HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Major League Fishing and the Bass Pro Tour, showcasing the top anglers in the sport of professional bass fishing, are set to visit Harrison Township, Michigan, and Lake St. Clair next week, June 24-29, for the sixth regular-season event of the 2023 Bass Pro Tour season – the General Tire Stage Six at Lake St. Clair Presented by John Deere Utility Vehicles.
The six-day tournament, hosted by the Detroit Sports Commission, Macomb County and Lake St. Clair Metroparks, will feature a field of 80 professional anglers, including bass-fishing superstars like Kalamazoo, Michigan’s Kevin VanDam, and Jonathon VanDam, REDCREST 2023 Champion Bryan Thrift, Jordan Lee and reigning back-to-back Bally Bet Angler of the Year (AOY) Jacob Wheeler. They’ll be competing for a purse of more than $805,000, including a top payout of $100,000 and valuable Angler of the Year (AOY) points in hopes of qualifying for the General Tire Heavy Hitters All-Star event and REDCREST 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship.
“Macomb County is very excited to host Stage Six of the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour on Lake St. Clair next week,” said Gerard Santoro, Macomb County Program Director of Parks and Natural Resources. “The professional anglers bring excitement to the region with this style of fishing competition, and we know that this legendary lake will not let them down.”
Lake St. Clair is a familiar destination for MLF and the pro anglers that compete on the Bass Pro Tour, as the fishery has played host to numerous major bass-fishing tournaments over the years. When the Bass Pro Tour last visited the fishery in the fall of 2021, Tennessee pro Michael Neal wrapped up the first pro-level win of his career targeting smallmouth at the mouth of the Detroit River and Lake Erie with a crankbait, vibrating jig and drop-shot rig.
The upcoming event will take place much earlier in the year, marking the opening day for Michigan and Canadian bass anglers’ traditional season. Arkansas pro Spencer Shuffield, who has numerous Top-10 finishes on Lake St. Clair, doesn’t seem to think that will affect the tournament.
“This is mainly going to be a postspawn tournament, with the bass backing out to that deeper water,” Shuffield said. “Lake St. Clair is shaped like a bowl and doesn’t really have much drop, other than the shipping channel that runs through it. The bass usually spawn in 5 to 7 feet of water, but by the time of this event, most of the fish should be back out to 15 to 17 feet of water, around grass patches and things like that.
“This is going to be a huge (Garmin) LiveScope tournament,” Shuffield said, referring to the importance of forward-facing sonar. “I expect to see a lot of guys catching fish on a drop-shot and Ned Rig, almost exclusively, but there will also be some deep jerkbaits being thrown.
“Big crankbaits can also be very effective on Lake St. Clair – like Norman (Lures Professional Edge) DD22’s, Rapala DT 16’s or (Rapala) DT Metal 20’s – crankbaits that will get down to that 16- to 18-foot-range, just cranking it out over sand and grass patches. The guys using crankbaits might not get as many bites, but they will catch really good 4½- to 5½-pound smallmouth doing that.”
Shuffield said he expects the mayfly hatch to have already taken place by the time the tournament begins and is excited for a really good event.
“I haven’t had the opportunity to fish the Canadian side of the fishery the last several times I’ve been there, and that’s where most of the really big smallmouth are, so I’m really excited to get to fish the Canadian side and revisit other areas where I’ve caught them really good in the past,” Shuffield said.
“The fishing should be wide open,” Shuffield said. “I think it will take 20½ pounds per day to make it into the Knockout Round and probably 22½ to make the cut into the Championship Round. The winner will probably have to have 24 pounds per day to win the event overall.”
Anglers will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. ET each day from the Lake St. Clair Metropark, located at 31300 Metro Parkway in Harrison Township. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the launch location, beginning at 4 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all launch and takeout events and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLFNOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
On Championship Thursday, June 29, from 1-6 p.m. MLF will welcome fans of all ages to visit Cabela’s, located at 45959 Towne Center Boulevard in Chesterfield, Michigan, to celebrate the Top 10 and crown the General Tire Stage Six at Lake St. Clair Champion at the Watch Party and Trophy Presentation. The final 10 Championship Round Bass Pro Tour anglers will be on hand at the trophy celebration to meet and greet fans, sign autographs, and take selfies.
General Tire Stage Six at Lake St. Clair Presented by John Deere Utility Vehicles will feature pros competing using the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, with each angler’s five heaviest bass per day tallied as their day’s weight. Anglers strive to catch their heaviest five fish each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the live scoring SCORETRACKER® leaderboard. 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 2023 MLF 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, fishing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and REDCREST 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship, held March 13-17, 2024, on Lay Lake in Birmingham, Alabama.
The 40 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day qualifying round on Saturday and Monday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Sunday and Tuesday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the Top 20 anglers from each group advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed, and the remaining 40 anglers compete to finish in the Top 10 to advance to the Championship Round. In Thursday’s final day Championship Round, weight carries over from the Knockout Round and the angler with the heaviest two-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.
The MLFNOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action live on all six days of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. MLFNOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of General Tire Stage Six at Lake St. Clair Presented by John Deere Utility Vehicles Championship Round will air as a two-hour episode starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Nov. 4 on Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, with re-airings on Outdoor Channel.
Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, Ark Fishing, ATG by Wrangler, B&W Trailer Hitches, Bally Bet, Bass Cat Boats, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, Daiwa, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Ferguson, Fox Rent A Car, General Tire, Grundéns, Humminbird, Lowrance, Minn Kota, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Power-Pole, Rapala, Star tron, T-H Marine, TORO, Toyota, U.S. Air Force, Yellowstone Bourbon, Yo-Zuri and Zoom Baits.
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.