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Major League Fishing News

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. 
 
 
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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.”

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Major League Fishing News

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,” 

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Major League Fishing News

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. 

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

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

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

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

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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 News

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.

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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.

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Major League Fishing News

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.

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Major League Fishing News

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.