MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING NEWS

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.

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).

A picture containing company name

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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.  

SHOP – THE NATIONAL ANGLER

MLF Records and Rallies on Lake Fork: Atkins Breaks Christie’s Record; Neal Rallies in the Third to Sneak into First Place

March 14, 2020 (Lake Fork, Texas) 40 Pro anglers (Group B) competed on Lake Fork in the Bass Pro Tour General Tire Stage Three presented by TrueTimber. Justin Atkins broke the record for the largest bass caught in Major League Fishing and Bass Pro Tour histories less than 24 hours after Jason Christie set it. Brandon Coulter led the field for much of the day only to slip into second place in the last seven minutes of the day. Michael Neal came from behind in Period Three with a 35-pound, 10-fish run to end the day in first place. Group A returns to the water Sunday for their second and final day of the Qualifying Round; the bottom 20 will be eliminated.  
Alabama-resident Justin Atkins gave himself a belated 30th-birthday present on Lake Fork today by catching the largest bass in the history of both MLF and the Bass Pro Tour. Weighing in at 10 pounds, eight ounces, a personal best for Atkins, this fish beat Christie’s catch by 4 ounces, less than 24 hours later. “Look at this guy,” exclaimed Atkins moments after he calmly set the hook in a fashion resembling the experience of a Pro twice his age. “It will not last a day or two,” said Christie, in an interview late Friday after catching the first record-breaker of this Stage. “I’m looking forward to getting back out there.” Atkins won the Berkley Big Bass of the Day for Saturday and receives $1,000.

Brandon Coulter took over the lead from Dave Lefebre early in Period Two thanks to a steady stream of significant catches, including his big bass of the day weighing in at nine pounds, five ounces with 45 minutes left in the second. 49-year-old Coulter looked like he would end the day in first place until fellow Tennessean Michael Neal rallied, rising into the Top Ten with a 10-fish, 35-pound-10-ounce run in Period Three. With seven minutes remaining on the day, Neal caught a three-pound-eight-ounce largemouth to take the lead by one pound.  “Sneaky Mikey,” commented Coulter as the clock wound down to lines-out for the day. “Congratulations Michael; I wanted to win that Round bad. We had a good day and I will be back out on Monday working to win and skip the Knockout Round.”

The competition continues Sunday when Group A returns to the water for their final day of the Qualifying Round. Mark Daniels, Jr. is currently in the lead with 84 pounds, 15 ounces. Texas Pro Jeff Sprague sits in second place 12 pounds behind Daniels. The angler with the highest two-day cumulative total wins and the bottom 20 anglers will be eliminated. The weather forecast suggests thunderstorms may hinder the competition midday. Bass Pro Tour Tournament Director Aaron Beshears will consider safety over competition every time. 
 
“We continuously monitor weather on the entire body of water to determine the safest situation for the anglers and MLF staff,” said Beshears.  
 
Pending no weather delays, the day begins with launch at Oak Ridge Marina, Quitman, Texas, 9:15 a.m. CT before lines-in at 10:00 a.m. Period 1 ends at 12:30 p.m. Period 2 spans 12:45 p.m. until 3:15 p.m. Period 3 begins at 3:30 p.m. and lasts until day’s end at 6:00 p.m. The General Tire Takeout show airs approximately 6:15–7:15 p.m. as anglers return to the ramp.
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Major League Fishing & College Fishing – Details for 2020 MLF College Faceoffs Presented by Wiley X

March 2, 2020 (Tulsa, Okla.) — Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today the schedule, host cities and details for the 2020 MLF College Faceoffs Presented by Wiley X. The four-tournament series, held in conjunction with MLF Bass Pro Tour events, will feature 20 college fishing teams competing in an MLF-style, catch-weigh-immediate release format at each event. Teams qualify to compete in the Faceoffs through their finish in select Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI tournaments.

Two teams from 10 unique schools will compete in the no entry-fee College Faceoff events for great prizes and swag from Major League Fishing and select sponsors. The total one-day combined weight of the two teams from each school will comprise the final standings.

“With all of the great enhancements being offered to MLF and FLW anglers this season, we are excited to add these great opportunities for our College Fishing competitors as well,” said Todd Walker, MLF Vice President of Operations. “We expect this year’s lineup of MLF College Faceoff tournaments to produce a series of exciting events that will allow student anglers to experience the challenge and excitement of competing in an MLF-style event.”

2020 MLF College Faceoffs Schedule

April 4: Raleigh, N.C.

  • Qualifying tournament: Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open at Kentucky Lake, March 17-18

April 25: Grove, Okla.

  • Qualifying tournament: Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI at Fort Gibson Lake, March 27

June 6: Winnebago, Wis.

  • Qualifying tournament: Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI at Table Rock Lake, March 6

June 27: Ogdensburg, N.Y.

  • Qualifying tournament: Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI at Smith Mountain Lake, April 17

The top 10 schools from each of the select Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI events with the most combined Tackle Warehouse Team of the Year points from their two highest-finishing individual teams will qualify. Competition waters will be in proximity to the host cities, with exact fishery details revealed to tournament anglers before the start of each event.

Each tournament will receive coverage through the MLF and FLW website and social media outlets, including interviews and a trophy presentation for top finishers on Facebook and Instagram Live. Top individual teams will be recognized, but the school with the highest total combined weight from their two participating teams will be crowned MLF College Faceoff Champion.

