STURGEON BAY, Wis. (Aug. 26, 2020) – Fishing conditions were a little tougher Wednesday at the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, the FLW Pro Circuit Championship on Lake Michigan in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Luckily for pro Kurt Mitchell of Milford, Delaware, he caught so many bass on Monday that it truly didn’t matter. After catching 119 pounds, 10 ounces on Monday, Mitchell added another three bass for 8 pounds, 5 ounces on Wednesday to win the Qualifying Round with a two-day cumulative total of 36 fish for 127-15.
Pro Evan Barnes of Hot Springs, Arkansas, finished the round in second place with 29 bass totaling 90 pounds even. Alpine, California pro Rusty Salewske was one of the big movers of the day, catching the most weight – 13 bass for 44 pounds, 6 ounces – to vault from 16th place into seventh with a two-day total of 64-7, while local pro Matthew Stefan of Junction City, Wisconsin, remained in the hunt for $200,000, catching a two-day total of 20 bass weighing 68-5 – good for sixth place.
The top 10 pros from Group A now advance to Friday’s Knockout Round, where they’ll be joined by the top 10 pros from Group B after Thursday’s competition day. Tournament weights are zeroed, and anglers will compete to finish in the top 10 for the opportunity to advance to the sixth and final day of competition on Saturday.
“Today was a much tougher day for me, but that’s fine because I didn’t fish any areas that I knew were holding bass. I pretty much spent the day practicing and looking for new areas for the Knockout Round,” said Mitchell, who has four career top-10 finishes in FLW competition. “The bad news is that I didn’t really find anything new, but that is okay. There are hundreds of fish right here, so I’m going to keep pounding away at them and try to figure them out each every day.”
Barnes said he was going to spend his “off day” on Thursday scouring the local tackle stores.
“I need to find a good tackle shop tomorrow because I’m running out of drop-shot baits,” Mitchell said. “I’ve thrown so many Yamamoto Shad Shape Worms that I’m almost out.
“I also plan on throwing a spybait on Friday for a little bit,” Mitchell continued. “I’ve had good luck with them on highly-pressured fish, so I think that could be a player. I’m just excited to get back out there. I’ve had a lot of fun with the Major League Fishing (MLF) format and I’m ready to get back out there again and put the hammer down.”
The top 10 pros from Group A that now advance to Friday’s Knockout Round are:
1st: Kurt Mitchell of Milford, Del., 36 bass, 127-15
2nd: Evan Barnes of Hot Springs, Ark., 29 bass, 90-0
3rd: Casey Scanlon of Eldon, Mo., 28 bass, 89-5
4th: Grae Buck of Green Lane, Pa., 23 bass, 81-11
5th: Greg Bohannan of Bentonville, Ark., 22 bass, 72-2
6th: Matthew Stefan of Junction City, Wis., 20 bass, 68-5
7th: Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif., 19 bass, 64-7
8th: Jon Canada of Helena, Ala., 19 bass, 63-3
9th: Joshua Weaver of Macon, Ga., 20 bass, 59-13
10th: Ron Nelson of Berrien Springs, Mich., 18 bass, 58-9
Complete results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Mitchell caught a 5-pound, 10-ounce smallmouth bass Monday – the largest fish weighed in Group A’s Qualifying Round. For that fish, Mitchell earned the $500 Berkley Big Bass Award.
Overall there were 174 bass weighing 559 pounds, 13 ounces caught by the 25 pros in Group A Wednesday.
The Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, the FLW Pro Circuit Championship, is hosted by Destination Sturgeon Bay. The six-day event features the top 50 professional anglers from the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season angling for a piece of $820,000, including the first-place prize of $200,000.
Unique to the TITLE Championship, the event is being fished using the MLF catch-weigh-immediate release format. A select group of 25 pros (Group A) competed on Days 1 & 3 (Monday & Wednesday), with the other 25 pros (Group B) competing on Days 2 & 4 (Tuesday & Thursday). The top-10 pros from each group based on their cumulative two-day total will advance to Day 5 (Friday). Only the top 10 pros will continue on to the sixth and final day of competition Saturday, with the winner earning the inaugural Tackle Warehouse TITLE Championship Belt presented by Toyota.
Attendance is limited to anglers and essential staff and fans are encouraged to follow the event online through expanded broadcast coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com and read the daily coverage, live blogs and photos at FLWFishing.com.
The MLF NOW! broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action every day of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. They’re joined by FLW Live hosts Travis Moran and Todd Hollowell, who will be reporting and providing from-the-water analysis from Sturgeon Bay.
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