the second day of practice down the lake and saw how much boat traffic there was, and there wasn’t much traffic up on the north end, so that is where I committed to. I ended up fishing there every single day.

“I had one really key little spot that there were so many bass in, and really just going through a rotation of baits is what worked for me this week,” DeFoe continued. “My key baits were a squarebill crankbait; I caught some fish on a Rapala DT4, another homemade squarebill crankbait that will eventually be in the OG line from Rapala, a Bass Pro Magnum Fin-Eke Worm ended up being a big player for me, and a Bass Pro Wacky Stik worm was also a big deal.

“I give all of the thanks to God – he gets all of the credit for everything,” DeFoe went on to say. “I just love this time of year – the Easter season is upon us and I am so excited for next week. This week has been incredible, though, and I just can’t believe it. All I can say is God Bless Texas!”

Clausen lost an estimated 5- or 6-pounder in Period 1 that ended up being the difference maker for him.

“I’ll be thinking about the one that I lost for a long time,” Clausen said. “I knew today when it happened, that fish, if I didn’t win it was going to hurt me pretty dang bad. And it did.

“I really don’t know that I could have done anything different today, other than land that fish,” Clausen continued. “I didn’t have a lot figured out, and I knew it was going to be one of those kind of deals where I knew it was just going to be about me going fishing. I could catch them on a ChatterBait and on a stickbait, and other than that it was just grinding it out. I did what I thought I needed to do at the right times and got some of the right bites, but obviously it was not enough.”

The top 10 pros at the Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage One at Sam Rayburn Reservoir finished:

  1st:        Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., 13 bass, 30-2, $100,000
  2nd:       Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., nine bass, 27-5, $45,000
  3rd:       Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., nine bass, 26-8, $38,000
  4th:        Tommy Biffle, Wagoner, Okla., nine bass, 20-3, $32,000
  5th:        Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., six bass, 20-0, $30,000
  6th:        Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., six bass, 19-1, $26,000
  7th:        Cliff Crochet, Pierre Part, La., five bass, 14-1, $23,000
  8th:        Jeff Sprague, Point, Texas, three bass, 8-3, $21,000
  9th:        Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss., two bass, 4-14, $19,000
  10th:     Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., one bass, 4-2, $16,000

Full results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

There were 63 bass weighing 174 pounds, 7 ounces caught by the final 10 pros Friday.

Clausen won Friday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in a 5-pound, 3-ounce largemouth that bit his wacky-rigged worm just 20 minutes into Period 3. Connell won the $3,000 Berkley Big Bass award for the largest bass of the event with his 9-pound, 5-ounce bass that he weighed in on Day 1 of competition.

Television coverage of the Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage One at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Power-Pole will be showcased across two two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, Aug. 28 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.

The MLF Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage One at Sam Rayburn Reservoir Presented by Power-Pole was hosted by the Jasper County Development District and the Jasper/Lake Sam Rayburn Chamber of Commerce.

The 2021 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 next event for Bass Pro Tour anglers will be the 2021 General Tire Heavy Hitters Event, held April 9-14 at Falls Lake, Jordan Lake & Shearon Harris Reservoir in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action each day of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MLF NOW!®  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com. and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

Spohrer Wins Qualifying Group B of Major League Fishing’s Toro Stage One at Sam Rayburn Reservoir Presented by Power-Pole

JASPER, Texas (March 24, 2021) – Pro Gerald Spohrer of Gonzales, Louisiana, boated eight scorable bass Wednesday weighing 23 pounds, 14 ounces to win the two-day Qualifying Group B round at the Toro Stage One at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Power-Pole . Spohrer’s two-day total of 15 bass weighing 50 pounds even earned him the victory by a 2-pound, 1-ounce margin and advances him directly into Friday’s final-day Championship Round of competition. The six-day tournament is being filmed for television broadcast on the Discovery Channel and the Outdoor Channel later this year and live-streamed online.

Pro Randall Tharp of Port Saint Joe, Florida, caught a two-day total of 16 bass weighing 47-15 to end the round in second place, and Japanese pro Shinichi Fukae finished the round in third place with a two-day total of 15 bass weighing 43-13.

The remaining 38 anglers – 19 from Group A and 19 from Group B – will now compete Thursday in the Knockout Round, where weights are zeroed, and the anglers compete to finish in the top eight to advance to Championship Friday. Friday’s Championship Round will feature Group A winner Ott DeFoe, Group B winner Spohrer, and the top eight anglers from the Knockout Round competing in a final-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000.

“This is my first round that I’ve won with Major League Fishing, and it’s overwhelming the joy that I have right now,” Spohrer said. “Duking it out with my buddy, Randall Tharp, right at the end was exciting, and to get to do it right here, on Sam Rayburn, is a big deal to me.”

Spohrer credited his equipment as being the key to his success – the same 7-foot Quantum Smoke heavy-action casting rod paired with a Quantum Smoke 8:1 reel and spooled with 50-pound-test Seaguar Smackdown braided line (stealth gray) has caught every one of his fish this week.

“I’ve been a one-trick pony the last two days,” Spohrer said. “If you’ve been watching the live stream, you probably saw how deep I was getting my swimjig into the wood and dragging those fish out of there. It’s all worked out for me and I can’t tell you how happy I am.

“Now I get a day off and I’m going to get ready for the Championship Round,” Spohrer went on to say. “There will only be 10 of us, so I start the year automatically with a top-10 finish and now I’ve got a real legitimate chance to compete for that red trophy. I can’t wait.”

Despite his second-place finish, Tharp was very happy to see his good friend win and advance directly to the Championship Round.

“That’s why I’ve always loved tournament fishing – when it comes down to the last second, the last cast, and having the opportunity like I did,” Tharp said. “My hat’s off to Gerald. I hope I made him sweat a little bit, because I sure had a good time this afternoon. I had my opportunities.”

Tharp said that he relied on just two rods Wednesday, and likely would only use two in the Knockout Round as well.

“Basically, I’m just flipping bushes and trees, and anything in front of me,” the Florida pro said. “I threw a Zoom Z-Hog with a 5/16-ounce weight and a straight shank flipping hook. Later in the day I picked up a little frog and that baby was awful good to me today. The average bite on the frog was way better than the flipping bite. I’m probably going to keep those two rods in my hand all day tomorrow and go to work and hopefully make the Championship Round.”

An emotional Jeff Kriet of Ardmore, Oklahoma, was the last man in, finishing the day in 20th place.

“Thank God, man. It has been such a stressful day,” Kriet said. “I needed this. I’ve been sucking, and I haven’t been catching them. Last year, in the first two tournaments of the year, I finished like dead last. I only made a couple of cuts last year. I need a good year, badly. This gives me confidence and that’s important, because I’d lost all confidence. I was literally thinking I might have to hang this stuff up. I know it’s not like I won the tournament today, but making the cut really means a lot to me. It’s not easy to do. And it’s some positive momentum. I’m tickled that I get to come back out here, tomorrow.”

Kriet credited two baits – a wacky-rigged Big Bite Baits Trick Stick and a Big Bite Baits Methiolate Floating Worm – for his success in the Qualifying Round.

The top 20 pros from Qualifying Group B that now advance to Thursday’s Knockout Round on Sam Rayburn Reservoir are:

1st:        Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., 15 bass, 50-0 (ADVANCES DIRECTLY TO CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND)
2nd:       Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., 16 bass, 47-15
3rd:       Shinichi Fukae, Osaka, Japan, 15 bass, 43-13
4th:        Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 15 bass, 42-0
5th:        Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 12 bass, 41-9
6th:        Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., 13 bass, 37-8
7th:        Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., 11 bass, 36-12
8th:        Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., 15 bass, 34-8
9th:        Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., nine bass, 32-3
10th:     Tommy Biffle, Wagoner, Okla., 11 bass, 32-2
11th:     Jeff Sprague, Point, Texas, 12 bass, 31-0
12th:     Matt Becker, Finleyville, Pa., 10 bass, 30-9
13th:     Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., 11 bass, 30-5
14th:     Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., 12 bass, 29-6
15th:     Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan, 12 bass, 29-1
16th:     Alton Jones Jr., Waco, Texas, 11 bass, 28-5
17th:     Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., 11 bass, 27-2
18th:     Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., nine bass, 26-0
19th:     Brent Chapman, Lake Quivira, Kan., 10 bass, 24-11
20th:     Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla., 11 bass, 23-6

Full results for the field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall Wednesday, there were 194 bass weighing 543 pounds, 13 ounces caught by 39 pros, which included two 7-pounders, three 6-pounders and three 5-pounders caught from Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

Lucas won the $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award on Wednesday, catching a 7-pound, 14-ounce largemouth which bit a swimbait in Period 2. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler that weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.

The MLF Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage One at Sam Rayburn Reservoir Presented by Power-Pole is hosted by the Jasper County Development District and the Jasper/Lake Sam Rayburn Chamber of Commerce.

The 40 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Sunday and Tuesday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Monday and Wednesday. With both groups two-day Qualifying Round complete, the anglers that finished in 2nd through 20th place from both groups now advance to Thursday’s Knockout Round, while the winner from each group advances directly to Friday’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. Full breakdown of the format can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.  

Attendance is limited to competing anglers, essential staff and media covering the event only. Fans are encouraged to follow the event online through the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com

The 2021 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 each day of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MLF NOW!®  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com. and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

Television coverage of the Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage One at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Power-Pole will be showcased across two two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, Aug. 28 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.

DeFoe Cruises to Win Qualifying Group A of Major League Fishing’s Toro Stage One at Sam Rayburn Reservoir Presented by Power-Pole

ASPER, Texas (March 23, 2021) – Pro Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tennessee, caught 14 bass Tuesday totaling 34 pounds, 4 ounces to vault to the top of the leaderboard and win the two-day Qualifying Group A round at the Toro Stage One at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Power-Pole . DeFoe’s two-day total of 25 bass weighing 59 pounds, 11 ounces earned him the win by a 9½-pound margin and now advances him directly into the Championship Round of competition, set for Friday. The six-day tournament is being live-streamed online and filmed for television broadcast on the Discovery Channel and the Outdoor Channel later this year.

Alabama’s Dustin Connell, the reigning REDCREST Champion, caught a two-day total of 16 bass weighing 50-3 to finish the round in second place, while day one leader Spencer Shuffield of Hot Springs, Arkansas, boated a two-day total of 13 bass weighing 41-10 to end the round in third place.

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 Wednesday. The Knockout Round, featuring 38 anglers competing to finish in the top eight, will take place on Thursday. Friday’s Championship Round will feature DeFoe, Wednesday’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.

“It’s such a huge relief to win and not have to come back out here to compete in the Knockout Round,” DeFoe said. “And now, I don’t have to beat my fish up again and the way I’ve been fishing that is a huge, huge plus. I can let those fish rest and don’t have to try to catch them two days in a row. I only have to come back out when it really matters, so I’m very excited about that.”