Powroznik Makes a Period 3 Power Play to Win: Final Day of Favorite Fishing Stage Two presented by Bass Cat Brings the Action

February 26, 2020 (Okeechobee, Fla.) Jacob Powroznik rose to the top of the leaderboard by catching half his day’s fish in the final Period to win. The Virginia-native tallied 49 pounds, 11 ounces to beat his closest competitor by 11 pounds, six ounces and win $100,000. With sunny skies and a third day of warming air temperature, Lake Okeechobee emerged into an exciting, action-packed playing field for the final day of the Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Two presented by Bass Cat. Jacob Wheeler led for a time midday after catching 10 of his 12 fish before noon but fell short of back-to-back Bass Pro Tour Titles. The Bass Pro Tour continues March 13-18 on Lake Fork near Emory Texas.

Powroznik opened his day with a four-pound, one-ounce largemouth within the first forty minutes of competition. He continued a steady catch each period with enough weight to keep him in the hunt for the Title. Ultimately, he found late-day success catching 23 pounds, nine ounces in the final period of the day to win with 15 bass for 49 pounds, 11 ounces. 

“Words just can’t describe it,” said Powroznik moments after returning to shore. “You put yourself in a position and if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. For a period of 15 minutes in the third period I think I caught about 15 pounds and that’s momentum; momentum drives us and that’s what this sport’s all about.” 

Like Powroznik, Michael Neal found a productive area and worked it for all he could. SCORETRACKER® looked as if the two were playing “strike, counter-strike” all day long. The 29-year-old Tennessean recorded his first bass, weighing in at six pounds, one ounce, at the exact same time as Powroznik. Neal had a more productive first period than Powroznik but ultimately lost the lead with only three catches in the Period 3 for a total of 38 pounds, five ounces on the day. 

Midday it appeared that Jacob Wheeler might be on his way to back-to-back Bass Pro Tour Titles after catching nine of 12 fish for the day in the first period. With only one catch each in Periods 2 and 3 respectively, Wheeler fell to third place with 34 pounds, six ounces. 

“I gave it all that I had,” he said as time ran. “I was focusing on really shallow pockets where the fish were pulling up to spawn. The water had to be shallow enough that it wouldn’t even register a depth on my electronics, the shallower, the better.”

Jeff Sprague caught the Berkley Big Bass of the day at six pounds, 12 ounces. Jacob Powroznik had the most fish on SCORETRACKER® with 15, as well as earning the Phoenix First award with a total weight of 49-11. 

The Favorite Fishing Stage Two presented by Bass Cat Championship Round, hosted by Okeechobee County Tourism Development Board, finished as follows:

PlaceAnglerTotal WeightTotal BassLargest BassWinnings
1Jacob Powroznik 49-11155-05$100,000
2Michael Neal38-05146-01$42,000
3Jacob Wheeler34-06126-00$30,000
4Randall Tharp32-06113-15$24,000
5Jeff Sprague31-0686-12$18,000
6Fletcher Shryock31-00115-07$16,800
7Jordan Lee15-1536-00$15,600
8Takahiro Omori9-1243-00$14,400
9Zack Birge6-0623-04$13,200
10James Elam4-0622-05$12,000

For complete results from the entire week, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com, Bass Pro Tour, Results.

The Bass Pro Tour continues March 13-18, 2020, with General Tire Stage Three presented by TrueTimber on Lake Fork (Texas).  Each day begins with launch 7:15 a.m. local time before lines-in at 8:00 a.m. Period 1 ends at 10:30 a.m. Period 2 spans 10:45 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. Period 3 begins at 1:30 p.m. and lasts until day’s end at 4:00 p.m. The General Tire Takeout show airs approximately 4:15 – 5:15 p.m. as anglers return to the ramp and interact with fans.

Wheeler Wins the Knockout Round: Wednesday’s Championship Round Set

February 25, 2020 (Okeechobee, Fla.) Jacob Wheeler won the Knockout Round in the Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Two presented by Bass Cat. Zack Birge took second with only a two-pound-five-ounce deficit. SCORETRACKER® moved today on Lake Okeechobee with more than 190 bass caught as compared to 71-110 on the previous four days of competition. Five anglers tied for catching the most scorable bass at 10 caught each. Alton Jones landed the Berkley Big Bass of the Day with an eight-pound, three-ounce largemouth late in Period 3. The Championship Round begins tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. ET as 10 Pros compete for the $100,000 prize and Stage Two title. 

Academy Sports Pro Jacob Wheeler will enter his second Championship Round in as many Stages on the 2020 Bass Pro Tour. He steadily caught fish all day long but his burst of six fish in Period 2 ended with a four-pound, 13-ounce largemouth that placed him comfortably at the front of the pack. Wheeler then used Period 3 to look for additional areas rather than running up a larger lead. 

“It’s going to take a lot of weight to win tomorrow,” Wheeler predicted. “The big ones are starting to move up and it’s going to be fun. The ‘Big O’ saved the best for last.” 

At the end of the day, Wheeler scored 35 pounds, one ounce to win the Knockout Round only two pounds, five ounces ahead of Favorite Fishing Pro Zack Birge. After catching no fish on his first day of the Qualifying Round, Birge surged on Sunday to catch 27 pounds, three ounces to advance to today’s Knockout Round. Today he bettered himself with 32 pounds, 12 ounces and a second-place finish to advance to tomorrow’s Championship Round. 

