BAY CITY, Mich. – Despite strong winds and rainy weather making conditions less favorable for Group B anglers, General Tire pro Britt Myers of Lake Wylie, South Carolina, weighed in five scorable largemouth bass totaling 17 pounds, 13 ounces, to grab the early Group B Day 1 lead at the Bass Pro Tour Minn Kota Stage Seven on Saginaw Bay Presented by Suzuki . Pro Jeff Sprague of Wills Point, Texas, finished the day in close contention, weighing in a mixed bag of five scorable largemouth and smallmouth totaling 15-15, good for second place.
Link to Hi-Res Photo of Qualifying Group B Leader Britt Meyers
Link to HD Video – Fish-Catch Highlights of Group B Qualifying Round Day 1 on Saginaw Bay
Link to Photo Gallery of Group B’s Day 1 Qualifying Round Highlights
The six-day tournament, hosted by Bay City, Michigan, showcases 80 of the top professional anglers in the world, 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.
“What an unexpected day,” Myers said. “After a horrible practice, I couldn’t have asked for a better day. I often hear tournament-anglers talk about giving up and going home after a bad practice, but some of my best days of fishing have come after having bad days of practice.
“I didn’t catch a single 3-pounder during both practice days this week, but I came into today with an open mind, just looking for a sign,” Myers said. “I caught my first 3-pounder within the first 15 minutes of competition and that showed me the depth where the fish were hanging out.”
Myers spent the day throwing a buzzbait and flipping a hollow body topwater frog in 5 inches of water.
“That 3-pound, 6-ounce largemouth right out of the gate took a giant load off of me and got me into the General Tire Heavy Hitters event,” Myers said. “As the day went on, I caught several more 3-pounders that just sealed the deal for today and put me in a good place going into the next day of competition.”
While smallmouth are predicted to win the final Bass Pro Tour event of the season on Saginaw Bay, high winds and changing weather conditions seem to be challenging those expectations, with smallmouth being harder to come by and largemouth making an 11% jump on SCORETRACKER® during the second day of competition.
After spending the bulk of his practice searching for smallmouth, and only finding less than stellar largemouth, Myers said he was thrilled to be able to produce some quality bites today.
“Thankfully I found myself in a super fortunate situation toward the end of the day, with the weight I had, so I was able to look around and fish some other areas that may come into play later on in the event,” Myers said. “I feel super blessed and super happy and can’t wait to get back out there on Friday.”
The 40 anglers in Group B will now have an off day from competition Thursday, while the 40 anglers competing in Group A will wrap up their two-day Qualifying Round. Group B will finish their Qualifying Round on Friday.
The Top 20 pros in Group B after Day 1 on Saginaw Bay are:
1st: Britt Myers, Wylie, S.C., five bass, 17-13
2nd: Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, five bass, 15-15
3rd: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., five bass,15-8
4th: Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., five bass, 15-8
5th: Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., five bass, 15-2
6th: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., five bass, 15-1
7th: Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., five bass, 14-13
8th: Brent Chapman, Lake Quivira, Kan., five bass, 14-10
9th: Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., five bass, 14-9
10th: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., five bass, 14-7
11th: Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, five bass, 14-7
12th: Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss., five bass, 14-6
13th: James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., five bass, 14-5
14th: Jacob Wall, New Hope, Ala., five bass, 14-3
15th: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., five bass, 14-2
16th: Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., five bass, 14-1
17th: Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., five bass, 14-1
18th: Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 13-14
19th: Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texass, five bass, 13-11
20th: Alton Jones Jr., Waco, Texas, five bass, 13-9
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Berkley pro Jordan Lee of Cullman, Alabama, earned the $1,000 Berkley Big Bass award after a 3-pound, 15-ounce largemouth bit his frog in Period 1. Berkley awards $1,000 to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass each day, and another $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass of the tournament.
The 40 anglers in Group A compete in their two-day qualifying round on Tuesday and Thursday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Wednesday and Friday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the Top 20 anglers from each group advance to Saturday’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 Sunday’s Championship Round. In the 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.
Anglers will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. ET from the Golson Boat Launch, located at 1598 N. Johnson St. in Bay City. 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.
As part of the event, on Saturday, Aug. 5 and Sunday, Aug. 6, the MLF Fan Experience will take place at Wenonah Park in Bay City from 1-6 p.m. MLF will welcome fans of all ages to celebrate fishing and the outdoors with free giveaways, local vendors, photo opportunities with pro anglers and PAW Patrol characters and the opportunity for fans to hang out and watch the pros live on the MLFNOW! big screen during the MLF Watch Party. The first 100 kids onsite each day will get a free rod and reel combo, and fans can also check out the latest gear and offerings from MLF and MLF sponsors including Toyota, Suzuki, the U.S. Air Force, Humminbird, Minn Kota and Kubota.
On Sunday, 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. Kalamazoo’s own Kevin VanDam will be onsite throughout the weekend to celebrate his final regular-season professional tournament with fans.
Minn Kota Stage Seven at Saginaw Bay Presented by Suzuki features anglers 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 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 the Minn Kota Stage Seven at Saginaw Bay and Saginaw River Presented by Suzuki Championship Round will air with a two-hour episode starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Nov. 11, 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, Instagramand YouTube.