STURGEON BAY, Wis. – Pro Joey Cifuentes of Clinton, Arkansas, caught 14 fish Thursday totaling 49 pounds, 5 ounces, to win the Group B Qualifying Round at the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, the FLW Pro Circuit Championship on Lake Michigan in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Cifuentes’ two-day cumulative total of 32 bass weighing 109-10 was 15½ pounds ahead of second-place, fellow Arkansan pro Spencer Shuffield of Hot Springs, who finished with 29 bass totaling 94-2.
“I started out on a place this morning where I had fished on Tuesday and caught a 3½ pounder on my first cast,” said Cifuentes. “Other than that, every place that I fished today was brand new water for me. I put the (Berkley) Flat Worm to work and caught a ton of fish. My goal was to catch around 20 pounds and finish in the top 10, so to catch almost 50 and win the round – I’m feeling ecstatic.
“I really think that I can do even better tomorrow than I did today,” Cifuentes continued. “I wasn’t really doing anything different today – I was fishing the same pattern, the same depths, but I put a few things together mid-day and it just clicked. I’m really excited to get back out there.”
Cifuentes said that every bass that he caught came on the drop-shot rig, fished on an Abu Garcia Veritas Winch Spinning Rod with an Abu Garcia Revo Premier 30 spinning reel. He used 15-pound Berkley X5 braided line with a 6-pound Berkley Trilene 100% fluorocarbon leader and a No. 1 Berkley Fusion19 drop-shot hook.
“My goal coming into the event was to make it to the Knockout Round, so now I’m going for it,” Cifuentes said. “I want to win it, bad. I feel like I’m on the right fish and if things work out, I can do it.”
South Carolina pro Bradford Beavers caught the most weight Thursday – 17 bass weighing 56-1 – to make the biggest jump of the day, climbing to eighth place to punch his ticket to the Knockout Round after starting the day in 24th.
“I was doing the math and I thought that if I could somehow catch 17 fish today, I might have a shot,” Beavers said. “I lost two, but I still caught 17 and it ended up working out for me. The conditions weren’t favorable – there was no wind – but the fish were biting pretty steadily for me. I never had a big lull, I caught one about every 20 minutes on the Berkley Flat Worm.
“It was very stressful – I never felt safe until I caught the 5-pounder with about a minute left in Period 3,” Beavers went on to say. “But now, everyone starts over. I came into today with one good area, now I think I have two good areas. So, I’ll hit them again tomorrow and go, go, go until I run into them.”
The top 10 pros from Group B after the Qualifying Round finished:
1st: Joey Cifuentes of Clinton, Ark., 32 bass, 109-10
2nd: Spencer Shuffield of Hot Springs, Ark., 29 bass, 94-2
3rd: Wade Strelic of Alpine, Calif., 29 bass, 87-4
4th: John Cox of DeBary, Fla., 25 bass, 86-10
5th: Dylan Hays of Hot Springs, Ark., 26 bass, 81-1
6th: Matt Becker of Finleyville, Pa., 24 bass, 81-0
7th: Mitch Crane of Columbus, Miss., 22 bass, 73-5
8th: Christopher Brasher of Longview, Texas, 22 bass, 71-8
9th: Bradford Beavers of Summerville, S.C., 22 bass, 70-5
10th: Kyle Hall of Granbury, Texas, 17 bass, 62-14
Complete results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Clark Reehm of Elm Grove, Louisiana, caught a 5-pound, 11-ounce smallmouth bass Tuesday – the largest fish weighed in Group B’s Qualifying Round. For that fish, Reehm earned the $500 Berkley Big Bass Award.
Overall there were 214 bass weighing 710 pounds, 11 ounces caught by the 25 pros in Group B Thursday.
The top 10 pros from both Group A and Group B now advance to Friday’s Knockout Round. Tournament weights are zeroed, and anglers will compete to finish in the top 10 for the opportunity to advance to the sixth and final day of competition on Saturday.
The 20 anglers that will Compete in Friday’s Knockout Round are:
Evan Barnes of Hot Springs, Ark.
Bradford Beavers of Summerville, S.C.
Matt Becker of Finleyville, Pa.
Greg Bohannan of Bentonville, Ark.
Christopher Brasher of Longview, Texas
Grae Buck of Green Lane, Pa.
Jon Canada of Helena, Ala.
Joey Cifuentes of Clinton, Ark.
John Cox of DeBary, Fla.
Mitch Crane of Columbus, Miss.
Kyle Hall of Granbury, Texas
Dylan Hays of Hot Springs, Ark.
Kurt Mitchell of Milford, Del.
Ron Nelson of Berrien Springs, Mich.
Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif.
Casey Scanlon of Eldon, Mo.
Spencer Shuffield of Hot Springs, Ark.
Matthew Stefan of Junction City, Wis.
Wade Strelic of Alpine, Calif.
Joshua Weaver of Macon, Ga.
The Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, the FLW Pro Circuit Championship, is hosted by Destination Sturgeon Bay. The six-day event features the top 50 professional anglers from the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season angling for a piece of $820,000, including the first-place prize of $200,000.
Unique to the TITLE Championship, the event is being fished using the MLF catch-weigh-immediate release format. A select group of 25 pros (Group A) competed on Days 1 & 3 (Monday & Wednesday), and the other 25 pros (Group B) competed on Days 2 & 4 (Tuesday & Thursday). Now, the top-10 pros from each group based on their cumulative two-day total will advance to Day 5 (Friday). Only the top 10 pros will continue on to the sixth and final day of competition Saturday, with the winner earning the inaugural Tackle Warehouse TITLE Championship Belt presented by Toyota.
Attendance is limited to anglers and essential staff and fans are encouraged to follow the event online through expanded broadcast coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com and read the daily coverage, live blogs and photos at FLWFishing.com.
The MLF NOW! broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action every day of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. They’re joined by FLW Live hosts Travis Moran and Todd Hollowell, who will be reporting and providing from-the-water analysis from Sturgeon Bay.
Television coverage of the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota event will be showcased across six two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 p.m. EDT, Oct. 9 on the Outdoor Channel. Episodes premiere in Friday night primetime slots on the Outdoor Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel.
The 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit featured a field of 150 of the top professional anglers in the world competing at six regular-season events around the country. The top 50 anglers in the Angler of the Year (AOY) standings after the six events qualified to compete in this event, the inaugural Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, FLW and its partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Zimbabwe.
FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show while Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. Acquired by Major League Fishing in late 2019, FLW is expanding its programming in 2020 to the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel as well as on-demand at MyOutdoorTV (MOTV).
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