“I had a good day,” Birge said, adding that his success helps ease the pain of coming up just short at Lake Eufaula where he missed the Knockout Round by one place. “I cleared my mind and went fishing with one rod on my deck all day long.” 

Birge, Wheeler, Jeff Sprague, Michael Neal, and Stephen Browning all caught 10 scorable bass today. All but Browning will advance to the Championship Round, whose last-minute catch of three pounds, two ounces still left him one pound, five ounces behind Fletcher Shyrock. 

The top eight of the Knockout Round, who will join Qualifying Round Group A winner Takahiro Omori and Qualifying Round Group B winner Jordan Lee in Wednesday’s Championship are as follows:

PlaceAnglerTotal WeightTotal BassLargest Bass
1Jacob Wheeler35-01105-15
2Zack Birge32-12105-10
3Jeff Sprague31-08105-04
4Randall Tharp30-0585-06
5Michael Neal29-11104-09
6Jacob Powroznik29-0595-12
7James Elam27-1497-05
8Fletcher Shyrock27-1176-05

For complete results, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com, Bass Pro Tour, Results.

The competition concludes Wednesday with the Championship Round where ten anglers compete for the Favorite Fishing Stage Two presented by Bass Cat Title. The weather forecast suggests thunderstorms may hinder the competition in the morning. Bass Pro Tour Tournament Director Aaron Beshears will consider safety over competition every time. 

“We continuously monitor weather on the entire body of water to determine the safest situation for the anglers and MLF staff,” said Beshears. “With a lake the size of Okeechobee, we will be especially cautious for all involved.” 

Pending no weather delays, the day begins with launch at C. Scott Driver Park, Okeechobee, Fla. 7:15 a.m. EST before lines-in at 8:00 a.m. Period 1 ends at 10:30 a.m. Period 2 spans 10:45 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. Period 3 begins at 1:30 p.m. and lasts until day’s end at 4:00 p.m. The General Tire Takeout show airs approximately 4:15 – 5:15 p.m. as anglers return to the ramp.

Jordan Lee Leaps from Last to First, Advances Directly to the Championship Round: 38-Angler Field Set for Tuesday’s Knockout Round

February 24, 2020 (Okeechobee, Fla.) Jordan Lee won the Group B Qualifying Round of the Favorite Fishing Stage Two presented by Bass Cat with a one-day total of 36 pounds, 10 ounces. The 29-year-old steadily climbed SCORETRACKER®, passing Dean Rojas, who began Monday with the lead after catching 20 pounds, five ounces on Saturday. Lee earns a day off on Tuesday to advance directly to the Championship Round. Two other anglers who began their second day at zero pounds – Stephen Browning and Jeff Sprague – will join Rojas and 35 others to determine the final eight who will compete against Lee and Takahiro Omori, the winner of Group A Qualifying Round on Sunday, on Wednesday for a chance to win $100,000.

Lee said that he began the day with nothing to lose. After a scoreless Saturday, Lee opened his day with three, four-plus-pound largemouth bass in the first Period for a total weight of 13 pounds, five ounces. Lee retained his lead through a scoreless third Period after a catching one weighing six pounds, seven ounces late in Period Two. 

“Today is a day for the history books; it was special,” said Lee as he returned to the ramp for the General Tire Takeout show on MLFNOW! “I went to a place I hadn’t fished since college; I had to work for them, but it was just the right move.”

When asked if his scoreless first day impacted his outlook going into today, Lee shared that he had hope starting today and decided to listen to his instincts, a strategy that also paid off for him in Eufaula at Stage One of the Bass Pro Tour earlier this month.

“Last night I was thinking about how I had gone with my gut already this season and it paid off big,” said Lee. “So, I went someplace today that I hadn’t been in a long time again and it worked. I could tell halfway through the day I had something special.” 

Dean Rojas made the most of difficult lake conditions on Saturday to begin today with a two-pound lead over Britt Myers. Despite best efforts, Rojas caught only three scoreable bass weighing in collectively at seven pounds even to finish second, just missing the automatic berth to the Championship.

“I tried my hardest; I just never had a big bite,” reflected Rojas. “I’m going to think about my game plan and will have to make an adjustment. I missed an opportunity to qualify for the Championship Round, but I plan to change areas for tomorrow and see what I can make happen.” 

Stephen Browning made a run in Period 3 catching six scoreable bass in only 38 minutes. These, plus the one he caught midway through today’s second Period, gave him a two-day total of 18 pounds, two ounces after catching no scoreable bass on Day one of the Qualifying Round. Enough to secure 12th place, Browning advances to the Knockout Round.

“The area I fished on Saturday suffered a major temperature change in only two feet of water,” said Browning. “Then late in the third Period, I hit a flurry – a fisherman’s dream.” 

Much of the day’s drama unfolded on the elimination line as anglers battled for their place in Tuesday’s Knockout Round. Chris Lane snuck into 17th place with two, two-pound bass within the last 30 minutes of the day. With only five minutes left in the day, Alton Jones caught a three-pound, two-ounce bass, which moved him to 18th place and knocked Boyd Duckett out of the Knockout Round into 21st place. 