DeFoe got off to a fast start, catching eight scorable bass in Period 1, but his day slowed immensely in the final two periods with just two scorable bass in Period 2 and a three-fish flurry right around 3:30 p.m. in the final period. He said that he caught his fish on five different moving baits.

“What worked for me on Sunday morning worked again for me this morning, and that got me off to a really solid start,” DeFoe said. “The midday deal was a lot harder for me today. I spent a lot of the final period looking and I finally hit a place that was good and caught the three scorable fish really quick in the final period. I might have figured a little something out, and that could be a difference maker for me in the end.”

DeFoe plans to return to the same areas during Friday’s Championship Round and said he hopes it will have enough to earn him his second Texas victory on the Bass Pro Tour in two seasons.

“I’m all in on where I’m at,” DeFoe went on to say. “I’m incredibly excited to get back out there – equally as excited as I was last year for the final day on Lake Athens.”

Other than DeFoe’s 34-pound day, Spring City, Tennessee’s Wesley Strader had the second-highest weight on the day, catching six bass totaling 28 pounds, 15 ounces – including a 8-9 and a 6-1. Strader’s two-day total of 10 bass for 39-5 landed him in fifth place.

“We had a really fun day today,” the Tennessee pro said. “Hopefully things keep improving and we can expand a little bit on what we had going this morning. I’m looking forward to spending tomorrow regrouping and getting retied and everything ready to go for the Knockout Round.”

Although DeFoe’s 9½-pound margin of victory didn’t really lend much dramatics at the top of the leaderboard, the race to finish above the Toro Cut Line inside the top 20 proved very intense. Pro Brett Hite of Phoenix, Arizona, boated a 3-pound, 3-ouncer, with less than 10 minutes remaining in Period 3 to move into the Cut Line and knock out Texan Alton Jones, who finished in 21st place.

“Wow, that was intense. That, right there, is what Major League Fishing is all about – fish hard right to the end and never give up,” Hite said. “I had a rough day, and I worked my butt off. I had a real tough morning, but made the decision to make a long run at the end of the second period into the third period and it ended up being the right call. That’s one of the biggest things out here – you have to go with your gut and trust that you are making the right decision. Today, it paid off, and I’m really looking forward to getting back out here on Thursday.”

The top 20 pros from Qualifying Group A that now advance to Thursday’s Knockout Round on Sam Rayburn Reservoir are:

  1st:        Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., 25 bass, 59-11 (ADVANCES DIRECTLY TO CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND)
  2nd:       Dustin Connell. Clanton, Ala., 16 bass, 50-3
  3rd:       Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., 13 bass, 41-10
  4th:        Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., 10 bass, 39-5
  5th:        Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 12 bass, 34-2
  6th:        Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 10 bass, 31-12
  7th:        Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 13 bass, 30-15
  8th:        Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., nine bass, 30-9
  9th:        Ish Monroe, Oakdale, Calif., nine bass, 30-7
  10th:     Cliff Crochet, Pierre Part, La., 10 bass, 30-1
  11th:     Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 12 bass, 29-4
  12th:     Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss., six bass, 28-0
  13th:     Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 11 bass, 27-9
  14th:     Marty Robinson, Lyman, S.C., 10 bass, 26-10
  15th:     Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., nine bass, 26-2
  16th:     Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 25-15
  17th:     Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., six bass, 25-10
  18th:     Jason Lambert, Michie, Tenn., eight bass, 25-1
  19th:     Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., eight bass, 23-0
  20th:     Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., eight bass, 22-0

Full results for the field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 149 bass weighing 434 pounds, 13 ounces caught by 38 pros Tuesday, which included two 8-pounders, two 7-pounders, two 6-pounders and six 5-pounders caught from Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

Pace won Tuesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in an 8-pound, 11-ounce largemouth which bit a jerkbait in Period 1. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler that weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.

The MLF Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage One at Sam Rayburn Reservoir Presented by Power-Pole is hosted by the Jasper County Development District and the Jasper/Lake Sam Rayburn Chamber of Commerce.

The 40 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Sunday and Tuesday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Monday and Wednesday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the anglers that finish in 2nd through 20th place from both groups advance to Thursday’s Knockout Round, while the the winner of each group advances directly to Friday’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. Full breakdown of the format can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.  

Shuffield Leads Group A & Davis Leads Qualifying Group B of Major League Fishing’s Toro Stage One at Sam Rayburn Reservoir Presented by Power-Pole

JASPER, Texas (March 21, 2021) – Fishing in his first career Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour event, Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit angler Spencer Shuffield of Hot Springs, Arkansas, wasted no time in making an immediate impact. Shuffield boated nine scorable bass Sunday totaling 29 pounds, 12 ounces to jump out to the early lead in the Group A Qualifying Round at the Toro Stage 1 at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Power-Pole . The six-day competition, which awards a top cash prize of $100,000 to the winner, is being live-streamed online and filmed for television broadcast on the Discovery Channel and the Outdoor Channel later this year.

Just 1-ounce behind Shuffield in second place on the SCORETRACKER® leaderboard is a red-hot Dustin Connell, of Clanton, Alabama, the reigning REDCREST champion who caught 10 bass totaling 29-11. Bass fishing superstar Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, sits in third place, just 2 pounds back of Shuffield with 10 bass weighing 27-12.

The 40 anglers in Group A will now enjoy a day off Monday, while the 40 anglers in Group B will begin their first day of competition. Group A resumes competition on Tuesday.

“I’m really excited about it,” Shuffield said when asked about leading after day one in his first Bass Pro Tour event. “I got on a little something today that I didn’t know was happening, but it’s a way that I really like to catch them. Everything that I’m catching is postspawn, and the way things are looking I think they’re just going to continue coming to me, more and more.”

Shuffield said that he caught all of his fish on two different baits Sunday – a Yo-Zuri 3DB Jerkbait 110 Deep and a drop-shot rig.

“In practice I was catching 50 to 70 fish a day, but today I probably caught around 30,” Shuffield said. “I caught a lot of 1-12 to 1-15 (pound) fish, today. But, all in all, I’m satisfied. Of course, I’d like to have a 5-, 6- or 7-pound cushion over second – one ounce isn’t even really leading – but I’ll take it for my first day.”

Like Shuffield, most of the anglers near the top of the leaderboard were also throwing a jerkbait at certain points of the day, including Connell and VanDam.

“I caught a lot of fish on a jerkbait, today,” Connell said. “These fish are kind of staging up right now. It got pretty slow for me later in the day, so I was kind of bouncing around and practicing in the third period. I found a little zone that I like, so I’ve just been trying to expand on that a little bit.”

VanDam spent a lot of the day looking for schools of bass that were grouped up but didn’t have any luck, and spent the day picking off stragglers.

“I wasn’t really sure how it was going to happen, today, but it ended up being a solid day,” VanDam said. “I caught some good fish in practice, but I couldn’t find the big concentrations of them, and that’s the way it was today. One here, one there. I caught a few good ones and just mixed it up to keep myself in the hunt all day long.”

VanDam credited a Pro Blue-colored Strike King KVD jerkbait as being his key bait for most of the day, but he did also boat a few scorable bass with a gold-colored jerkbait as well.

“I’m just going to grind it out and fish the migration routes where these fish are coming into these big spawning basins – fishing points and ditches.”

The top 20 pros in Group A after Day 1 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir are:
1st:          Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., nine bass, 29-12
2nd:         Dustin Connell. Clanton, Ala., 10 bass, 29-11
3rd:         Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 10 bass, 27-12
4th:         Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., 11 bass, 25-7
5th:         Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., five bass, 23-9
6th:         Jason Lambert, Michie, Tenn., six bass, 20-10
7th:         Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., five bass, 18-3
8th:         Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., seven bass, 17-1
9th:         Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., seven bass, 17-1
10th:       Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., six bass, 16-8
11th:       Marty Robinson, Lyman, S.C., four bass, 14-5
12th:       Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., six bass, 14-2
13th:       Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., five bass, 13-13
14th:       Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 13-9
15th:       Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., five bass, 13-6
16th:       Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky., four bass, 12-15
17th:       Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., five bass, 12-11
18th:       David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn., five bass, 12-4
19th:       Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., four bass, 12-0
20th:       Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., four bass, 10-6

A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 155 bass weighing 439 pounds caught by 36 pros on Sunday, which included one 9-pounder, one 8-pounder, one 7-pounder and four 6-pounders caught from Sam Rayburn.

Connell won Sunday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in a 9-pound, 5-ounce largemouth on the jerkbait during Period 2. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler that weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.

DAY 2 Arkansas Veteran Jumps out to Early Lead after Day 1 for Qualifying Group B with 10 Bass in First Period Flurry

JASPER, Texas (March 22, 2021) – For Major League Fishing (MLF) fans following the MLF Now!® live stream, it looked like pro Mark Davis was having a very tough day on the water. Mid-way through the second period, the Mount Ida, Arkansas, veteran had yet to weigh a single fish and he remained at the bottom of the leaderboard without a scorable bass. Then, all of a sudden, Davis returned to an area that had cellular service and the SCORETRACKER® leaderboard lit up.

In actuality, Davis had a fantastic morning, boating 10 bass in the first period and jumping out to a big lead on day 1 of Qualifying Group B at the Toro Stage One at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Power-Pole. It just happened to be in an area that did not have cellular coverage, and therefore his SCORETRACKER updates were unable to send. When all was said and done, Davis caught a total of 12 bass weighing 28 pounds, 2 ounces, Monday to gain the early lead after Group B’s day 1, midway through their two-day Qualifying Round.

Pro Gerald Spohrer of Gonzales, Louisiana, sits comfortably in second place, just two pounds back of Davis with seven bass totaling 26-2. Brent Ehrler of Redlands, California, finished the day in third place with seven bass for 22-2, six pounds behind the leader. The six-day event awards a top cash prize of $100,000 to the winner and is being live-streamed online and filmed for television broadcast on the Discovery Channel and the Outdoor Channel later this year.

The 40 anglers in Group B will now enjoy an off day on Tuesday, while the 40 anglers in Qualifying Group A will complete their two-day Qualifying Round of competition. Group B will resume competition on Wednesday.

“I caught my fish this morning on a Strike King Red Eye Shad,” Davis said. “I had found this area in practice and I knew that the fish were there. I went in there this morning and started fishing shallow and there wasn’t much going on, then I saw a couple of them come up and bust, way out off of the bank.

“The trick was that I had to cast it out and let the bait sink, then kind of pump it,” Davis said. “It took a cadence with that lure to get them to bite. They wouldn’t just bite it on my cast and retrieve. You had to pump it, you had to work it out and kind of feel it around in the grass.”

