Junior's Jubilation! Alton Jones, Jr. Claims First Major Win with Bass Pro Tour Trophy at Lake Fork - Major League Fishing

Junior’s Jubilation! Alton Jones, Jr. Claims First Major Win with Bass Pro Tour Trophy at Lake Fork

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February 25, 2022 • Joel Shangle • Bass Pro Tour

QUITMAN, Texas – Once it was all said and done – after brutal late-winter weather had tested the mettle of the 80-man field, shortened competition days and postponed the final round of Toro Stage Two Presented by Grundéns – it all came back around to what matters most on Lake Fork, Texas: getting the right fish to bite at the right time.

It doesn’t even have to be the biggest fish, just the right fish.

For Alton Jones Jr., “right” was a 2-pound, 8-ounce largemouth that he pulled off a stump in Little Caney Creek 15 minutes into the final period. It was far from the biggest fish of the week for the Texas pro, but big enough to push him past a surging Dakota Ebare for a scant 10-ounce lead.


Jones didn’t catch another fish for the rest of the period … but neither did Ebare. Both continued to fish their best spots until lines out, each trying to scratch out a scorable bite as Jacob Wheeler crept to within 6 pounds with two fish in the final period. In the end, Jones earned the trophy with 46-2 on 13 fish followed by Ebare (45-8 with 10 fish), Wheeler (40-0 with 10 fish) and Casey Ashley (36-4 on 11 fish).

“That couldn’t have been more scary,” Jones admitted as time ticked down to zero in the final period. “I came (to Lake Fork) with high expectations – had some big bites in practice, but everything just seemed random.”

Jones hunkered down on Championship Friday in the same drain in Little Caney Creek where he started the event nearly a week ago. It was an area that he had high hopes for, but it took awhile for it to develop.

“I fished the entire first period (of the first qualifying day) in this drain and didn’t get a bite for an hour,” Jones admitted. “I didn’t come back here until the Knockout Round, but I came in here that day and the magic happened. I was able to get pretty dialed on what the fish wanted.”

What the fish wanted was a red squarebill crankbait. Jones spent the final day cranking around stumps in zero to 10 feet of water, keeping his eye on his forward-facing sonar and connecting with a 6-2 and a 5-12 to anchor his 13-fish day.  

“I can’t even believe it,” an emotional Jones admitted right after lines out. “I don’t even feel like I deserve it. I’m happy to win $100,000, but man, I can’t wait to get my hands on that trophy.”

Ebare Made a Run

Bass Pro Tour rookie Ebare entered the weather-truncated final period 9-7 behind Jones, but weighed 4-13 just six minutes into the period and grabbed the lead from Jones three minutes later with a 6-8. It was the first time Jones had surrendered the lead since the first period.

The Texas pro had a memorable event, racking up the most overall weight (186-14) and putting the most scorable fish on SCORETRACKER® (46 bass).

Friday’s final round ran on an unusual schedule, starting at 11 a.m. CT to mitigate the effects of an overnight East Texas freeze that left a sheet of ice on bridges and boat ramps all the way around Lake Fork.

Daily Leaders

  • The Berkley Big Bass of the Day was Jacob Wheeler’s 8-5 caught in Period 2.
  • Alton Jones Jr. put the most weight on SCORETRACKER® with 46-2.
  • Jones Jr. also caught he most scoreable bass with 13.

Up Next: Stage Three on Smith Lake

The 80-angler Bass Pro Tour field will have very little rest time as they head straight to Cullman, Alabama, March 2-7 for Favorite Fishing Stage Three Presented by Mercury. Lewis Smith Lake will host the Bass Pro Tour for the second time: Dean Rojas earned the trophy in the firth-ever BPT event with 47-0 in the Championship Round on May 5, 2019.

All six days of Stage Three can be seen on the MLF NOW! live stream, with action kicking off daily at 8 a.m. CT. Watch for free on MajorLeagueFishing.com, the MLF app, or the MyOutdoorTV app.

Bally Bet Angler of the Year

After back-to-back Championship Round appearances, Alton Jones heads into the third Bass Pro Tour event of the season with a four-point lead over Jacob Wheeler for Bally Bet Angler of the year: Jones leaves Lake Fork with 155 points to Wheeler’s 151.

MLF has partnered 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 2022 Bally Bet Angler of the Year will take home a $100,000 prize at the end of the 2022 Bass Pro Tour season. Follow the Bally Bet AOY standings all year long as the Bass Pro Tour season continues.