The Top Ten of the Qualifying Round, Group B finished day two as follows:

SHOP – THE NATIONAL ANGLER

PlaceAnglerTotal 2-Day Weight Day Two Weight TotalBiggest Bass
1Jordan Lee32-1032-106-07
2Dean Rojas27-087-033-13
3Josh Bertrand25-0716-106-03
4Jacob Powroznik24-1113-063-11
5Scott Suggs22-1516-046-11
6Anthony Gagliardi20-047-126-09
7Jeff Sprague20-0320-033-07
8Andy Montgomery19-132-116-06
9Todd Faircloth19-0515-055-07
10Britt Myers18-040-005-12

For complete results, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com, Bass Pro Tour, Results.

Scott Suggs caught the Berkley Big Bass of the Day weighing in at six pounds, 11 ounces. Suggs finished 5th overall and will advance into the Knockout Round with a strong showing toward his Heavy Hitters qualifying weight. MLF Heavy Hitters presented by Venmo brings together the 30 anglers with the heaviest “virtual bags” after five Stages of the Bass Pro Tour. Anglers will compete for over $750,000 in prizes including a Berkley Big Bass payout ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 per day. Heavy Hitters takes place on the Kissimmee Chain (Fla.) May 16-20, 2020. 


Today’s event concluded the Qualifying Round of the Favorite Fishing Stage Two presented by Bass Cat. Two anglers advanced directly into the Championship Round on Wednesday: Takahiro Omori, winner of Group A and Jordan Lee, winner of Group B. The remaining eight spots in the Championship Round will be determined in Tuesday’s Knockout Round, in which the anglers who finished in places 2-20 on their respective days will compete in a field of 38 for the top eight spots. 

The 38 anglers competing in the Knockout Round include: Wesley Strader
Zack Birge
Ott DeFoe
Cody Meyer
Michael Neal 
Mike McClelland
Ish Monroe
Shaw Grigsby
Dustin Connell
Dave Lefebre
Jacob Wheeler
David Dudley
Randall Tharp
Jason Lambert
Adrian Avena
Fred Roumbanis
Kevin VanDam
Fletcher Shyrock
Gerald Spohrer
Dean Rojas
Josh Bertrand
Jacob Powroznik
Scott Suggs
Anthony Gagliardi
Jeff Sprague
Andy Montgomery
Todd Faircloth
Britt Myers
Greg Hackney
Stephen Browning
Mark Rose
Brent Chapman
Cliff Pace
Andy Morgan
Chris Lane
James Elam
Alton Jones
Mark Daniels Jr.

Tuesday’s Knockout Round begins on Lake Okeechobee (Eastern Standard Time) with launch 7-7:30 a.m. before lines-in at 8:00 a.m. Period 1 ends at 10:30 a.m. Period 2 spans 10:45 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. Period 3 begins at 1:30 p.m. and lasts until day’s end at 4:00 p.m. The General Tire Takeout show airs approximately 4:15 – 5:15 p.m. as anglers return to the ramp.

Takahiro Omori Climbs Leaderboard to Win and Advance to the Championship Round: Zack Birge Surges 31 Places after a Scoreless First Day

February 23, 2020 (Okeechobee, Fla.) The Bass Pro Tour continued on Lake Okeechobee Sunday for the third day of the Favorite Fishing Stage Two presented by Bass Cat. Anglers in Group A found some relief with less wind and warmer temperatures when compared to Friday’s start to the Qualifying Round. Takahiro Omori rose seven places to win the Qualifying Round for Group A securing an automatic berth in the Championship Round. Wesley Strader doubled his Friday catch to secure second place with a two-day total of 28 pounds even. Zach Birge rose 31 places after a scoreless first day by catching 27 pounds, three ounces today. Group B, currently led by Dean Rojas with 20 pounds, five ounces, will return to the water on Monday to determine the remaining 20 anglers to advance.

Ranger Boats Pro Omori opened his day with an eight-pound-four-ounce bass in the second half of the first period. He then sealed his first-place position throughout the day with a steady pace of two-pound catches. By winning “Group A” of the Qualifying Round with a two-day total of 33 pounds, nine ounces, Omori skips the Knockout Round and advances directly to Wednesday’s Championship Round. This guarantees him a minimum payout of $12,000.

Tennessee-resident Strader moved from 14th place on Friday to 2nd place today. He caught six of seven before noon and said he found a rhythm that didn’t necessarily align with his original plan. 

“Today was about having an open mind,” said Strader. “I had to go into today doing things that are not usual to Florida fishing but rather getting back to how I like to fish. I found an area that wasn’t exactly my original plan, but I stayed and figured a few more things out.” 

Zack Birge credits fellow MLF Pro Mike Iaconelli with inspiring him to go into today with a winning attitude despite a scoreless first day on Friday. Iaconelli ended his first day of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour without a catch and then surged forward in day two of the B&W Hitches Stage One presented by Power-Pole Qualifying Round with a one-day total of 23 pounds, three ounces to make the Knockout Round. 

“You’re never out of it in this game,” said Birge. “I thought about how Ike caught nothing on the first day in Eufaula and then came back with a ‘big bag’ on the second day. I got a little momentum this morning and then (Ike’s success) kept me motivated.” 