Davis said that he threw the Red Eye Shad on a Lew’s KVD Composite Cranking rod paired with a Lew’s Hyper Mag reel, spooled with 15-pound test line.

“The fish were really biting it good – just swallowing it,” Davis said. “But, when it was over, it was done. I mean, it was done. I went to a Carolina rig and was able to catch a few more, but they were small. The shad were there and when the fish were ready to feed, they’ll feed. They’ll probably feed again later this afternoon.”

Spohrer did not have as fast of a start to the morning as Davis did, but his bite managed to be a bit more consistent throughout the entire day.

“The way my morning started, it wasn’t looking good,” the Louisiana pro said. “I had an area that I thought I was going to be my best spot where I’d get the most bites, and I didn’t get anything. I just kept my head down and kept fishing, swimming a jig all day and covering water. I figured out a little deal around the cypress trees, and it proved to be a good method for me.

“The fish are moving around, but I think I have a good feel for what they are doing and it should keep getting better and better for me. Hopefully I can get back out here on Wednesday and try to win the round to advance to Championship Friday,” Spohrer went on to say.

“It ended up being a brutal day for me,” said third-place angler Ehrler. “It started off really well – I felt like I was getting in a groove – then I went the entire second period without catching anything. Then with just an hour left in the third period I finally caught one more 3-pounder. So really, after the first period, I sucked pretty much all day. I’ve got some decisions to make here before Wednesday because I’m just really not comfortable. Hopefully I can change some things up and advance.”

The top 20 pros from Qualifying Group B after Day 1 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir are:
1st:          Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., 12 bass, 28-2
2nd:         Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., seven bass, 26-2
3rd:         Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., seven bass, 22-2
4th:         Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., seven bass, 21-4
5th:         Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., seven bass, 19-2
6th:         Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., six bass, 18-10
7th:         Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., six bass, 17-11
8th:         Matt Becker, Finleyville, Pa., five bass, 17-1
9th:         Brent Chapman, Lake Quivira, Kan., seven bass, 16-10
10th:       Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., six bass, 16-3
11th:       Tommy Biffle, Wagoner, Okla., five bass, 15-8
12th:       Jeff Sprague, Point, Texas, six bass, 15-5
13th:       Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., three bass, 13-15
14th:       Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, five bass, 13-8
15th:       David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 12-11
16th:       Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., four bass, 12-3
17th:       Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 11-10
18th:       Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., four bass, 11-9
19th:       Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., five bass, 11-8
20th:       Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla., five bass, 10-13

A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 167 bass weighing 457 pounds, 11 ounces caught by 39 pros on Monday, which included two 7-pounders and six 5-pounders caught from Sam Rayburn.

Scroggins won Monday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in a 7-pound, 9-ounce largemouth which bit on a bladed swimjig right at the end of Period 3. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler that weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.

The MLF Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage 1 at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Power-Pole is hosted by the Jasper County Development District and the Jasper/Lake Sam Rayburn Chamber of Commerce.

The 40 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day qualifying round on Sunday and Tuesday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Monday and Wednesday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the anglers that finish in 2nd through 20th place from both groups advance to Thursday’s Knockout Round, while the the winner of each group advances directly to Friday’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. Full breakdown of the format can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.  

Thrift Wins Qualifying Round at REDCREST 2021 Presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage on Lake Eufaula

EUFAULA, Ala. (Feb. 23, 2021) – Pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina, weighed in 15 bass totaling 50 pounds, 4 ounces over the first two days of competition to win the two-day Qualifying Round at REDCREST 2021, the Bass Pro Tour championship at Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama. The five-day competition features a field of 40 of the best anglers in the world from the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour competing for a top cash prize of $300,000.

The field is now cut to 20, and weights are zeroed as competition moves into the Knockout Round. A field of 10 anglers (Group A) will compete on Wednesday and the remaining 10 anglers (Group B) will compete Thursday. The top five anglers from each day advance to the fifth and final day of competition, Championship Friday.

Lake Eufaula was a bit tougher for anglers on Tuesday, however quite a few anglers, including Thrift, spent most of the day practicing and searching for new areas to fish during the upcoming Knockout Round.

“I didn’t catch a lot of fish today – only two scorable bass – but it was a fun day because I eliminated a lot of water,” Thrift said. “That’s pretty much all we got accomplished today, but that’s just a part of it. Sometimes that’s almost as good as finding the winning hole, because now I’ve got a great idea of what not to do when I get back out there, and that’s definitely a plus.

“It feels great to be leading in my very first REDCREST, but I’ve still got some work left to do,” Thrift said. “You can’t win if you don’t make it to the Championship Round. I’m looking forward to getting back out there and seeing what we can do.”

Reigning REDCREST champion, Oklahoma’s Edwin Evers, had a great day Tuesday, catching eight bass weighing 22 pounds, 4 ounces – the largest weight of the day – to vault from 25th place to inside the Toro Top 20 Cut and end the day in 8th place.

“I caught the largest weight of the day, and I know that doesn’t mean a lot to some of the guys that laid off their fish, but it gives me a lot of confidence going into the Knockout Round,” Evers said. “The majority of my fish today came on a Berkley PowerBait Power Hog. I’m learning more and putting more pieces of the puzzle together each day and I can’t wait to get back out there and compete in the Knockout Round.”

The top 20 pros that made the cut and will advance in competition at Lake Eufaula are:1st:           Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 50-4
2nd:          Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., 12 bass, 39-7
3rd:          Zack Birge of Blanchard, Okla., 10 bass, 36-3
4th:           Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tenn., 10 bass, 33-8
5th:           Takahiro Omori of Tokyo, Japan, 10 bass, 33-2
6th:           Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Ark., 11 bass, 31-1
7th:           Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., nine bass, 31-1
8th:           Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., 11 bass, 30-0
9th:           Alton Jones Jr. of Waco, Texas, 10 bass, 29-7
10th:        Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., nine bass, 28-12
11th:        David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., eight bass, 28-7
12th:        Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., 10 bass, 27-4
13th:        Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., eight bass, 27-0
14th:        Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark., seven bass, 26-8
15th:        Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn., eight bass, 26-4
16th:        Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., nine bass, 26-3
17th:        Jordan Lee of Cullman, Ala., six bass, 23-5
18th:        Fred Roumbanis of Russellville, Ark., nine bass, 23-3
19th:        Dustin Connell of Clanton, Ala., seven bass, 22-15
20th:        Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn., eight bass, 20-10
Full results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 105 bass weighing 101 pounds, 3 ounces caught by 35 pros on Tuesday, which included eight 5-pounders and eight 4-pounders caught.

Fletcher Shryock of Guntersville, Alabama, won Tuesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in a 5-pound, 14-ounce largemouth during Period 1. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler that weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $7,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.

The 10 anglers that will compete in the Group A Knockout Round on Wednesday are:

Zack Birge of Blanchard, Okla.
Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Ark.
Dustin Connell of Clanton, Ala.
Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark.
David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va.
Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C.
Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn.
Fred Roumbanis of Russellville, Ark.
Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn.
Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich.
The 10 anglers that will compete in the Group B Knockout Round on Thursday are:Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan.
Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tenn.
Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla.
Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C.
Alton Jones Jr. of Waco, Texas
Jordan Lee of Cullman, Ala.
Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn.
Takahiro Omori of Tokyo, Japan
Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla.
Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C.
REDCREST 2021 Presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage, the Bass Pro Tour championship at Lake Eufaula, is hosted by the Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce.

All 40 Anglers competed on Day 1 (Monday) and 2 (Tuesday) of the event. Now, the field is cut to just the top 20 based on two-day total cumulative weight. The remaining 20 anglers are split into two groups – 10 compete on Day 3 (Wednesday) and 10 compete on Day 4 (Thursday). The top five anglers from each group based on total single-day weight will advance to the fifth and final day of competition (Friday), where weights are zeroed and the angler that catches the highest total weight on the final day will be crowned the REDCREST 2021 champion.

Attendance is limited to competing anglers, essential staff and media covering the event only. Fans are encouraged to follow the event online through the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com

The 2020 Bass Pro Tour featured a field of 80 of the top professional anglers in the world competing in a COVID-shortened five regular-season tournaments around the country. The top 40 anglers in the Angler of the Year (AOY) standings after the five events qualified to compete in Bass Pro Shops REDCREST 2021 presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage.

The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action each day of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MLF NOW!®  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com. and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

Television coverage of REDCREST 2021 presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage, the Bass Pro Tour championship, will be showcased across two two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, July 3 on the Discovery Channel. A one-hour special episode of MLF Inside the REDCREST will premiere at 2 p.m. ET, Sunday, July 18 on CBS. 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.

Florida’s Panzironi Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League on Harris Chain

LEESBURG, Fla. (Jan. 11, 2021) – Eric Panzironi of Longwood, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 24 pounds, 12 ounces to win the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine at Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg, Florida. Panzironi earned $6,000 for his victory. 

“I stayed on Harris all day, which was a short run for me but it worked out nicely,” said Panzironi. “I caught all my fish on a black-colored Zoom Magnum Trick Worm in 10 to 12 feet of mostly dirty water.

“The real key to the victory was the Garmin LiveScope. I caught every single one of my fish directly beneath my boat and I could see them all. I dropped down to them and they’d eat it – it was amazing.”

Panzaroni said he was excited to walk away with a win at the first tournament of the year for the Gator division.

“It’s awesome – I love it,” he said. “To start off 2021 with a win at my first event – I definitely have no regrets.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament as follows:

            1st:       Eric Panzironi of  Longwood, Fla., five bass, 24-12, $6,000

            2nd:      Peter Thliveros of Saint Augustine, Fla., five bass, 22-7, $3,000

            3rd:       Joshua Parry of Saint Johns, Fla., five bass, 20-11, $3,000

            4th:       Jonathan Semento of Okahumpka, Fla., five bass, 19-8, $1,900 (includes $500 Phoenix Bonus)

            5th:       Tyler Sheppard of Jacksonville, Fla., five bass, 19-7, $1,200

            6th:       Grady Johnson of Saint Cloud, Fla., five bass, 18-7, $1,100

            7th:       Bill Troyer of Sarasota, Fla., five bass, 17-11, $1,000

            8th:       Robert Crosnoe of Inverness, Fla., five bass, 17-10, $900

            9th:       Grady Maynard of Umatilla, Fla., five bass, 17-4, $800

            10th:     McCoy (Simon) Borja of Fruitland Park, Fla., five bass, 16-9, $700

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Parry also caught the largest bass in the Boater Division, a 10-pound, 2-ounce largemouth, which was good for the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $1,000.

