Jones' 8-3 Cashes for $50,000; Birge Books Trip to Championship Round with Knockout Win - Major League Fishing
Jones’ 8-3 Cashes for $50,000; Birge Books Trip to Championship Round with Knockout Win
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Jones’ 8-3 Cashes for $50,000; Birge Books Trip to Championship Round with Knockout Win

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Alton Jones Jr. earned $50,000 on Wednesday for catching the biggest bass of the Knockout Round with his 8-3. Photo by Phoenix Moore. Angler: Alton Jones Jr..
April 13, 2022 • Mason Prince • Bass Pro Tour

TYLER, Texas – The rainy weather that swept through the Lake Palestine area couldn’t dampen the Knockout Round of 2022 General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops on Wednesday. There was a $50,000 bass caught and eight anglers are moving on to the Championship Round on Thursday where they’ll have an opportunity to win $200,000 if they can manage a win and the big bass of the day.

Alton Jones Jr. walked away from the Knockout Round with an extra $50,000 in his pocket thanks to an 8-pound, 3-ounce bass in addition to qualifying for the Championship Round. Meanwhile, Fletcher Shryock, Ish Monroe, Zack Birge, Justin Lucas, Russ Lane, Takahiro Omori and Dustin Connell are also advancing to the Championship Round to meet Group A and B Qualifying Round winners Ott DeFoe and Stephen Browning.

FULL RESULTS

Jones Pitches to a Palestine Pig, Wins $50,000

Jones connected with his Palestine monster in Period 2 of the Knockout Round. Not only did that fish earn the Texas pro the $50,000 Berkley Big Bass check, it gave him a chance at an even bigger check by sending him to Thursday’s Championship Round.

“Getting $50,000 for one bite is pretty cool,” Jones said in disbelief as time expired on the Knockout Round. “You always hope you’re going to get a bite like that and there’s always a little bit of luck involved. I got that luck today.”

Jones was pitching a Geecrack Bellows Gill around boat docks in a shallow-water pocket when he connected with the big fish. He already held the big bass lead with a 6-10 he caught earlier in the period, but he wasn’t going to pass up an 8-pounder.

Jones was celebrating after he caught a 6-10 for the big bass lead. Little did he know that he would catch an even bigger bass later in the day. Photo by Josh Gassmann

The 2022 Bass Pro Tour Stage Two champion is now heading into the Heavy Hitters Championship Round, where he’ll try to earn his second win of the season and a $100,000 check for the biggest bass. The Texas pro has confidence in his sight-fishing ability, but Thursday may not be about ending the day on top of SCORETRACKER®, but with a second big-fish reward.

“I honestly thought that if I could survive today, I would have a good chance at catching a big one tomorrow,” Jones said. “Blue skies and light winds tomorrow make for the best sight-fishing day that we’ve had all week. It’s going to be hard for me to keep up numbers-wise, so tomorrow is about putting myself in front of the biggest bass on this lake and trying to win $100,000 that way.”

Birge’s Strong Period 3 Helps Win Knockout Round

Zack Birge is moving on to his ninth Championship Round since joining the Bass Pro Tour in 2019. Photo by Josh Gassmann

Birge is onto another Championship Round in his Bass Pro Tour career after catching 10 bass for 37-14 to top the 16-man field. Birge edged out second-place Justin Lucas by 4-2 for the win. While the top spot in the Knockout Round doesn’t net Birge any extra cash, it goes a long way in helping his confidence heading into the final day.

“I fish a lot better when I have some momentum and confidence in what I’m doing,” Birge said. “That third period gave me that confidence. I just ran some new water today and kept doing what I was doing that got me here, and that’s throwing a frog.”

The Oklahoma pro looked to be in a good position on SCORETRACKER® heading into the final period of the day, sitting in fifth place and more the 10 pounds above the cut line. But after a storm rolled through the area and delayed competition for more than an hour before beginning Period 3, Birge lit up SCORETRACKER® with five bass for 18-13.

Birge said he doesn’t think the weather delay had a lot to do with his bite picking up — he credits that to running some new water. Regardless, Birge heads into his ninth Championship Round since joining the Bass Pro Tour and is still looking for his first win. Although there’s an opportunity for up to $200,000 for catching the big bass and winning, Birge has only one goal in mind.

“I’m trying to win the tournament,” Birge simply stated. “If a big one bites my bait, that’s even better. But, my goal is to go out there and win.”

Daily Leaders

  • The Berkley Big Bass of the Day was Alton Jones Jr.’s 8-3.
  • Zack Birge had the most weight on SCORETRACKER® with 37-14.
  • Birge also had the most scoreable bass in the round with 10.

What’s Next & How to Watch

The eight advancing anglers from the Knockout Round return to Lake Palestine on Thursday for the Championship Round where they will meet Ott DeFoe and Stephen Browning. Those 10 anglers will have their weights reset back to zero and look to take the top spot on SCORETRACKER®. The angler on top of SCORETRACKER® at the end of three periods of fishing will be crowned the 2022 Heavy Hitters Champion and win $100,000. The pros will also be trying to catch the big bass of the round — as the prize has been increased and that fish will earn them $100,000.

The competition kicks off at 8 a.m. CST. Live coverage of the final day of General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops starts at 7:45 a.m. CST on the MLF NOW! live stream. Watch for free on MajorLeagueFishing.com, the MLF app, or the MyOutdoorTV app.

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