After finishing 78th out of 80 anglers in 2019 – the first season with the Bass Pro Tour, Mike McClelland continued his 2020 renaissance today by earning a second top-twenty finish. He caught 19 pounds, three ounces Sunday – the third highest weight of the day behind Strader and Omori. McClelland finished seventh overall with a two-day total of 25 pounds, two ounces. One of the first anglers to join MLF, McClelland expressed his enthusiasm for both the MLF format and the variable minimum weight rule change in 2020 as energizing to him as well as the sport of competitive bass fishing. 

“This is the most stressful, intense, and exciting format I’ve ever fished,” said McClelland. “When we started MLF where every fish counts and no limits, we raised the bar for competitive fishing and now with a two-pound minimum on Lake Okeechobee our fans get to see the best pros in the world compete at the highest level in the history of bass fishing.” 

Pennsylvania native Dave Lefebre landed today’s big bass weighing in at nine pounds. He ended the day in 11th place and will advance to Tuesday’s Knockout Round. This catch will also improve his position to qualify for Heavy Hitters when added with the four-pound-nine-ounce bass from Stage One in Eufaula. MLF Heavy Hitters presented by Venmo brings together the 30 anglers with the heaviest “virtual bags” after five Stages of the Bass Pro Tour. Anglers will compete for over $750,000 in prizes including a Berkley Big Bass payout ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 per day. Heavy Hitters takes place on the Kissimmee Chain (Fla.) May 16-20, 2020.

The Top Ten of the Qualifying Round, Group A finished day two as follows:

SHOP – THE NATIONAL ANGLER

PlaceAnglerTotal 2-Day Weight Day Two Weight TotalLargest Fish over Qualifying Round
1Takahiro Omori33-0919-138-04
2Wesley Strader28-0018-113-09
3Zack Birge27-0327-035-13
4Ott DeFoe25-135-095-07
5Cody Meyer25-134-146-03
6Michael Neal25-090-004-09
7Mike McClelland25-0219-033-11
8Ish Monroe23-0218-153-01
9Shaw Grigsby23-0015-134-10
10Dustin Connell23-0010-113-03

For complete results, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com, Bass Pro Tour, Results.
    Group B will return to the water Monday morning for their second day of the Qualifying Round. Take-off begins at C. Scott Driver Park in Okeechobee, Fla. at 7-7:30 a.m. ET with lines-in at 8:00 a.m. ET. Forecasts indicate the weather will continue to improve after the group’s dismal first day on Saturday when high winds and rough conditions resulted in nine anglers ending Day One scoreless.

Tuesday’s Knockout Round begins with launch 7-7:30 a.m. before lines-in at 8:00 a.m. Period 1 ends at 10:30 a.m. Period 2 spans 10:45 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. Period 3 begins at 1:30 p.m. and lasts until day’s end at 4:00 p.m. The General Tire Takeout show airs approximately 4:15 – 5:15 p.m. as anglers return to the ramp. 

Wheeler Wins Big on Lake Eufaula: B&W Hitches Stage One presented by Power-Pole Champion Led the Field by 27 Pounds

CHECK OUT THE HOTTEST NEW LURES!

February 12, 2020 (Eufaula, Ala.) Team Toyota pro Jacob Wheeler won the Bass Pro Tour B&W Hitches Stage One presented by Power-Pole with 24 bass weighing in at 68 pounds, the highest one-day total for the week. MLF Rookie Bryan Thrift led the field handsomely early in Period 1 with five catches in the first 30 minutes of competition. Ott DeFoe landed scorable bass on a steady pace all day long, including holding the lead at the of Periods 1 and 2.  Ultimately Wheeler secured a solid lead with an 11-fish run as the clock wound down.
 
With cameras rolling on MLFNOW! at the end of Period 3, Jacob Wheeler paused to take in the reality that he had won. 
 
“Unbelievable,” he exclaimed. “To start off this 2020 Bass Pro Tour season with a win here on Lake Eufaula; it’s unbelievable. I owe it to everyone who supports me, especially my wife, Alicia.” 
 
Wheeler, winner of Qualifying Round Group B and Thrift, winner of Qualifying Round Group A, each earned a Championship Round berth skipping the Knockout Round on Tuesday. A new Bass Pro Tour rule for 2020, there was some uncertainty on how a day off would fair for the advanced anglers. Thrift and Wheeler coming in first and second on Championship Round suggests that a day off is nothing to worry about. 
 
“Second place feels like a win to me,” Thrift said. “My hat’s off to Jacob, and I have no complaints about my week. It’s a great feeling to finish well in my first Major League Fishing event.” 

SHOP – THE NATIONAL ANGLER

Ott DeFoe rode a strong morning bite to a commanding lead in the second period. He caught the Berkley Big Bass of the Day, weighing in at six pounds 15 ounces, within 90 minutes of Period 1.  As the sun passed overhead, Thrift assumed a seemingly comfortable lead before Wheeler took control for good with an impressive flurry of fish catches:11 in one hour, 24 for the day. 
 
“I caught two right away and then the first spot dried up,” DeFoe said. “They weren’t set up the same as they were yesterday, and I couldn’t get them fired up.” 
 
The Phoenix Boats Daily Leader award went to Jacob Wheeler with 68 pounds.
 
