MASSENA, N.Y. (Aug. 1, 2021) – Rookie Cody Pike of Powhatan, Virginia brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 22 pounds, 3 ounces to win the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Savage Arms Stop 6 Presented by Abu Garcia at the St. Lawrence River. Pike’s four-day total of 20 bass weighing 82 pounds, 12 ounces earned him the win by a 1-pound, 12-ounce margin over pro Matthew Stefan of Junction City, Wisconsin, and the top prize of $135,000, including a lucrative $35,000 Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus.
“You don’t do this sport for the money, you do it because you love it,” said a very emotional Pike after earning the win. “This is awesome – it’s like a dream. I’ve tried to make it here for so many years.
“I qualified [for the Pro Circuit] through the Toyota Series last year,” continued Pike. “You aren’t guaranteed the opportunity to make it and fish these professional circuits every year, so I went ahead and jumped on the opportunity and I’m loving it.”
Pike said he came into the final qualifying event of the Pro Circuit with just the hope of qualifying for the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where anglers have the opportunity to compete for up to $235,000.
“Things happened this week that made no sense – things that weren’t supposed to happen and there was no explanation to it,” said Pike. “I had one main area that I was fishing today, with 15 to 20 good spots along it. I just kept making circles through those areas and kept getting bites.
“I honestly couldn’t ask for more,” continued Pike. “To qualify for the TITLE, then fish in the Top 10, find myself in contention for the win – then take home the win, all in my rookie season – it’s just unbelievable.”
Pike said he loves catching smallmouth but would not consider himself a smallmouth angler. Add his lack of experience fishing rivers to that and his expectations for this event were low.
“I could understand figuring out fish that I was more comfortable with, but to do this on a smallmouth fishery is just incredible,” said Pike. “I usually get my tail kicked in smallmouth tournaments.
“I mostly fished shoals and rock piles the size of my boat this week. If I didn’t get bit on the first cast, I just moved to the next one. I probably had 40 to 50 spots that I found during the tournament. Once I knew I had a solid bag each day, I could just go fish and look around. That helped a lot.”
Pike said he caught most of his fish this week drop-shotting a green-pumpkin Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Flat Worm with a 1/2-ounce Eco Pro Tungsten weight and 6- and 7-pound-test Gamma Touch fluorocarbon line.
“I had no idea what I needed to do to catch Joey [Cifuentes] going into today. He had such a strong lead, I just didn’t think it was going to happen,” said Pike. “I still can’t believe it.
“This trophy means a lot. People work their whole lives for this and don’t ever get one. I got lucky and everything lined up just right to go home with one my rookie year – that doesn’t happen often.”
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The top 10 pros at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Savage Arms Stop 6 on the St. Lawrence River finished:
1st: Cody Pike of Powhatan, Va., 20 bass, 82-12, $135,000
2nd: Matthew Stefan of Junction City, Wis., 20 bass, 81-0, $30,000
3rd: Joey Cifuentes of Clinton, Ark., 20 bass, 79-10, $25,000
4th: Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., 20 bass, 78-6, $20,000
5th: Jon Canada of Helena, Ala., 20 bass, 76-11, $19,000
6th: John Cox of DeBary, Fla., 18 bass, 76-8, $18,000
7th: Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., 20 bass, 76-6, $17,000
8th: Ron Nelson of Berrien Springs, Mich., 20 bass, 75-8, $16,000
9th: Justin Cooper of Zwolle, La., 20 bass, 73-7, $15,000
10th: Aaron Britt of Yuba City, Calif., 20 bass, 71-9, $14,000
Full results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 50 bass weighing 183 pounds, 4 ounces caught by the final 10 pros Sunday. All of the final 10 pros brought a five-bass limit to the scales.
The four top performers who now qualify to compete in the MLF Bass Pro Tour Carparts.com Stage Seven at Lake St. Clair Presented by Covercraft in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, Sept. 10-15, are Cody Pike, Matthew Stefan, Joey Cifuentes and Scott Dobson.
The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Savage Arms Stop 6 Presented by Abu Garcia at the St. Lawrence River will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the Outdoor Channel on Sunday, Sept. 1 from 7 to 9 a.m. ET and re-air on the Sportsman Channel this fall.
The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Savage Arms Stop 6 Presented by Abu Garcia at the St. Lawrence River was hosted by the Town of Massena.
In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advanced to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continued competition on Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
Pro Michael Neal of Dayton, Tennessee, clinched the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Angler of the Year title Saturday, after finishing the event in 11th place. Neal will receive his entry fees paid for the entire 2022 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season for his win.
Pro Clabion Johns of Social Circle, Georgia, clinched the Polaris 2021 Rookie of the Year (ROY) award on Friday, which is awarded to the rookie pro angler who finishes the season with the highest point total. For his efforts, Johns won a Polaris Ranger 1000.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where they will compete for up to $235,000. The 2021 TITLE will be on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Aug. 17-22, and is hosted by Explore La Crosse.