MONROE-WEST MONROE, La. – It took awhile for the temperatures to heat up on northern Louisiana’s Lake D’Arbonne, as well as the bite. Group A took on the 15,000-acre reservoir for the first qualifying day of the B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One Presented by Power-Pole, and the bites were few and far between. However, Stephen Browning was able to stand out above the rest of Group A to end the first day of competition in the lead.
Browning heads into his second day of competition on Monday with six bass for 21 pounds, 2 ounces, leading second-place angler Mark Daniels Jr. by 3-4.
Like most anglers, it was a slower start for Browning on the chilly waters of Lake D’Arbonne. At the end of the first period, the Arkansas pro only had one scorable bass for 2-8. In fact, he only added two more bass in Period 2 for 5-11. But as the temperatures began to warm in the afternoon, Browning’s bites began to pick up. Three bass weighing in at 6-4, 4-4 and 2-7 pushed his total over the 20-pound mark, securing Browning the top spot in Group A.
Browning finished sixth in the AOY race in 2021, his best finish yet on the Bass Pro Tour. As he prepared to get his 2022 season started, he knew that he wanted to keep the momentum from 2021 going strong.
“I had a good season last year, and it was really important to me to keep that going in this first event,” Browning said as time was winding down in Period 3. “When you have a good day against this level of competition, it makes you feel really good.”
Browning spent the majority of his day pitching a black and blue 3/8-ounce jig on 20-pound Gamma Edge Fluorocarbon spooled on a Lew’s Tournament Pro 8.3:1 reel on a 7-foot-4 St. Croix Legend Elite rod.
“I really focused on green trees today in about 4 to 6 feet of water with that jig,” Browning divulged. “By green, I mean cypress trees that haven’t died completely and still have some leaves on them. I like that strategy and I think that’s what I’m going to stick with when we’re back out here on Monday.”
Jeremy Lawyer is one of the new names on the Bass Pro Tour in the 2022 season, and he showed that he might spend some quality time near the top of the leaderboard. The Missouri pro ended his first day of Stage One in fifth place with four bass for 13 pounds.
While he sits inside the top five, Lawyer admitted that his first day was quite the grind.
“I had to use four different baits to get four bites today, but I made them count,” Lawyer said. “I didn’t really know what to expect today and really just grinded it out. We’ll see what Monday holds. We’ll get a new game plan, get re-rigged and get ready to go.”
Group B takes on a stingy Lake D’Arbonne on Sunday starting at 9 a.m. CST. Watch all three periods of Group B’s first qualifying day on the MLF NOW! live stream beginning at 8:30 a.m CST on Sunday. Watch for FREE on MajorLeagueFishing.com, the MLF app, or the MyOutdoorTV app.
Major League Fishing is proud to partner with Bally Bet for the 2022 Bally Bet Angler of the Year award. Bally’s is MLF’s exclusive sports betting, daily fantasy sports, and free-to-play partner for all MLF tournament circuits. The Bally Bet Angler of the Year will take home a $100,000 prize at the end of the 2022 Bass Pro Tour season. Be sure to check out the Bally Bet AOY standings all year long as the Bass Pro Tour season continues.