The B&W Hitches Stage One presented by Power-Pole Championship Round finished as follows:

PlaceAnglerTotal WeightTotal FishLargest FishWinnings
1Jacob Wheeler68-00244-10$100,000
2Bryan Thrift40-11135-11$42,000
3Ott DeFoe34-09106-15$30,000
4Alton Jones, Jr.26-1294-08$24,000
5Dustin Connell24-0065-11$18,000
6Brent Chapman20-1083-12$16,800
7Takahiro Omori16-0454-08$15,600
8Brett Hite9-1333-11$14,400
9Jordan Lee5-1023-08$13,200
10Adrian Avena4-0322-03$12,000

SHOP – THE NATIONAL ANGLER

CHRIS LANE LEAPS AHEAD IN MLF BASS PRO TOUR SEASON OPENER

February 7, 2020 (Tulsa, Okla.) Alabama resident Chris Lane finished day one of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour B&W Hitches Stage One presented by Power-Pole at the top of the SCORETRACKER® with 35-pounds, 12-ounces representing nine bass. Weather over recent days on Lake Eufuala played a factor in today’s competition as the excessive rain, wind, and lightning led to rising lake levels and muddy water conditions. Josh Bertrand finished in second with seven total bass weighing in at 26-pounds, six ounces. Brandon Coulter caught the Berkley Big Bass of the day, which weighed in at seven pounds, 14 ounces. 
 
Chris Lane took an early lead in Period 1 by catching the first bass of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour at 8:09 a.m. local time. The Power-Pole pro had eight fish for 33 pounds, nine ounces – a more than four-pound average – at the conclusion of that first period. Despite a drought in Period 2 and only one fish in Period 3, Lane held his lead throughout the day. Included in his total were fish that weighed five pounds, 11 ounces and five pounds, 7 ounces, respectively. 
 
“That was a great first period,” exclaimed Lane. “(In Period 3), I found an area late in the day with some clear water, and I made the mistake of not going there soon enough in the day. I look forward to getting back there (Sunday).” 
 
32-year-old Josh Bertrand of moved from fifth place to end the day at second despite a slower start in Period 1 than others. His largest bass of the day weighed in at six pounds, 10 ounces and landed two others over four pounds. The Berkley pro who lives in Arizona didn’t know what to expect today and indicated that he hopes better weather in coming days may help hasten the pace of the game. 
 
“We have some better weather coming so it might bust wide open,” said Bertrand, when asked about returning on Sunday to Lake Eufaula for his second Qualifying Day. 
 
The Top Ten of Day One, Qualifying Group A finished as follows:
 

PlaceAnglerTotal WeightTotal FishLargest Fish
1Chris Lane35-1295-11
2Josh Bertrand26-0676-10
3Todd Faircloth25-1365-08
4Bryan Thrift19-1173-13
5Greg Hackney19-0855-07
6Anthony Gagliardi19-0846-04
7Brent Ehrler17-1455-15
8Jeff Sprague17-0863-13
9Brandon Coulter16-0437-14
10Mark Rose14-0853-14

 
For complete results, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com, Bass Pro Tour, Results.
 
The Qualifying Round continues Saturday with Group B, which includes Edwin Evers, 2019 Points Champion and REDCREST presented by Venmo Champion, fishing greats Kevin VanDam and Mike Iaconelli, as well as 2019 Major League Fishing (MLF) World Champion Jacob Wheeler and MLF Rookie David Dudley. The weather forecast calls for a slightly warmer day calling for a high of 57-degrees-Farenheit and scattered showers midday. 
 
The day begins with launch 6-6:30 a.m. before lines-in at 7:00 a.m. Period 1 ends at 10:30 a.m. Period 2 spans 10:45 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. Period 3 begins at 1:30 p.m. and lasts until day’s end at 4:00 p.m. The General Tire Takeout show airs approximately 4:15 – 5:15 p.m. as anglers return to the ramp.
 
Fans can catch all the action every day of competition on MLFNOW! livestream on MajorLeagueFishing.com or download the MLF App for your Apple or GooglePlay device or on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV).

MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING REVISES RULES FOR THE 2020 BASS PRO TOUR

January 21, 2020 (Tulsa, Okla.) Major League Fishing (MLF) recently announced notable rule changes for the Bass Pro Tour 2020 season including a variable weight minimum for each fishery and automatic championship berths for Qualifying Round winners. Under rules approved earlier this month by the Major League Fishing Angler Association (MLFAA) and drafted into the official rulebook, MLF will introduce a variable minimum weight system for the Bass Pro Tour competition waters in 2020. In addition, the winners of the Qualifying Round (formerly the Shotgun and Elimination Rounds) will automatically advance to the Championship Round, which guarantees them paycheck of $12,000 to $100,000.
 
Championship Berth
The six-day competition for the Bass Pro Tour begins with four days of Qualifying Rounds between two groups -A and B- of 40 anglers. Each group competes for two days (Group A on days one and three, Group B on days two and four) in a catch, weigh, and immediately release format in which every fish over that lake’s variable minimum weight counts toward each Round’s total. Under the 2020 rule changes, the winners of each group in the Qualifying Round automatically advance to the Championship Round (day six), while places 2 through 20 from each group (40 anglers total) advance to the Knockout Round on day five. The eight anglers with the highest weight totals from the Knockout Round join the winners of the Qualifying Round to compete in the Championship Round and the chance to win $100,000. 
 
