MONROE-WEST MONROE, La. – After surviving a tough four-day Qualifying Round on Lake D’Arbonne, the 38 Bass Pro Tour anglers that advanced to Wednesday’s Knockout Round on Caney Creek Reservoir were rewarded with an incredible day of fishing, that included a new record for the all-time heaviest bass weighed in Bass Pro Tour competition.
When time expired at 5 p.m., Academy Sports + Outdoors pro, Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tennessee, had tallied “one of the best fishing days of his entire life” – nine bass totaling 43 pounds, 7 ounces – to win the Knockout Round and advance to the final day of competition at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One Presented by Power-Pole in Monroe-West Monroe, Louisiana. Wheeler’s closest competitor was Berkley pro, Jordan Lee of Cullman, Alabama, who boated six bass – including a pair of 8-pounders – for a total weight of 34 pounds, 10 ounces.
MLF NOW! analyst Marty Stone often likes to say, the best anglers will catch fish and win, no matter the format. His point was well proven, Wednesday, as Wheeler’s best five-fish weight would have been 32 pounds, 5 ounces, and Lee’s best five would have gone for 32 pounds even – magical days by any format.
Guntersville, Alabama’s Randy Howell won the day’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass award after he caught the largest bass ever weighed in Bass Pro Tour competition – a 10-pound, 11-ounce giant that bit his lipless crankbait in Period 1. Berkley awards $1,000 to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass each day, and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass of the tournament.
The final 10 anglers are now set, and competition will resume Thursday morning with the Championship Round when weights are zeroed, and the angler that catches the most one-day weight will win the top prize of $100,000.
The six-day event, hosted by Discover Monroe-West Monroe, showcases 80 of the top professional bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a total purse of $805,000.
The top eight pros from Wednesday’s Knockout Round that will compete in Thursday’s Championship Round on Bussey Brake are:
1st: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., nine bass, 43-7
2nd: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., six bass, 34-10
3rd: Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky., six bass, 27-12
4th: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., six bass, 23-0
5th: Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala., three bass, 18-3
6th: Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, five bass, 18-1
7th: Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, four bass, 15-6
8th: Shinichi Fukae, Osaka, Japan, three bass, 14-9
They’ll be joined by Qualifying Round winners:
Group A: Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala.
Group B: Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga.
Full results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
“What an unbelievable day,” said an excited Wheeler said in his post-game interview. “That was so much fun. As many big ones as I caught – it was definitely the best tournament fishing day I’ve ever had. One of the best fishing days of my entire life.”
Wheeler spent the day throwing a jerkbait, targeting offshore structure – rock, points and brush.
“Multiple different jerkbaits played for me today,” Wheeler said. “It was pretty much Jerkbait Fishing 101. I threw it on a 6-foot, 8-inch medium-action (Duckett) Kelly Jordon Pro Series rod with 12-pound Sufix line.
“I promise that this isn’t the last time that you’ll see me here,” Wheeler went on to say. “I’ll definitely be making a couple of trips back to Caney Lake, this place was unreal.”
Also having a special day on the water was Alabama’s Jordan Lee, who weighed in two fish over 8 pounds and one over 7 pounds.
“Today was just crazy, the size of fish that I caught today,” Lee said. “I only caught six, but they were big. It was an incredible day.
“I caught the first fish on a ½-ounce football jig with a Berkley Chigger Craw, and it was one of those 8s,” Lee said. “From then on, I couldn’t get those fish to bite. I could see them on my Lowrance, so that’s when I went to a little Ned Rig.
“I was cutting a Berkley Hit Worm in half and using that on a spinning rod, and that was pretty much my 1-2 punch out deep.”
Rounding out the top 40 finishers were:
11th: Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., four bass, 14-5, $10,000
12th: Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., three bass, 12-2, $10,000
13th: David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., three bass, 10-13, $10,000
14th: Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., three bass, 8-15, $1, $10,000
15th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., three bass, 7-13, $10,000
16th: Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., three bass, 7-12, $10,000
17th: Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., two bass, 7-11, $10,000
18th: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., three bass, 7-4, $10,000
19th: Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., three bass, 7-1, $10,000
20th: Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., two bass, 6-6, $10,000
21st: Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., three bass, 6-5, $10,000
22nd: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., two bass, 6-0, $10,000
23rd: Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., two bass, 5-15, $10,000
24th: Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., two bass, 5-5, $10,000
25th: Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., one bass, 5-1, $10,000
26th: Roy Hawk, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., two bass, 4-14, $10,000
27th: Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., one bass, 4-7, $10,000
28th: Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., one bass, 3-12, $10,000
29th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., one bass, 3-11, $10,000
30th: James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., one bass, 3-2, $10,000
31st: Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, one bass, 2-7, $10,000
32nd: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., one bass, 2-6, $10,000
33rd: Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., one bass, 2-5, $10,000
34th: Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., one bass, 2-2, $10,000
35th: Alton Jones Jr., Waco, Texas, zero bass, $10,000
35th: Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., zero bass, $10,000
35th: Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., zero bass, $10,000
35th: Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., zero bass, $10,000
35th: Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., zero bass, $10,000
35th: Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., zero bass, $10,000
Overall, there were 91 scorable bass weighing 342 pounds, 14 ounces caught by 32 pros on Wednesday, which included six 7-pounders, two 8-pounders, and one 10-pounder.
The 40 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Lake D’Arbonne Saturday and Monday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Sunday and Tuesday. After the two-day Qualifying Round, the anglers that finished in 2nd through 20th place from both groups advanced to Wednesday’s Knockout Round on Caney Creek Reservoir, while the winner of each group advanced directly to Thursday’s Championship Round. In the Knockout Round weights are zeroed, and the remaining 38 anglers competed to finish in the top 8 to advance to the Championship Round on Bussey Brake. Tomorrow, in the final day Championship Round, weights are zeroed and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.
The final 10 anglers competing in Thursday’s Championship Round on Bussey Brake will launch from Bonner Ferry Road, five miles northwest of Bastrop off of Hwy 593 at 8:30 a.m. The General Tire Takeout will be held at the launch ramp, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all takeoff and takeout ceremonies and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One Presented by Power-Pole features anglers competing in the Championship Round with a 2-pound minimum weight requirement on Bussey Brake for a bass to be deemed scorable. Minimum weights are determined individually for each competition waters that the Bass Pro Tour visits, based on the productivity, bass population and anticipated average size of fish in each fishery.
The Bass Pro Tour features a field of 80 of the top professional anglers in the world competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, competing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2023 championship.
The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action on all six days of competition from 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One Presented by Power-Pole will premiere at 7 a.m. ET, Sept. 3 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, BallyBet, Bass Cat, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Covercraft, Favorite Fishing, Garmin, General Tire, Googan Baits, Grundéns, Guaranteed Rate, Humminbird, Lowrance, Luminox, Mercury, Minn Kota, Mossy Oak, Nitro Performance Boats, Onyx, Plano, Power-Pole, Power Stop, Rapala, Starbrite, Toro, Toyota, Wrangler, Yellowstone Bourbon and Zoom.
For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the Bass Pro Tour, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.