Semento took home an extra $500 as the highest finishing Phoenix MLF BIG5 Contingency Bonus member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

Mike Garrett of Pensacola, Florida, won the Co-angler Division and $3,000 Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 3 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers finished as follows:

            1st:       Mike Garrett of Pensacola, Fla., five bass, 22-3, $3,000

            2nd:      Shaun Ireland of Lake Worth, Fla., five bass, 17-4, $1,500

            3rd:       Aymon Wilcox of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., five bass, 17-3, $1,000

            4th:       Justin Brown of Frostproof, Fla., five bass, 16-6, $900

            5th:       Bradley Phillips of Alachua, Fla., five bass, 15-11, $600

            6th:       Justin Bun of Lake Alfred, Fla., five bass, 15-0, $550

            7th:       Joshua Dunn of Mulberry, Fla., five bass, 14-7, $500

            8th:       Jason Cooper of Shelbyville, Tenn., five bass, 14-0, $450

            9th:       Bobby McMullin of Pevely, Mo., five bass, 13-12, $400

            10th:     Jake Stines of Plant City, Fla., five bass, 12-8, $350

Luke Cocke of Valdosta, Georgia caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 8 pounds, 2 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $500.

The 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine on the Harris Chain of Lakes was hosted by Visit Lake County, FL.

The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the Gator Division based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 21-23 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on the St. Johns River in Palatka, Florida, hosted by the Putnam County Tourist Development Council. Boaters will compete for a $60,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury s outboard.

The 2021 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six 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 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American.

Texas’ Mundy Smashes at 2021 Season Kickoff of Phoenix Bass Fishing League on Sam Rayburn: Weighs in Fourth-Largest Five-Fish Limit in MLF History

BROOKELAND, Texas (Jan. 4, 2021) – Derek Mundy of Broaddus, Texas, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing a staggering 40 pounds, 10 ounces to win the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine season opener at Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas. Mundy earned $7,000 for his victory. 

Mundy said he found his fish in practice but didn’t realize just how good his spot was going to be.

“You can’t look on the graph and see 40 pounds, but I knew I could have a good bag if they bit,” Mundy said. “It’s not guaranteed you’re going to roll up to your first spot and catch 30, much less 40.

“I caught the first four on a big crankbait and they busted up a bit,” Mundy said. “Then I pulled out a jig and caught the last one. I caught those five, all on the first stop, in about 20 minutes.”

Fishing a Strike King 8XD and a ¾-ounce V&M The Flatline Pacemaker Football Jig, Mundy said he did all of his damage in about 17 feet of water, in the mid-lake region.

After catching five giants, including a 11-pound, 10-ounce largemouth, Mundy said he felt he could relax.

“I took it easy and went to some Plan B stuff to try to get my co-angler on fish, but it never worked out – the wind got up pretty bad in the afternoon,” he admitted.

Weighing his fish as soon as he was allowed, Mundy said he was content to wait for the weigh-in to conclude before collecting his check.

“It’s the biggest bag I’ve ever caught,” said Mundy, who makes his living working on oil pipelines. “It felt good. I didn’t realize they were that big until I was checking on them to make sure they were doing alright in the livewell, but even then, I didn’t realize I had 40 pounds.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament as follows:
 1st:  Derek Mundy of Broaddus, Texas, five bass, 40-10, $7,0002nd:  Cameron Mattison of Bossier City, La., five bass, 28-6, $3,000
3rd:  Tommy Loving of Cypress, Texas, five bass, 22-14, $2,000
4th:  Wyatt Frankens of Corrigan, Texas, five bass, 17-11, $1,400
5th:  Jimmy Hickman of Shreveport, La., five bass, 17-8, $1,200
6th:  Cannon Bird of Marshall, Texas, five bass, 16–6, $1,100
7th:  Chris McCall of Woodville, Texas, five bass, 15-15, $1,000
8th:  Richard Ballard of Sulphur, La., five bass, 15-12, $1,400
9th:  Dicky Newberry of Houston, Texas, five bass, 15-0, $800
10th:  Bobby Vice of Orange, Texas, five bass, 14-11, $665
10th:  Travis Franks of Lake Charles, La., five bass, 14–11, $665
 Mundy’s 11-pound, 10-ounce largemouth was also good for the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $1,000.

Ballard took home an extra $500 as the highest finishing Phoenix MLF BIG5 Contingency Bonus member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

Michael Petras of Biloxi, Mississippi, won the Co-angler Division and $3,000 Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds even.

The top 10 co-anglers finished as follows:
1st:  Michael Petras of Biloxi, Miss., five bass, 16-0, $3,000
2nd:  Shane Stoddard of Hot Springs, Ark., four bass, 15-4, $2,000
3rd:  Michael Horne of Dodson, La., five bass, 14-10, $1,000
4th:  Carson Dillinger of Bloomburg, Texas, five bass, 12-70
5th:   Tracy Hawkins of Corsicana, Texas, three bass, 11-15, $600
6th:   Julio Garza of Houston, Texas, five bass, 11-5, $550
7th:   Steve Lee of Benton, Ark., five bass, 11-2, $500
8th:   Daniel Bryant of LaFayette, La., five bass, 10-10, $450
9th:  Ryker Holmes of Arlington, Texas, five bass, 10-7, $400
10th:  John Webb of Fort Smith, Ark., four bass, 10-4, $332
10th:  Greg Boik of College Station, Texas, five bass, 10-4, $332
Stoddard caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 9 pounds, 15 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $500.

The 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine on Sam Rayburn Reservoir was hosted by the Jasper County Development District.

The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the Cowboy Division based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 21-23 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on Lake Ouachita in Mount Ida, Arkansas hosted by Visit Hot Springs. Boaters will compete for a $60,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury s outboard.

The 2021 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six 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 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American.

The 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American will be held June 3-5 at Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee and hosted by the Jefferson County Department of Tourism. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division earn priority entry into the Toyota Series, the pathway to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour.

BREAKING NEWS – Major League Fishing Announces REDCREST 2021 Shift to this Texas Lake

MLF Moves Championship Tournament to Proven Big-Fish Factory, REDCREST 2022 to Remain in Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. (Dec. 22, 2020) – Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that REDCREST 2021, the MLF Bass Pro Tour Championship, has been shifted to Lake Palestine in Flint, Texas. Originally scheduled to be held Feb. 23-27, 2021 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the dates have also shifted slightly to Feb. 21-25. REDCREST 2021 will showcase the top 40 Bass Pro Tour anglers from the 2020 season competing for the prestigious REDCREST title and the top prize of $300,000.

The decision to move the event was made after numerous Bass Pro Tour anglers suggested a new fishery location for the championship tournament after MLF announced the cancellation of the Outdoor Sports Expo in Tulsa in late November. With no Expo taking place, MLF officials agreed to shift the event to Lake Palestine, an 18-mile long Texas reservoir known for its tremendous bass-fishing and the numerous 10-plus-pound largemouth that live throughout the lake. The fishery is known for annually producing multiple bass that are recognized by the Texas Parks and Wildlife’s popular Toyota ShareLunker program.

CHECK OUT ALL THE NEWEST GEAR FROM ICAST

“Grand Lake is an awesome fishery, but when we found out that MLF was open to the consideration of shifting REDCREST 2021, it was something that most of us were really excited about,” said Ott DeFoe, who won the Bass Pro Tour Stage Three event on Texas’ Lake Fork last season and will be making his second REDCREST appearance. “When we found out that we were moving to Lake Palestine, it was even better. Texas certainly has a special place in my heart. REDCREST 2021 is going to be a tremendous way to kick off the season and a really fun tournament for the fans to follow. We’re going to see some absolute giants caught in this one – we’re hitting it just right – and we will likely see quite a few records broken there.”

In addition to the opportunity to feature the Championship event on an exciting fishery, the shift also made sense logistically, according to MLF Senior Director of Events & Partnerships Michael Mulone.

“It makes sense, from a business standpoint, to shift to Lake Palestine and save Tulsa and Grand Lake for REDCREST 2022,” Mulone said. “Grand Lake is a championship fishery, but when we postponed the Expo in Tulsa we realized that we could do a better job of highlighting Grand Lake with the Expo component. The fact that this will be our inaugural Expo, in the home of Major League Fishing, we want to ensure we are doing everything possible to not dilute the event in any way. We truly want to blow it out of the water next year and fully expect it to be the biggest show in town. We are grateful to our partners with the City of Grove, the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce and VisitTulsa that gave their blessings to shift the REDCREST 2021 tournament. We expect Lake Palestine and REDCREST 2021 to produce one of the most exciting tournaments in our company’s history.”

MLF announced in November that Tulsa and Grand Lake of the Cherokees will host REDCREST 2022, with the River Spirit Expo Square set to host the inaugural REDCREST 2022 Outdoor Sports Expo on March 25-27, 2022. Those dates remain unchanged.

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Jordan Lee Wins 2020 General Tire World Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops – Alabama Superstar Catches 2-Pounder in Final Minutes to Overtake Casey Ashley in Dramatic Finale, Earns Johnny Morris Award and Top Payout of $100,000

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (Nov. 16, 2020) – The 29-year-old Alabama superstar did it again. Major League Fishing (MLF) pro Jordan Lee of Cullman, Alabama, caught 37 bass totaling 69 pounds, 4 ounces, to narrowly edge out South Carolina’s Casey Ashley and win the 2020 General Tire World Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops in Grand Rapids, Minnesota and the top prize of $100,000.

It was a nail-biting finale that came down to the wire in the final day Championship Round that aired Saturday on Discovery. Lee caught his last fish – a 2-pound, 2-ounce largemouth – with just 14 minutes to spare in the final period, overtaking Ashley, who had put together a frantic 17 bass third-period rally to move to the top of the leaderboard. Lee’s last fish came on a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent The General worm.

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“Oh man, what a feeling,” said Lee, who was the 2020 Bass Pro Tour Angler of the Year, winner of the inaugural Heavy Hitters tournament in February, and now the 2020 General Tire World Champion. “Casey was just killing it right there at the end. It seemed like every time I caught one, he would catch two. It was gut-wrenching. I was listening to him bumping up the SCORETRACKER® and he just kept coming and I couldn’t do anything about it. I just had to keep my head down and focus on every single bite. That last fish turned out to be the difference maker. We fished all day long and I won by less than a pound. Unreal.”

Lee started out his day on Spider Lake targeting largemouth with a vibrating jig and a swimjig, before mixing in a frog and eventually the Berkley The General worm (black and black-and-blue) as the day progressed. He keyed on the shallow reeds and lily pads on the 1,392-acre lake.

“It was mostly a fun day of flipping and frogging, and that is what I love to do,” Lee said. “I mixed up a couple of different baits to start with, but the swim jig really got me started. It clued me in that the fish were around the reeds and the pads, and then I started catching some good ones.”

Lee led after Period 1 of competition and had a near 20-pound lead into Period 2 before his bite slowed in Period 3. Meanwhile, Ashley’s pattern caught fire. Ashley took the lead with 40 minutes remaining in the event, and the two anglers battled back and forth before Lee’s last-minute heroics clinched the victory.

