LEESBURG, Fla. (May 25, 2021) – Toro pro Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kansas, caught 23 bass weighing 51 pounds, 12 ounces Tuesday to win the Knockout Round and advance to the final-day Championship Round at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Three Presented by Bass Cat Boats at the Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg, Florida. The field has now been cut to the final 10 anglers, and competition will resume Wednesday morning with the anglers departing Leesburg’s Venetian Gardens Ski Beach at 6:30 a.m.
The six-day tournament, hosted by Lake County, featured 80 of the top professional anglers from around the world competing for a purse of $805,000, including a top cash prize of $100,000 to the winner.
The top eight pros from Tuesday’s Knockout Round that will compete in Wednesday’s Championship Round on the Harris Chain of Lakes are:
1st: Brent Chapman, Lake Quivira, Kan., 23 bass, 51-12
2nd: Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., 18 bass, 46-0
3rd: Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., 16 bass, 38-0
4th: Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., 14 bass, 36-14
5th: Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., 14 bass, 36-10
6th: Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., 16 bass, 35-7
7th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 13 bass, 34-15
8th: Jeff Sprague, Point, Texas, 14 bass, 29-2
They’ll be joined by Qualifying Round Winners:
Group A: Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz.
Group B: Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla.
Full results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
“I knew it was going to be a special day for me when we had our 30-minute morning ride-around before lines in at 7 (a.m.),” Chapman said in his post-day interview. “The area where I wanted to sit down and start was an area that I had finished my day in on Sunday. When I pulled in there, there were birds everywhere feeding along the shoreline. There was a shad spawn going on, and when you see that many birds along the shore there are probably just as many bass under the water that you can’t see. It killed me to sit there and have to wait 20 minutes for lines in.
“Once we got going, it got going pretty quick,” Chapman continued. “But, the thing that was really crazy is that the birds dissipated pretty quickly and within 30 minutes the fishing went from really, really good to quite a bit tougher. It was interesting. You can learn a lot from the birds and I’m definitely going to be looking for as many more as I can possibly find tomorrow.”
Chapman said that he caught his fish Tuesday on just two key baits.
“Just like I’ve been doing all season, I’m fishing my strengths and sticking with the simple stuff,” the Kansas pro said. “I’m fishing a bladed jig – nothing fancy – just a shad color with chartreuse and white. And I’m throwing a big jig – 1-ounce – with a big chunk. When a good one bites, I want the upper hand so there is no sense in using anything lighter.
“Tomorrow, for me, is basically going to be that 1-2 punch,” Chapman went on to say. “I’ll have a couple of different colors of bladed jigs tied on and I’ll be flipping that big jig, and we’re going to go out and swing for the fences and see if we can’t bring home that big red trophy. It’s been a fantastic week. I just need it all to come together for me just one more day.”
Rounding out the top 40 finishers were:
11th: Paul Elias, Laurel, Miss., 11 bass, 26-12, $10,000
12th: Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., nine bass, 25-3, $10,000
13th: Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., 11 bass, 24-12, $10,000
14th: John Murray, Spring City, Tenn., 12 bass, 24-4, $10,000
15th: James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., eight bass, 24-4, $10,000
16th: Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, nine bass, 24-1, $10,000
17th: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., 10 bass, 23-11, $10,000
18th: David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn., eight bass, 23-5, $10,000
19th: James Watson, Lampe, Mo., 10 bass, 21-15, $10,000
20th: Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., nine bass, 21-7, $10,000
21st: Alton Jones Jr., Waco, Texas, nine bass, 21-6, $10,000
22nd: Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., nine bass, 20-8, $10,000
23rd: Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., nine bass, 20-6, $10,000
24th: Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 11 bass, 19-12, $10,000
25th: Kyle Hall, Granbury, Texas, 10 bass, 19-5, $10,000
26th: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., seven bass, 15-12, $10,000
27th: Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., eight bass, 15-11, $10,000
28th: Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., five bass, 14-0, $10,000
29th: Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., six bass, 13-9, $10,000
30th: Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., six bass, 13-4, $10,000
31st: Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., four bass, 12-12, $10,000
32nd: Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., six bass, 12-4, $10,000
33rd: Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., six bass, 12-3, $10,000
34th: John Cox, DeBary, Fla., four bass, 12-2, $10,000
35th: Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 11-4, $10,000
36th: Boyd Duckett, Guntersville, Ala., three bass, 10-9, $10,000
37th: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., four bass, 10-8, $10,000
38th: Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., five bass, 8-13, $10,000
39th: Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., four bass, 8-4, $10,000
40th: Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., three bass, 5-4, $10,000
There were 349 bass weighing 825 pounds, 14 ounces caught by the 38 pros on Tuesday.
Elam won the $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award on Tuesday, catching an 8-pound, 14-ounce largemouth on a squarebill crankbait in Period 3. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler who weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.
The MLF Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Three at the Harris Chain Presented by Bass Cat Boats is hosted by Lake County.
The 40 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Friday and Sunday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Saturday and Monday. After the two-day Qualifying Round, the anglers that finished in 2nd through 20th place from both groups advanced to Tuesday’s Knockout Round, while the winner from each group advanced directly to Wednesday’s Championship Round. In the Knockout Round, the weights were zeroed and the remaining 38 anglers competed to finish in the top 8 to advance to the Championship Round. Tomorrow, 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.
The final 10 anglers will take off from the Venetian Gardens Ski Beach Boat Ramp, located at 201 E. Lake Harris Drive, in Leesburg, at 6:30 a.m. ET Wednesday. The General Tire Takeout and Championship Moment will also be held at the Ski Beach at the Venetian Gardens, beginning at 3:30 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend, but encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The Bass Pro Tour features a field of 76 of the top professional anglers in the world – joined at each event by 4 pros that qualify from the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit – competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, competing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2022 championship.
The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action from the final day of competition on Wednesday from 6:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CT. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Three Presented by Bass Cat Boats at the Harris Chain of Lakes will be showcased across two two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, Sept. 25 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.