Marshall Robinson tops loaded Day 2 leaderboard with 92-8 on Dale Hollow - Major League Fishing
Marshall Robinson tops loaded Day 2 leaderboard with 92-8 on Dale Hollow
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Marshall Robinson tops loaded Day 2 leaderboard with 92-8 on Dale Hollow

Image for Marshall Robinson tops loaded Day 2 leaderboard with 92-8 on Dale Hollow
Marshall Robinson took the lead for Group B with 29 bass weighing 92 pounds, 8 ounces. Photo by Tyler Brinks. Angler: Marshall Robinson.
April 10, 2024 • Mitchell Forde • Bass Pro Tour

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. — Talk of a youth revolution has become a hot topic in the tournament bass-fishing world, as a cadre of teenaged and 20-something anglers seems to be qualifying for top tours and winning trophies with increased frequency.

Through two days of competition on Dale Hollow Lake in Tennessee, PowerStop Brakes Stage Three Presented by Mercury has followed the same script. Twenty-year-old Marshall Robinson, the youngest angler on the Bass Pro Tour, boated 29 scorable bass for a massive total of 92 pounds, 8 ounces on Wednesday, the first day of qualifying for Group B. Robinson battled with Dustin Connell for the top spot on SCORETRACKER® throughout the day, ultimately finishing 4-1 clear of the reigning REDCREST champion.

Robinson’s impressive showing comes a day after 21-year-old Drew Gill claimed the top spot during Group A’s first day on the water. Robinson headlines a loaded leaderboard, with Connell, Alton Jones Jr.Jacob Wheeler and Justin Lucas — all past BPT winners — lurking right behind him.

Complete results can be found here.

Robinson riding same pattern across the lake

With more than enough bass to his name to make the Knockout Round after the first day, Robinson plans to spend Friday scouting out new locations.

Inextricably linked with the discussion about the recent success of young anglers has been the polarizing debate about forward-facing sonar and finesse fishing, most notably the jighead minnow. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that’s how Robinson amassed his weight Wednesday.

“I’m throwing a minnow a lot,” he said. “And then I also have a few key bottom baits. I’m throwing a Ned rig some and a drop-shot, just picking off some of those fish that might be spawning, locked on and don’t want to come off their bed. But I kept it pretty simple. I don’t think I threw more than four rods today.”

Robinson identified the pattern that keyed his hot start on the first day of practice. The fish had moved a bit by Wednesday, but once he figured out how they were setting up, the action was fast and furious. He replicated his success on multiple spots across the lake, which should bode well for the coming days.

“I don’t think I caught more than four or five fish (apiece) off of one area,” Robinson said. “I would just jump from area to area running my pattern and pick up three, four, five fish over and over again.”

During practice, Robinson caught mostly largemouth. On Wednesday, however, he did the majority of his damage with smallmouth, catching 20 scorable brown fish compared to nine green ones. 

It wasn’t just Robinson but Group B as a whole that caught more smallmouth than the anglers in Group A did during their first day on the water. The brown fish Dale Hollow is best known for comprised nearly 37% of the 448 scorable bass weighed on the day, although a 5-11 largemouth caught by Andy Morgan won Berkley Big Bass honors.

More important for Robinson was the fact that, regardless of species, he not only found fish in bulk quantities but impressive quality. Of the 23 total bass that tipped the scales at 4 pounds or more Wednesday, Robinson caught five of them. Connell boated two more scorable bass than Robinson, but Robinson’s average size (3.19 pounds) earned him the top spot.

“You’re going to have a bunch of guys who catch the same amount of fish, so the only thing that’s going to set you apart is figuring out what those bigger fish are doing, … because you can catch one fish that weighs what two of theirs does,” Robinson said.

Almost certainly assured a spot in the Knockout Round even if he fails to catch a keeper on the second day of qualifying, Robinson said he plans to use Friday to explore new water and hopefully find more places that fit his pattern. He’s optimistic that targeting offshore schools with forward-facing sonar, which dominated Wednesday, will be the way to win, but he’s not totally counting out the shallow bite.

“I really think there’s a chance that shallow fish could play, but it’s all dependent on if they make a push (to spawn) or not,” he said. “I don’t see the tournament being won on the bank unless a big wave moves up (to spawn). I definitely think the deeper ‘Scope bite is dominant right now.”

The son of Bass Pro Tour veteran Marty Robinson and Polaris Rookie of the Year winner on the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals last year, the younger Robinson isn’t nervous about holding an early lead. While he’s still looking for his first professional win, he’s fished – and  held his own – against big-name competition before.

However, he acknowledged that seeing his name atop SCORETRACKER® in just his third BPT event feels a bit surreal.

“It feels almost too good to be true,” he said. “I might puke it up, but it is a really good feeling. It makes you feel accomplished.”

What’s next for Stage Three

Group B will have Thursday off, as the 40 anglers in Group A will return to the water for their second day of qualifying. Group B will then return to action Friday. The Top 10 anglers in each group at the end of the Qualifying Round will advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round.

It’s shaping up to be a tight race to stay above the cut line in Group B, where, for the second day in a row, it took more than 40 pounds to grab a spot in the Top 10. Keith Carson currently sits in 10th place with 42-2, but six anglers loom within 10 pounds of his total.

Watch all the action across the last four days on the MLFNOW! live stream. The stream will start at 7:45 a.m. CT and last until 4:30 p.m. on MajorLeagueFishing.com, the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app and Rumble.com.

Fishing Clash Angler of the Year

The 79 anglers taking on Dale Hollow this week aren’t just battling for a first-place trophy and $100,000 payday. Valuable points in the Fishing Clash Angler of the Year race are also up for grabs. The winner of the season-long competition will take home an additional $100,000 check.

Fishing Clash, an interactive 3D fishing simulation game that’s played by more than 80 million people worldwide, is the official AOY sponsor of the Bass Pro Tour, Tackle Warehouse Invitationals, Toyota Series and Phoenix Bass Fishing League. You can download Fishing Clash for free in the App Store and on Google Play, or log on to www.fishingclash.game for more information.