“We were so close, I pretty much knew that whoever caught the last scorable bass was going to win,” said Lee. “As the clock ticked down, I kept expecting my boat official to tell me that Casey had caught one at the very end to take it, but luckily for me that didn’t happen.

“To win this event is just the best feeling in the world,” Lee went on to say. “MLF puts us out in the middle of nowhere – down dirt roads, places we’ve never fished before. I love that part of this game. It’s a level playing field, and to come away with a win against this bunch of guys – they’re the best in the world. This has been a special, special week. Nothing comes easy in this sport and I don’t take it for granted. I’ve had a great year. I’m fishing with confidence and I hope I can keep the good vibes going next season.”

The final six anglers at the 2020 General Tire World Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops in Grand Rapids, Minnesota finished:

                1st:          Jordan Lee of Cullman, Ala., 37 bass, 69-4
                2nd:         Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C., 35 bass, 68-5
                3rd:         Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., 28 bass, 48-2
                4th:         Takahiro Omori of Tokyo, Japan, 29 bass, 46-10
                5th:         Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., 20 bass, 43-6
                6th:         Cody Meyer of Star, Idaho, 10 bass, 21-10

Complete results and photos from the event can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Meyer caught the Berkley Big Bass of the day – a 5-pound, 2-ounce largemouth at the end of Period One that came on an unnamed finesse worm.

Overall, there were 159 bass weighing 297 pounds, 5 ounces caught by the final six pros during the Championship Round of competition on Spider Lake.

The 2020 General Tire World Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops was hosted by Visit Grand Rapids and premiered on the Discovery Channel as six, two-hour original episodes debuting on Oct. 10, 2020, and running through Nov. 14, 2020. The event, shot over six days in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, showcased 16 MLF pro anglers culminating the 2020 Cup season and competing for the top prize of $100,000.

Takahiro Omori Wins Day 3 Elimination Round at General Tire World Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops

Japanese pro Catches Two-Day total of 98 Pounds, 7 Ounces to Win Elimination Round, Joins Montgomery, Lee and Ashley in Sudden Death Round

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (Oct. 26, 2020) – Pro Takahiro Omori of Tokyo, Japan, caught 55 largemouth totaling 84 pounds, 3 ounces, on Lake Pokegama to win the Elimination Round 1 at the General Tire World Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Omori’s two-day cumulative total of 63 bass for 98-7 advanced the Japanese pro to the Sudden Death Round of competition in the six-day championship tournament, airing on Discovery, that showcases 16 of the best bass anglers from around the world competing for a top prize of $100,000.

Blacksburg, South Carolina’s Andy Montgomery was the first angler to advance into the Sudden Death Round after his victory in the day 1 Shotgun Round. He is now joined by Omori, along with pros Jordan Lee of Cullman, Alabama (57 bass, 96-3) and Casey Ashley of Donalds, South Carolina (51 bass, 88-13) as the four anglers advancing from Group 1. The Sudden Death Round episode is set to premiere in two weeks, Nov. 7.

“In the morning we had a lot of wind and rain, and it was cold. I really didn’t expect the fish to bite that good,” said Omori, who has career earnings of more than $2.7 million. “I went to my first spot and they started biting, right away. I caught something like 47 pounds in the first period – the most fish I’ve ever caught in a single period.

“After my first day, I was way down in the standings. But, after that first period, I realized I had a good chance to make it in to the top three,” Omori continued. “So, I stayed in that one general area – in the back end of a creek – for all three periods.”

Omori said that his key bait throughout the day was a  Z-Man Evergreen ChatterBait Jack Hammer, with a Z-Man RaZor ShadZ trailer (green-pumpkin), estimating that 90% of his fish came on that.

“The lake we were on today, Lake Pokegama, was amazing,” Omori said. “The lake and the conditions fit my fishing style really good, so I was really happy that they chose this lake.”

Looking ahead to the Sudden Death Round, Omori said that he will be ready to go, no matter what fishery tournament officials select as competition waters.

“I just focus on my fishing,” Omori said. “Usually, I’m a largemouth guy. I’m not saying that I hate smallmouth, but I definitely prefer to target largemouth. So, hopefully for the Sudden Death, we fish a lake with a bunch of largemouth. I’ll have both setups rigged up, and do whatever it takes.”

The four anglers advancing to the Sudden Death Round from (Group 1) are:

                1st:          Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., 19 bass, 42-6 *Shotgun Round 1 Winner*
                2nd:         Takahiro Omori of Tokyo, Japan, 63 bass, 98-7 *Elimination Round Winner*
                3rd:          Jordan Lee of Cullman, Ala., 57 bass, 96-3
                4th:          Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C., 51 bass, 88-13

Eliminated from competition in the 2020 General Tire World Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops were:

                5th:          Greg Vinson of Wetumpka, Ala., 42 bass, 83-3
                6th:          Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala., 27 bass, 65-15
                7th:          Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., 35 bass, 62-4
                8th:          Bobby Lane of Lakeland,  Fla., 22 bass, 39-2

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Complete results and photos from the day can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Martens caught the Berkley Big Bass of the day – a 4-pound, 7-ounce smallmouth that came offshore on a crankbait.

Overall, there were 221 bass weighing 368 pounds, 5 ounces caught by the seven pros on the day three Elimination Round of competition on Lake Pokegama.

The 2020 Major League Fishing General Tire World Championship in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, is hosted by Visit Grand Rapids.

In MLF General Tire World Championship competition, the full field of 16 pro anglers is split into two groups of eight – Group 1 and Group 2. Group 1 competed in a Shotgun Round on day one, Group 2 on day two, with the winners of each day advancing directly to the Sudden Death Round. The remaining seven anglers from each group carried their total weight on to the Elimination Round. The three anglers from each group’s Elimination Round with the highest cumulative two-day weight will advance to the Sudden Death Round – eight anglers total.

During the Sudden Death round, the eight anglers that advanced from the Shotgun and Elimination Rounds compete to become one of the first six to reach a qualifying weight – determined by MLF officials. The top six anglers then advance to the final Championship Round – where weights are zeroed and the highest total weight at the end of competition wins and will be declared World Champion.

Next week’s episode of the General Tire World Championship will feature Group 2 competing in their Elimination Round – Edwin Evers, Jared Lintner, Michael Neal, Jacob Powroznik, Mark Rose, Jeff Sprague and Jacob Wheeler – competing on Lake Wabana.

The General Tire World Championship, hosted by Visit Grand Rapids, will air on the Discovery Channel as six, two-hour original episodes each Saturday morning debuting on Oct. 10, 2020, and running through Nov. 14, airing from 7 to 9 a.m. EDT. The full television schedule can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com/tv-schedule.

Meyer Coasts to Victory after Shattering Records on Day 2 Shotgun Round at General Tire World Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (Oct. 19, 2020) – Major League Fishing (MLF) pro Cody Meyer of Auburn, California, had a pretty special day on Lake Pokegama that premiered Saturday morning on Discovery. The California pro caught 68 largemouth bass weighing 123 pounds, 12 ounces to win Shotgun Round 2 of competition at the General Tire World Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Meyer now advances directly into the Sudden Death Round of competition in the six-day championship tournament that showcases 16 of the best bass anglers from around the world competing for a top prize of $100,000.

Meyer’s final tally of 68 bass weighing 123-12 smashed previous MLF Cup records – it was the most fish caught in a single day of competition, and also the largest single-day weight in MLF Cup history.

In the post-game press conference, Meyer said it was one of the most special days in his career.

“I really wasn’t expecting to have that kind of a day,” Meyer said. “It ended up being one of the best days that I have ever had in my career, and the most fun that I’ve had fishing in a long time. To come out on top, with the anglers that were in this group, is really special.  It was such an awesome day – all day long I felt like I could call my shot.”

Meyer found most of his success fishing main-lake docks with every fish he caught coming on a wacky-rigged Yamamoto Senko (green-pumpkin and purple). He fished it on a 7-foot, 4-inch Daiwa Tatula Elite rod paired with a Daiwa Exist reel, using 10-pound braided line with a 10-pound fluorocarbon leader.

“I really though someone was going to win the day by flipping, but the docks were so loaded with fish. Every single dock had 2, 3, 4, even five fish on them. I caught 68 fish, which was incredible. But, I also lost around a dozen. It was by far the most fish and the most weight I have every caught in any MLF event.

“The key that I figured out was the sand,” Meyer continued. “The docks had to be really shallow, with deep water nearby. The fish got shallower and shallower as the day progressed, and if the docks were on sand there was fish on every single one of them.”

With his win, Meyer now advances directly into the Sudden Death Round, a day that many anglers call the most stressful day of fishing they experience.

“I’m definitely confident on the fisheries up here in Minnesota, and I’m having a lot of fun,” Meyer said. “But now I need to get ready for Sudden Death, which is 100% the most stressful day that you can have in bass fishing. There is never any down time, and you have to catch them fast. I went through eight or nine bags of baits today, and I’m definitely going to need to find some more before we fish Sudden Death.”

The standings after Saturday’s airing of the Day Two Shotgun Round (Group 2) are:

                1st:          Cody Meyer of Auburn, Calif., 68 bass, 123-12
                2nd:         Jeff Sprague of Point, Texas, 67 bass, 105-4
                3rd:         Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., 47 bass, 94-13
                4th:         Mark Rose of Wynne, Ark., 52 bass, 84-0
                5th:         Jared Lintner of Arroyo Grande, Calif., 48 bass, 76-11
                6th:         Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., 45 bass, 72-14
                7th:         Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn., 42 bass, 70-4
                8th:         Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn., 35 bass, 54-14

Complete results and photos from the day can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

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Lintner caught the Berkley Big Bass of the day – a 4-pound, 5-ounce largemouth that bit a jig on the docks.

Overall, there were 404 bass weighing 1,171 pounds, 8 ounces caught by the eight pros on day two of competition on Lake Pokegama.

The 2020 Major League Fishing General Tire World Championship in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, is hosted by Visit Grand Rapids.

In MLF General Tire World Championship competition, the full field of 16 pro anglers is split into two groups of eight – Group 1 and Group 2. Group 1 competed in a Shotgun Round on day one, Group 2 on day two, with the winners of each day advancing directly to the Sudden Death Round. Now, the remaining seven anglers from each group carry their total weight on to the Elimination Round. The three anglers from each group’s Elimination Round with the highest cumulative two-day weight will advance to the Sudden Death Round – eight anglers total.

During the Sudden Death round, the eight anglers that advanced from the Shotgun and Elimination Rounds compete to become one of the first six to reach a qualifying weight – determined by MLF officials. The top six anglers then advance to the final Championship Round – where weights are zeroed and the highest total weight at the end of competition wins and will be declared World Champion.