Initial 2020 Angler Groups are based on the final standings from the 2019 season points. A random drawing placed MLF Rookies Bryan Thrift and David Dudley. The Bass Pro Tour opens February 7th on Lake Eufaula (Ala.) with the following groups:

Group AGroup B
Jeff Sprague (2nd)Edwin Evers (1st)
Brent Ehrler (3rd)Jacob Wheeler (4th)
Todd Faircloth (6th)Michael Neal (5th)       
Jordan Lee (7th)Dustin Connell (8th)
Mark Rose (10th)Bobby Lane (9th)         
Andy Morgan (11th)Mike Iaconelli (12th)
Aaron Martens (14th)Casey Ashley (13th)    
Andy Montgomery (15th)Ott DeFoe (16th)
Jared Lintner (18th)Wesley Strader (17th)
Greg Hackney (19th)Fred Roumbanis (20th)
Stephen Browning (22nd)Bradley Roy (21st)      
Jacob Powroznik (23rd)Zack Birge (24th)
Greg Vinson (26th)Takahiro Omori (25th)
Mark Daniels Jr. (28th)Cody Meyer (29th)      
Randy Howell (31st)Randall Tharp (30th)
Anthony Gagliardi (32nd)Jason Christie (33rd)
Alton Jones Jr. (35th)Fletcher Shryock (34th)
Gary Klein (36th)Adrian Avena (37th)
Alton Jones (39th)        Dave Lefebre (38th)
Cliff Pace (40th)Luke Clausen (41st)
Marty Robinson (44th)Gerald Spohrer (43rd)
Brent Chapman (45th)Justin Lucas (46th)
Josh Bertrand (48th)Mark Davis (47th)        
Terry Scroggins (49th)Kevin VanDam (50th)
Chris Lane (52nd)Jesse Wiggins (51st)
Matt Lee (53rd)            Jonathon VanDam (54th)
Scott Suggs (56th)Russ Lane (55th)          
Jeff Kriet (57th)Keith Poche (58th)
John Murray (60th)Justin Atkins (59th)
James Elam (61st)        Skeet Reese (62nd)
Shin Fukae (64th)James Watson (63rd)
Boyd Duckett (65th)Ish Monroe (66th)
Timmy Horton (68th)David Walker (67th)
Dean Rojas (69th)Brett Hite (70th)
Tommy Biffle (72nd)Cliff Crochet (71st)
Brandon Coulter (73rd)            Kelly Jordan (74th)
Roy Hawk (76th)Shaw Grigsby (75th)
Britt Myers (77th)        Mike McClelland (78th)
Paul Elias (80th)Jason Lambert (79th)
Bryan Thrift (N/A)David Dudley (N/A)

According to Major League Fishing rules, Group A becomes B and vice versa for Stage Two. New angler groups will be established after each two Stages based on the standings from the previous two Stages.

Variable Weight Minimums
The 2020 season will open on Lake Eufaula (Feb. 7-12) where a two-pound minimum will be in effect for scorable bass. Minimum weights are determined for each competition water based on the productivity, bass population, and anticipated average size of fish in each fishery. The 2-pound minimum for Eufaula significantly raises the average scoring requirement above the 12- to 15-inch minimums mandated by most state fisheries managers (and used for traditional tournament scoring). According to extensive nationwide research compiled by bass biologist Steven Bardin, an average 12-inch largemouth in good health weighs 0.9 pounds (14 ounces); an average 15-inch largemouth weighs 1 pound, 13 ounces. 

The Lake Eufaula 14-inch minimum mandated by Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries – the standard used by tournament organizations as the minimum size allowed in a tournament weigh-in on the Alabama/Georgia border lake – translates to a 1-pound, 8-ounce bass (25 percent smaller on average than the 2-pound Bass Pro Tour minimum).

“We’re going to show up at one of the best fisheries in the country at Eufaula and ask these guys to fish for a minimum weight standard that’s the highest in the history of our sport. We know they’re going to catch big ones,” said Marty Stone, MLFNOW! Analyst, “but raising the bar to a 2-pound minimum resets the playing field. I’ll be interested to see how that affects the game.”
The Major League Fishing will announce the weight minimum to the anglers 30 days in advance of each Stage of the Bass Pro Tour. The variable minimum weight will not be incorporated into MLF Cup competitions or the World Championship. 

The 2020 Bass Pro Tour
The Bass Pro Tour features 80 of the best professional anglers in the world competing head-to-head in a fast-paced, catch, weigh, and immediately release format. The previously announced 2020 schedule includes:

StageDateLakeCityCommunity Host
OneFeb. 7-12Lake EufaulaEufaula, Ala.Eufaula Barbour Chamber of Commerce
TwoFeb. 21-26Lake OkeechobeeOkeechobee, Fla.Okeechobee County Tourism Development Council
ThreeMar. 13-18Lake ForkEmory, TexasLake Fork Area Chamber of Commerce
FourApr. 3-8Jordan Lake, Falls Lake, and Shearon Harris ReservoirRaleigh, N.C.Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance
FiveApr. 24-29Grand Lake O’ The CherokeesGrove, Okla.City of Grove
Special EventMay 16-20Kissimmee ChainKissimmee, Fla.Experience Kissimmee
SixJun. 5-10Lake Winnebago, Lake Butte des Morts, and Green LakeNeenah, Wis.Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau
SevenJun. 26-Jul. 1St. Lawrence RiverOgdensburg, N.Y.St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce and the City of Ogdensburg
EightJul. 21-26Lake ChamplainBurlington, Vt.Experience Vermont

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.