Next week’s episode of the General Tire World Championship will feature Group 1 competing in their Elimination Round  – Casey Ashley, Brent Ehrler, Bobby Lane, Jordan Lee, Aaron Martens, Takahiro Omori and Greg Vinson – competing on Lake Pokegama.

The General Tire World Championship, hosted by Visit Grand Rapids, will air on the Discovery Channel as six, two-hour original episodes each Saturday morning starting Oct. 10, 2020, and running through Nov. 14, airing from 7 to 9 a.m. EDT. The full television schedule can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com/tv-schedule.

About Major League Fishing
Founded in 2011, Major League Fishing (MLF) brings the high-intensity sport of competitive bass fishing into America’s living rooms on Outdoor Channel, Discovery, CBS, CBS Sports Network, World Fishing Network, Sportsman Channel, and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). According to Nielsen ratings, Major League Fishing remains the number one series on Outdoor Channel for five years and MLF premiered as the number one outdoor show in their time slot on Discovery in 2019. 

In 2019 MLF acquired FLW, which expands their portfolio to include the world’s largest grassroots-fishing organization, including the strongest five-biggest-fish format professional bass fishing tour, the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, as well as the Toyota Series, Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine, Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI, and High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing.

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Montgomery Wins Day One Shotgun Round at General Tire World Championship on Discovery

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (Oct. 12, 2020) – Pro Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, South Carolina, caught 19 bass totaling 42 pounds, 6 ounces to win the opening Shotgun Round of competition at the General Tire World Championship in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. For the win, Montgomery now advances directly into the Sudden Death Round of competition in the six-day championship bass tournament that showcases 16 of the best bass anglers from around the world competing for a top prize of $100,000.

The opening day of competition on Discovery showcased the eight competing anglers in Group 1 fishing on Northern Minnesota’s Lake Wabana. Montgomery had a big third-period rally, catching 10 bass for 23-12 in the final period to surpass Greg Vinson and Jordan Lee and earn the win by a narrow 1-pound, 4-ounce margin.

“For once, on a tournament day, everything played out just like I hoped it would,” Montgomery said in his post-game press conference. “I wanted to put the heat on the docks early, before others got a chance to fish them. I was able to do that and caught all of the largemouth that I could. I also knew coming into this that I was going to have to catch smallmouth somehow. I went a little while before I caught one, but once I finally did my confidence went through the roof because I caught it shallow, and it was a pattern that I could run across the lake.

“I mainly threw a lot of moving baits,” Montgomery continued. “I thought I’d maybe catch them deep on a drop-shot rig, but the wind took that away. So, I bounced back and forth throughout the day – from the docks out to the underwater islands, then back to the docks, then back to the islands. Timing was extremely important, and it was really good for me today.”

Montgomery said that he caught his largemouth on the docks with a Strike King Tour Grade Skipping Jig with a matching Rage Bug trailer. When fishing for smallmouth on the offshore islands, he threw a small Strike King Thunder Cricket vibrating jig and an unnamed swimbait.

“The third period was very important, and I felt like I had a really good gameplan,” Montgomery said. “I had the smallmouth pattern established, but I also had some docks in my mind that I had watched another competitor fish, but I felt like I could still catch some fish off of them. So, I re-fished those and caught a few key fish and then when they were done I didn’t try to force it – I went back offshore to the smallmouth.”

Montgomery now becomes the first angler to advance directly into the Sudden Death Round, a feat that he is proud of, but according to him there is still a lot of work left to be done.

“There is just something about this World Championship… I’ve fished a lot of big tournaments before. FLW Cups, Classics, I’ve fished them all. But there is something about this event, I just want to win it so badly. That is the only reason I’m here,” Montgomery went on to say.

The standings after Saturday’s airing of the Day One Shotgun Round (Group 1) are:

                1st:          Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., 19 bass, 42-6
                2nd:         Jordan Lee of Cullman, Ala., 23 bass, 41-2
                3rd:         Greg Vinson of Wetumpka, Ala., 14 bass, 39-12
                4th:         Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala., 11 bass, 28-9
                5th:         Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C., seven bass, 14-11
                6th:         Takahiro Omori of Tokyo, Japan, eight bass, 14-4
                7th:         Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., seven bass, 13-7
                8th:         Bobby Lane of Lakeland,  Fla., five bass, 10-1

Complete results and photos from the day can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Montgomery also caught the Berkley Big Bass of the day, a 4-pound, 2-ounce largemouth.

Overall, there were 94 bass weighing 204 pounds, 4 ounces caught by the eight pros on day one of competition on Wabana Lake.

The 2020 Major League Fishing General Tire World Championship in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, is hosted by Visit Grand Rapids.

In MLF General Tire World Championship competition, the full field of 16 pro anglers is split into two groups of eight – Group 1 and Group 2. Group 1 competes in a Shotgun Round on day one, Group 2 on day two, with the winners of each day advancing directly to the Sudden Death Round. The remaining seven anglers from each group carry their total weight on to the Elimination Round competition. The three anglers from each group with the highest cumulative two-day weight will advance to the Sudden Death Round – eight anglers total.

During the Sudden Death round, the eight anglers that advanced from the Shotgun and Elimination Rounds compete to become one of the first six to reach a qualifying weight – determined by MLF officials. The top six anglers then advance to the final Championship Round – where weights are zeroed and the highest total weight at the end of competition wins and will be declared World Champion.

Next week’s episode of the General Tire World Championship will feature Group 2 – Michael Neal, Edwin Evers, Jacob Wheeler, Mark Rose, Jeff Sprague, Jared Lintner, Cody Meyer and Jacob Powroznik – competing on Pokegama Lake.

The General Tire World Championship, hosted by Visit Grand Rapids, will air on the Discovery Channel as six, two-hour original episodes each Saturday morning starting Oct. 10, 2020, and running through Nov. 14, airing from 7 to 9 a.m. EDT. The full television schedule can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com/tv-schedule.

BREAKING NEWS – Major League Fishing and FLW Unify as One Brand

TULSA, Okla. (Sept. 29, 2020) – To further elevate the sport of tournament bass fishing and align multiple circuits as one company, Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today its unification with Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) as one brand, transitioning all FLW brand assets to MLF. 

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Toyota Series, Phoenix Bass Fishing League, Abu Garcia College Fishing and High School Fishing will all carry the MLF logo and continue the five-biggest-fish format. A new website that builds on the existing sites, streamlines tournament entry, provides cutting-edge gear and tactics advice, and better highlights participating anglers is set to be unveiled in early 2021.

“Merging the FLW brand under the Major League Fishing umbrella is the next logical step in our company’s evolution, which now includes a broader reach than any of us thought possible in our formative years,” MLF BIG5 Executive Vice President and General Manager Kathy Fennel said. “The key to our success lies not in a name, but in our unwavering focus on providing the best possible tournaments for anglers, fans, hosts and sponsors – our family. Uniting with MLF under a single brand makes the whole greater than the sum of the pieces. The letters may be different, but the people and the values will remain the same.”

The FLW organization now known as “Major League Fishing BIG5” began life as Operation Bass. Founded on the shores of Kentucky Lake in 1979 by Mike Whitaker, a teacher and football coach turned electronics salesman, Operation Bass grew from humble beginnings to become the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization with five circuits and more than 300 events in 11 countries offering $21 million in awards.

Operation Bass was purchased by Minneapolis businessman Irwin L. Jacobs in 1996 and renamed FLW Outdoors in 2001 to honor Forrest L. Wood and the principles he embodied. While those principles still guide the company, FLW became Fishing League Worldwide in 2014 to set the stage for international growth, which now includes bass tournaments in Canada, China, Italy, Mexico, Namibia, Korea, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Zimbabwe.

Fishing League Worldwide was acquired by Major League Fishing in November 2019. The acquisition was the most significant brand merger in competitive bass fishing history, linking an innovative tour and original, award-winning programming featuring the top professional anglers in the world to the extensive grassroots organization that serves tens of thousands of competitive anglers from high school and college students to weekenders and tour pros.

“The unrivaled television audience paired with unmatched tournament activation, MLF Bass Fishing magazine, a combined social media following in excess of one million fans, the sport’s most comprehensive live on-the-water coverage, and two of the sport’s top websites united under a single brand was a natural progression as the two organizations combine,” said Don Rucks, MLF Executive Vice President and General Manager.

To delineate between the Major League Fishing format of catch-weigh-immediate release competition, the five-biggest-fish tournament circuits will operate as the Major League Fishing BIG5 and will capitalize on MLF’s incredible reach on Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, World Fishing Network, Discovery, CBS and MyOutdoorTV (MOTV).

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New logo art will be provided to business partners, sponsors and anglers. The company expects that the changeover to the new name, logo and website will be completed by Q1 of 2021.

About Major League Fishing
Founded in 2011, Major League Fishing (MLF) brings the high-intensity sport of competitive bass fishing into America’s living rooms on Outdoor Channel, Discovery, CBS, CBS Sports Network, World Fishing Network, Sportsman Channel, and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). According to Nielsen ratings, Major League Fishing remains the number one series on Outdoor Channel for five years and MLF premiered as the number one outdoor show in their time slot on Discovery in 2019. 

In 2019 MLF acquired FLW, which expands their portfolio to include the world’s largest grassroots-fishing organization, including the strongest five-biggest-fish format professional bass fishing tour, the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, as well as the Toyota Series, Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine, Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI, and High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing.

Pace Passes Poche to Win Auto-Berth to Friday’s Championship:

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2020 (Sturgeon Bay, Wisc.) Major League Fishing (MLF) Pro Cliff Pace won Covercraft Stage Five presented by Abu Garcia Group B Qualifying Round to advance directly to the Championship, joining Group A winner Justin Lucas in one of ten spots. With half the field eliminated, 38 anglers begin Tuesday’s Knockout Round at zero weight to compete over the remaining eight spots in Wednesday’s Championship Round. The 2020 Bass Pro Tour Seasons Points Championship may come down to Tuesday’s Knockout Round with Jordan Lee, Jacob Wheeler, and Ott DeFoe all battling to advance. Competition resumes Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. CT on MLFNOW!
MLF Pro Stephen Browning caught the Berkley Big Bass of the Day and hung on to 20th place to advance to Tuesday’s Knockout Round. Photo credit: Phoenix Moore/Major League Fishing
40-year-old Pace caught 107 pounds, nine ounces to climb from seventh place after Day One (Saturday) and win with a two-day total of 174 pounds on 58 bass. Pace advances directly into Wednesday’s Championship Round joining Justin Lucas who won Group A Qualifying Round on Sunday. The HIGH-SEAS Pro said it wasn’t easy this week and he’s grateful for a day off (Tuesday). 
 
“I’m one happy man!” said Pace shortly after MLF Official Mike David confirmed his victory on SCORETRACKER®. “I’m tickled to death to have won today because everything here is such a variable. You don’t know what Mother Nature is going to do and everything can fall out of place. A win today means that I don’t have to compete tomorrow and maybe capitalize on a great event in Wisconsin on Wednesday.” 
 
Pace caught nearly all 58 bass over two days with a wacky worm in clear water – both 20, 25-feet deep and shallow. His told fans that a consistent, long cast was a key to his victory. A Mississippi-resident, Pace won the final Stage of the 2019 Bass Pro Tour in Neenah, Wisconsin last July
 
Keith Poche started out slow with zero scorable catches in the first three hours of competition and ultimately ended the day with 53 pounds and a two-day total of 165 pounds, 11 ounces. Jordan Lee and Mike Iaconelli led the field at different points in the day before ultimately being out paced by Pace as well. 
 
Stephen Browning caught the Berkley Big Bass of the day weighing in at five pounds, one ounce. His two-day total of 82 pounds, 10 ounces was enough to maintain a 20th place finish and secure a spot in Tuesday’s Knockout Round. After finishing Day One in the top 20, Britt Myers and Adrian Avena fell below the Elimination Line in 21st and 26th places respectively making room for Matt Lee and Ish Monroe to advance. After only scoring 12 pounds, 13 ounces on Day One (Saturday), Jared Lintner made the biggest gain of the day by scoring an additional 119 pounds, five ounces to finish in sixth with a two-day total of 132 pounds, two ounces. 
 
The Top Ten of Qualifying Group B finished as follows:
 PlaceAnglerTwo-Day Total Two-Day TotalLargest Fish over Two-Day Round1Cliff Pace174-00584-142Keith Poche165-11624-033Jordan Lee155-04554-104Mike Iaconelli144-05494-085Bobby Lane132-09434-095Jared Lintner132-02444-047Cody Meyer122-11414-078Jason Christie116-01424-019Alton Jones112-05424-0310Bradley Roy109-06394-09 
 
20 anglers fell below the Elimination Line ending their respective 2020 Bass Pro Tour seasons, including Chris Lane, Zack Birge, and Brent Ehrler who had all won Qualifying Rounds in previous 2020 Bass Pro Tour stops. For complete results, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com, Bass Pro Tour, Results.
 
The competition continues Tuesday when the 38 qualifiers take to the water for the Covercraft Stage Five presented by Abu Garcia Knockout Round, including current Season Points contenders Jordan Lee (276), Jacob Wheeler (267), Ott DeFoe (264), and Jeff Sprague (249).  Each angler earns Points (80-1) awarded by finishing place (1-80) at each Stage of the Bass Pro Tour. The Pro with the most points at the end of the season earns the title of “Bass Pro Tour Points Champion.” With Fletcher Shryock and Michael Neal eliminated and the remaining four battling out for one of eight spots remaining in Wednesday’s Championship Round, Tuesday’s competition may be the most consequential of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour season.  
 
Pending no weather delays, the Knockout Round begins at Sawyer Park Boat Launch, Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., 6:15 a.m. CT when the field reports to pick-up their MLF Official and camera operators before trailering to the ramp of his choice. With lines in at 8:00 a.m. CT, the competition consists of three, 150-minute periods. 
 
 

Major League Fishing Moves Stage Five from Lake Champlain

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 15, 2020 (Tulsa, Okla.) Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that Bass Pro Tour Stage Five presented by Covercraft will not take place on Lake Champlain as previously announced. Earlier today Vermont Governor Phil Scott amended and reinstated Executive Order 01-20, which states that visitors must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Due to previously scheduled events, MLF pros and League staff cannot accommodate that order and will move the July event. 
 

Subject to a successful connectivity survey to support SCORETRACKER® and MLFNOW!production, MLF will move final Stage of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The dates remain the same, July 10-15, 2020. Exact fisheries will be shared with competitors as determined by the Tournament Director and MLF Production teams based on the pending site survey. 
 

“While we are disappointed that we cannot have the final Stage of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour on Lake Champlain as originally planned, we understand the situation and look forward to the opportunity to showcase Vermont in the future.” said Michael Mulone, Major League Fishing Sr. Director of Events. “We appreciate Destination Sturgeon Bay helping us pull together an outstanding event under an abbreviated timeline.”

Major League Fishing Returns June 7 to Kissimmee Chain: 2020 Bass Pro Tour Schedule Cut Short in Wake of COVID-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 8, 2020 (Tulsa, Okla.) Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today the return of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour on June 7-12 with Heavy Hitters featuring a $745,000 purse and the full field of 80 Pros. The 2020 Tour will conclude July 10-15 on Lake Champlain after five Stages. For the safety of all involved, fan events and gatherings are cancelled for the remainder of the season. This revised schedule permits MLF to deliver an additional 100+ hours of live-action sports as well as meet television production deadlines to fulfill sponsorship agreements despite the unprecedented season. On March 23rd following three successful Stages, MLF paused the Bass Pro Tour in an abundance of caution due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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“After working with state, local, and Public Health officials, we feel we can return to the water for two final tournaments in 2020,” said Boyd Duckett, MLF Co-Founder and pro angler.  “Fishing is an inherently socially distant sport and while we will miss seeing our fans face-to-face, the Bass Pro Tour can deliver the drama of live-action sports to fans, while participating responsibly in a phased approach to help restart the economy.” 
 
Heavy Hitters presented by Venmo will take place on Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho) and the Kissimmee Chain two weeks later than originally planned, June 7-12. No longer a mid-season qualifier, the event will feature all 80 MLF Pros in a traditional six-day, Bass Pro Tour format while still featuring an untraditional $745,000 purse and full-field payout. Heavy Hitters will serve as Stage Four toward the season-long Bass Pro Tour Points Championship, awarded to the angler with the most points at the conclusion of the season. 
 
In addition to the traditional payout schedule based on finishing order, the biggest bass caught for each Group over the two-day Qualifying Rounds (June 7-10) will pay a $25,000 big bass bonus ($50,000 total). The Knockout Round on day five (June 11), will feature a $50,000 big bass bonus, while the Championship Round (June 12) will feature a $100,000 big bass bonus, on top of the Stage Title $100,000 prize. 
 
In response to the shortened season, MLF revised the payout schedule for Heavy Hitters presented by Venmo to include all 80 anglers: 1st $100,000; 2nd $40,000; 3rd $15,000; 4th $13,000; 5th $12,000; 6th $11,000; 7th $10,000; 8th $9,000; 9th $8,000; 10th$7,000; 11th – 20th $6,000; 21st – 40th $5,000; 41st – 80th $4,000. Each competitor is guaranteed a $4,000 check.
 
“As an angler-driven league, we worked with the Pros to identify a schedule that preserves as many opportunities as possible for our guys to compete and receive a paycheck during this unprecedented time,” said Jim Wilburn, MLF President and CEO.  “Our media-centric format and exceptional production team enables us to create significant exposure for our field with over 550 hours of original programming via livestream, Discovery Channel, CBS, CBS Sports, and Sportsman Channel.” 
 
As the economy begins to reopen in Florida, Experience Kissimmee looks forward to welcoming Major League Fishing to their community. 
 
“We are thrilled to welcome back Major League Fishing to Kissimmee for another successful event,” said Kissimmee Sports Executive Director John Poole. “While the destination is following the Florida governor’s plan to reopen in phases, we are grateful to have the opportunity to provide both live and recorded television content for viewers across the country to continue experiencing Kissimmee from home.”
 
The 2020 Bass Pro Tour will conclude with the Evinrude Stage Five presented by Covercraft July 10–15 on Lake Champlain hosted by Experience Vermont. The abbreviated five-stage Bass Pro Tour encompasses the race to qualify for the 2021 REDCREST Championship and win the overall 2020 points race. After the General Tire Stage Three presented by TrueTimber on Lake Fork, Ott DeFoe leads the field with 227 points, while reigning Champion Edwin Evers sits near the Elimination Line at 29thplace with 146 points. 
 
“I’m glad that we’re able to return to fishing at this point,” said DeFoe. “Five stages are better than three and the fisheries that we have ahead of us are outstanding fisheries that will make for great contests. Despite being only five stages, this is a very diverse schedule and we will take what we can get in what has turned into an unprecedented season.” 
 
“I’m excited to get back to fishing,” said Evers. “It’s in our blood and for me to have the National Anthem go off and get back in the boat and compete against the best guys in this race for a REDCREST qualifier will be fantastic. Over these last few weeks, this competition has been missing in my life!” 
 
With the remainder of the 2020 season cut short due to the worldwide pandemic, MLF continues to work with 2020 host Bass Pro Tour hosts – Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the City of Ogdensburg – for future events. As announced last month, Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees will serve as the competition waters for REDCREST 2021 hosted by Tulsa Sports Commission, February 23-27, 2021 with the inaugural REDCREST Outdoor Expo February 26-28, 2021.
 
 
About the Bass Pro Tour:
 
The Bass Pro Tour began in 2019 and features 80 of the best professional anglers in the world, including Kevin VanDam, Edwin Evers, Aaron Martens, Mike Iaconelli, Jordan Lee, and Skeet Reese. Each stage includes six days of competition using the Major League Fishing, catch-weigh-and-immediately-release format, where every bass over a variable minimum weight, which is two pounds on Lake Eufaula for Stage One, toward a cumulative weight total for the day.  Variable minimum weights are determined by fishery akin to a golf course handicap. The field of 80 anglers is divided into two groups (Group A and B) of 40 to compete in the Qualifying Round where a two-day cumulative weight total determines the winners. The winners of Groups A and B receive automatic berths to the Championship Round and the anglers finishing in places 2-19 (38 total) advance to the Knockout Round on day five. The top eight from the Knockout Round join the winners in Groups A and B (field of 10) to compete in the Championship Round and a shot at the $100,000 top prize and Stage Title.
 
Each of Eight Stages of the Bass Pro Tour have the following payout schedule: 1st $100,000; 2nd $42,000; 3rd $30,000; 4th$24,000; 5th $18,000; 6th $16,800; 7th $15,600; 8th $14,400; 9th $13,200; 10th $12,000; 11th – 40th $6,000; Big Bass Daily $1,000; Big Bass Overall $1,000.
 
In addition to the economic impact on a host community, Major League Fishing showcases the region through their award-winning, live and linear programming. Each Stage of the Bass Pro Tour is broadcast live on the Major League Fishing app, MyOutdoorTV (MOTV), and majorleaguefishing.com, totaling more than 325 hours of original programming. Fans can follow the fast-paced nature of the MLF format as it unfolds on the live leaderboard through “SCORETRACKER® updates.” Highlights from each Stage of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour will air on Discovery Network beginning in July 2020 and Sportsman Channel in early 2021. 
 