Major League Fishing showcases each fishery 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,” 

MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING RESPONDS TO 5 FISH FANS WITH “HEAVY HITTERS” OR DID THEY?

Major League Fishing announces an original tournament, “Heavy Hitters,” on the Kissimmee Chain Lakes in Kissimmee, Florida, May 16-20, 2020 featuring nearly three- quarters of a million dollars in event payouts. This special event, the first of its kind, extends the Bass Pro Tour to nine events. 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.

To qualify for Heavy Hitters, the weight of an angler’s single largest bass from each of the first five Stages of the Bass Pro Tour will be recorded. For example, if an angler’s heaviest fish in Stage One is 7 pounds; in Stage Two, 5 pounds; in Stage Three, 9 pounds; in Stage Four 8 pounds; and in Stage Five 6 pounds, that angler’s qualifying weight will be 35 pounds. The 30 anglers from the 80-angler field of the Bass Pro Tour with the highest cumulative weight across five stages earn a spot to compete in MLF’s Heavy Hitters.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to experiment with formats so we can discover new ways to present the sport of competitive bass fishing,” remarked Jim Wilburn, President and CEO of Major League Fishing. “As a young, angler-centric league, MLF strives to take notice of what’s happening in our industry and invent entertaining events that both teach trusted techniques from the best anglers in the world and invite new fans to the sport.” 

The five-day tournament format will parallel REDCREST, featuring a 30-angler Shotgun Round (day one) and a 30-angler Elimination Round (day two). The top 20 anglers at the end of the two-day total qualify into a Knockout Round (days three and four). The top five anglers from each of days three and four will qualify into the 10-angler Championship Round (day five). Scorable bass vary each round. Shotgun and Elimination Rounds will score 1 pound or higher. For the Knockout Round, Major League Fishing will test a 2-pound minimum for scorable bass. In the Championship Round, MLF will test a t3-pound minimum on scorable bass on the Kissimmee Chain Lakes. 

The full field of 30 anglers will receive a minimum payout of $6,000 and the tournament winner will earn $100,000.  In addition to the championship purse, anglers will have the opportunity to earn a daily bonus for their biggest bass of the day based on the following graduating scale: Day One $25,000; Day Two $25,000; Day Three $50,000; Day Four $50,000; Day Five (Championship Day) $100,000. The five-day payout totals $745,000 for MLF Heavy Hitters.

Major League Fishing will live stream Heavy Hitters from Kissimmee, Fla. and produce original programming for Discovery as a part of the Bass Pro Tour television lineup. 

Stage Five moves to Grand Lake
With the addition of MLF Heavy Hitters, Stage Five of the Bass Pro Tour will move to Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees, April 24-29, 2019, launching from the Wolf Creek Boat Ramp in Grove, Okla.  Each stage of the Bass Pro Tour includes six days of competition using the Major League Fishing, catch-weigh-and-immediately-release format, where every bass over 1 pound counts toward a cumulative weight total for the day. The field of 80 anglers is divided into two groups of 40 to compete on days one and two respectively for the Shotgun Round. On days three and four, the Elimination Round culls the field based on a combined two-day total weight from each angler’s Shotgun and Elimination Round. The top 20 anglers from each group in the Elimination Round (40 total) advance to the Knockout Round on day five, which determines who will compete on that final day, the Championship Round, for the Stage title and $100,000. 

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BASS FISHING LEGENDS FISH THE MLF FORMAT IN OUTDOOR CHANNEL SPECIAL PREMIER

Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019 (Tulsa, Okla.) General Tire Major League Legends presented by Bass Pro Shops premieres on Outdoor Channel on Friday, November 15 at 7 p.m. ET.  This one-hour special pairs bass fishing legends Bill Dance, Jimmy Houston, Roland Martin, and Johnny Morris with Major League Fishing (MLF) Pros Edwin Evers, Ott DeFoe, Timmy Horton, and Kevin VanDam to test their skills using the MLF tournament format as seen on the Bass Pro Tour. 
 
The action unfolds through the MLF catch, weigh, release format in which every fish, weighing at least 16 ounces, counts and culminating in a two-period, one-day weight total. Using SCORETRACKER® fans and anglers alike keep track of the changing field as each fish shifts the leader board in real-time until the clock runs down at the end of Period 2.
 
Viewers get an inside look into the relationships that form over years on the bass fishing tournament trails as legends and pros share stories, as well as a little tournament trash talk, while they compete for bragging rights, a trophy, and a pair of Tracker Off-Road ATVs. 
 
Angler/Co-Angler pairings fell as follows: MLF Pro Kevin VanDam (25-time major winner) and Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris; MLF Pro Timmy Horton (six-time major winner) paired with Roland Martin, 19-time major winner; MLF Pro Ott DeFoe (seven-time major winner) and Jimmy Houston, Bass Fishing Hall of Famer; and MLF Pro Edwin Evers (13-time major winner) paired with Bill Dance, the first superstar of bass fishing.
 
General Tire Major League Legends presented by Bass Pro Shops will premiere on Outdoor Channel on Friday, Nov. 15, 7-8 p.m. ET with re-airs Saturday, Nov. 16, 4-5 p.m. ET and Sunday, Nov. 17, 7-8 a.m. ET.

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