“MLF offers the strongest broadcast presence in the industry to fans and sponsors,” said Jim Wilburn, President and CEO of Major League Fishing. “And with these lakes planned for this coming Bass Pro Tour, we know 2020 will be our best year yet as we continue to capture a broad audience of both longtime fishing fans and those new to the sport, thanks to our fast-paced, fan-friendly format,” 

2021 MLF REDCREST

Major League Fishing Announces Tulsa To Host REDCREST in February 2021: REDCREST Kicks Off the 2021 Bass Pro Tour Schedule

April 14, 2020 (Tulsa, Okla.)  Major League Fishing (MLF) announced that Tulsa, Oklahoma and Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees will host REDCREST 2021, the Bass Pro Tour Championship on February 23 – 27, 2021. The field of the top 30 MLF Pros, based on points accumulated during the 2020 Bass Pro Tour season, will compete for the REDCREST title and top prize of $300,000. In addition to the five-day tournament streamed live, the event will feature a consumer Outdoor Sports show in the 350,000-square-foot River Spirit Expo at Tulsa’s Expo Square February 26-28, 2021.
 
“We’re thrilled to bring our premiere event and the top 80 Pro anglers in the world to our hometown, Tulsa,” said Jim Wilburn, President and CEO of Major League Fishing. “Northeastern Oklahoma offers exceptional bass fishing as well as a central location for our fans from across the country to gather and celebrate the best in competitive bass fishing. We look forward to showcasing Tulsa to the world in over 60 hours of live and linear broadcasts.”
 
Major League Fishing partnered with VisitTulsa and the Tulsa Sports Commission, divisions of Tulsa Regional Tourism, to host REDCREST 2021.
 
“We are excited to announce that Tulsa was selected as the host city for REDCREST, the MLF Bass Pro Tour Championship,” said Ray Hoyt, President, Tulsa Regional Tourism. “Hosting clearly has a huge economic impact for Tulsa. Luring in thousands of fishing fans from across the U.S., Tulsa will create a significant boost to our hotels, restaurants and shops, as well as taxes that will benefit Tulsans regionally. We’re honored to partner with the great team at Major League Fishing and look forward to showing attendees and viewers alike all that Tulsa has to offer.” 
 
MLF will stream REDCREST live over 50 hours on MLFNOW! and MyOutdoorTV. In addition, MLF produces 11 hours of original television programming to air on Discovery and CBS Network as well as over 100 hours of re-airs on Sportsman Channel and CBS Sports, which amounts to significant exposure to the host community.
 
REDCREST includes five days of competition using the Major League Fishing, catch-weigh-and-immediately-release format, where every bass over a variable minimum weight counts toward a cumulative weight total for the day. Variable minimum weights are determined by fishery, akin to a golf course handicap. The championship field of 30 anglers competes in the Qualifying Round (Feb. 23-24, 2021) where a two-day cumulative weight total determines the top 20 who will advance to the Knockout Rounds. In the Knockout Rounds (Feb. 25-26, 2021), the field is divided into two groups of 10 with each group fishing one day only.  The top five from each group in the Knockout Rounds compete in the Championship Round on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021 and a shot at the $300,000 top prize and title of “REDCREST Champion.” 
 
According to MLF rules, the REDCREST field of 30 is determined by points ranking at the end of the eight-Stage, 2020 Bass Pro Tour, which was originally scheduled February through July 2020. MLF paused the 2020 season earlier this year in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic by postponing events through April. MLF leadership is monitoring the national situation and will follow the advice of medical and Public Health officials to resume the 2020 Bass Pro Tour season as soon as safely possible. 
 
“As our nation shelters to protect our neighbors and our families from this unprecedented situation, we find comfort knowing that we have the 2021 REDCREST to look forward to,” said MLF Co-Founder Boyd Duckett.  “Fishing is inherently a socially distancing sport and with proper precautions can be at the forefront of our nation’s economic recovery.” 
 
“We are excited to welcome Major League Fishing to Tulsa,” commented Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. “At a time when our tourism industry, and those around the world, are struggling, this news is a welcome reminder that our community will bounce back quickly as a visitor and event destination.” 
 
After the first three Stages of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour, the following 10 anglers lead the REDCREST 2021 points race: Ott DeFoe(227 points); Brent Chapman (209); Andy Montgomery (204); Fletcher Shryock (200); Michael Neal (198); Jacob Powroznik (198); Jacob Wheeler (196); Jeff Sprague (196); Jordan Lee (196); Alton Jones, Jr. (185). Kevin VanDam, the winningest angler in competitive bass fishing history, currently sits in 18th place with 166 points while reigning REDCREST Champion and Northeastern Oklahoma resident Edwin Evers sits at 29th place. With a $700,000 total purse on the line, MLF pros strive to earn an appearance in the Bass Pro Tour Championship.
 
“I’m really excited for our biggest event to be in Tulsa and on Grand Lake, where I personally have had a lot of success,” said VanDam. “And when it’s all said and done, one of us will walk away with a check for $300,000 and the prestige and notoriety that goes along with the title ‘REDCREST Champion’.” 
 
“REDCREST is our biggest event of the year and we all work hard all year long to put as many fish on the SCORETRACKER® as possible to make it to the Bass Pro Tour Championship,” said Evers. “Northeastern Oklahoma has a huge community of competitive bass fishing fans and I have no doubt they will all come out of the woodwork to support us!” 
 
REDCREST 2021 will launch from Wolf Creek Park and Boating Facility on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma. 
 
“The City of Grove is very excited to be chosen as the launching site for a tournament as prestigious as the 2021 REDCREST Championship,” said Mayor Ed Trumbull. “We will be looking forward to having the best anglers in the world utilizing Wolf Creek Park and fishing on Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees.”
 
In addition to the competition, REDCREST 2021 will feature an outdoor sports consumer expo at Tulsa’s Expo Square February 26-28, 2021. The three-day, family-friendly celebration will feature meet-n-greets and seminars from MLF pros and other celebrity guests, entertainment, as well as the latest in outdoor gear with the top fishing, hunting, boating, and consumer brands showcasing new products and offers. 
 
“Expo Square is enthused to be selected as the host venue for Major League Fishing’s Bass Pro Tour Championship, REDCREST in February 2021,” said Mark Andrus, Expo Square President and CEO. “We strive to provide excellent customer service, throughout our clean and family-friendly facilities. Our teams are ready to build a partnership with Major League Fishing and look forward to developing an impactful event to the sport.”
 
The full lineup of exhibitors and schedule of events will be announced later this year. Fans, sponsors, and exhibitors alike welcome the fact that Major League Fishing has built its competition format to enable 50+ pros to be on-site, meeting fans each day of the expo. The festivities will culminate into Sunday’s celebration – a first for competitive bass fishing – when the full field of 30 REDCREST competitors, including the newly crowned Champion, will be in attendance. All activities, including interaction with the MLF pros, are free and open to the public. 
 
REDCREST kicks off the Major League Fishing 2021 Bass Pro Tour schedule. As always, Bass Pro Tour events will be streamed live on MLFNOW! to fans around the world:

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  • 2021 REDCREST, February 23-28, 2021
  • 2021 Bass Pro Tour Stage One, March 19-24, 2021
  • 2021 Bass Pro Tour Stage Two, April 9-14, 2021
  • 2021 Bass Pro Tour Stage Three, April 23-28, 2021
  • 2021 Bass Pro Tour Stage Four, May 14-19, 2021
  • 2021 Bass Pro Tour Stage Five, June 25-30, 2021
  • 2021 Bass Pro Tour Stage Six, July 9-14, 2021
  • 2021 Bass Pro Tour Stage Seven, August 6-11, 2021
  • 2021 Bass Pro Tour Stage Eight, September 10-15, 2021

“Since announcing the Bass Pro Tour in 2018, our team has worked diligently to build the most robust schedule possible while giving our anglers holidays at home with their families as they desire,” said Don Rucks, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Major League Fishing.  “The 2021 tournament schedule demonstrates our commitment as a League to bringing the best in competitive bass fishing to our fans, sponsors, and host communities.” 

About Major League Fishing   
Founded in 2011, Major League Fishing (MLF) brings the high-intensity sport of competitive bass fishing into America’s living rooms on Outdoor Channel, Discovery, CBS, CBS Sports Network, World Fishing Network, Sportsman Channel, and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). The Bass Pro Tour consists of eight events and a championship streamed live on www.MajorLeagueFishing.com and MOTV. 

In late 2019 MLF acquired FLW, which expands their portfolio to include the world’s largest grassroots fishing organization, including the strongest five-fish format professional bass fishing tour, the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, as well as the Toyota Series, Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine, and Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI, and High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing. 

MLF Postpones Stage Four of the Bass Pro Tour in an Abundance of Caution

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March 23, 2020 (Tulsa, Okla.) Major League Fishing (MLF) announced the league will postpone the next stop on the Bass Pro Tour originally scheduled for April 3-8, 2020 in Raleigh, North Carolina in an abundance of caution surrounding the novel coronavirus. The League will monitor the situation and follow the advice of medical and Public Health officials to reschedule as quickly as possible. 
 
“The safety and health of our anglers, volunteers, staff, and host community are our primary concern,” said Jim Wilburn, Major League Fishing President and CEO. “While our format inherently allows for social distancing and other recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control to minimize the spread of COVID-19, we feel it’s in the best interest of all involved to pause our 2020 season.” 
 
The Berkley Stage Four presented by Covercraft was originally scheduled to take place on Jordan Lake, Falls Lake, and Shearon Harris Reservoir hosted by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance.
 
“We understand the decision by MLF to postpone the event,” commented Tori Collins, Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance Director. “These proactive measures are tough decisions but in the best interest for all involved. The Greater Raleigh area looks forward to welcoming the MLF Pros and staff back to North Carolina and showcasing our region’s beautiful lakes in the future.”
 
Major League Fishing will continue to assess the impact of COVID-19 and take the advice and mandates set forth by local, state, and national medical and Public Health officials to address the potential impact on future events and potential dates for rescheduling Stage Four.  
MLF strongly encourages everyone to follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on everyday prevention of viral infection, which include: 

  • Clean your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid close contact with sick persons
  • Practice social distancing among your community
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing
  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects
  • Consult a healthcare provider as needed
  • For more information about the novel coronavirus, visit cdc.gov.

MLF fans can tune into the Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel to see original airings of the MLF Cup events including the Premiere of the 2020 Patriot Cup on Saturday, April 4, 2020. MLF Cup events feature 30 Pros from the Bass Pro Tour filmed exclusively to premiere on Outdoor Channel. 2020 MLF Cup events were filmed in late 2019.  For a complete listing of the MLF television schedule, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com/tv-schedule.  

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