Britt Myers earns Group A Qualifying Round win at PowerStop Brakes Stage Three at Dale Hollow Lake Presented by Mercury - Major League Fishing
Britt Myers earns Group A Qualifying Round win at PowerStop Brakes Stage Three at Dale Hollow Lake Presented by Mercury
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Britt Myers earns Group A Qualifying Round win at PowerStop Brakes Stage Three at Dale Hollow Lake Presented by Mercury

General Tire pro boats two-day total of 140-8 to win Group A Qualifying Round, Top 10 pros advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round
Image for Britt Myers earns Group A Qualifying Round win at PowerStop Brakes Stage Three at Dale Hollow Lake Presented by Mercury
April 11, 2024 • MLF • Press Releases

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – At one point Thursday afternoon, General Tire pro Britt Myers of Lake Wylie, South Carolina, felt a bass bite his bait, but he didn’t set the hook. Not wanting to educate too many of the fish he’s found prior to the Knockout Round at the Bass Pro Tour PowerStop Brakes Stage Three Presented by Mercury on Dale Hollow Lake, the South Carolina native waited, hoping the bass would spit out his jighead minnow, then tried to shake it off. Somehow, he still hooked the 3-pound, 10-ounce smallmouth and added it to his rapidly ballooning weight total.

The second day of qualifying was “one of those days” for Myers — in the best way possible. With everything seemingly going his way, Myers boated 24 scorable bass for nearly 80 pounds, bringing his two-day total to 140 pounds, 8 ounces and topping the leaderboard in Group A.

“It was just one of those days where you couldn’t do anything wrong,” Myers said. “I’ve had those days before in practice, but never during a major event. It was just super fun.”

Link to Hi-Res Photo of Qualifying Group A Winner Britt Myers
Link to HD Video – Fish-Catch Highlights of Group A Qualifying Round Day 2 on Dale Hollow Lake
Link to Photo Gallery of Group A’s Day 2 Qualifying Round Afternoon Highlights on Dale Hollow Lake

The Top 10 anglers advancing from Group A will now have an off day from competition Friday, while the 39 anglers competing in Group B will complete their two-day Qualifying Round. The Top 10 anglers from each group advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed, and the remaining 20 anglers compete to finish in the Top 10 to advance to the Championship Round. In Sunday’s final day Championship Round, weights are zeroed, and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

Myers, who entered the day more than 17 pounds behind Day 1 leader pro Drew Gill of Mount Carmel, Illinois, wasted little time chipping away at the deficit. He stacked a whopping 42-5 onto SCORETRACKER® during the first period. Even after Myers started running new water, he barely slowed down, adding 12 more scorable bass for 37-9 to his tally. 

Myers took the lead in the final minutes of the second period and finished the day 16-4 ahead of Gill. Those two, plus the rest of the Top 10 finishers in Group A, earned spots in Saturday’s Knockout Round, where they will face off with the Top 10 anglers from Group B.

In the months prior to the start of the 2024 Bass Pro Tour season, Myers worked with his son, Tackle Warehouse Invitationals angler Britt Myers Jr., to learn the intricacies of chasing offshore fish with forward-facing sonar. The elder Myers was excited to show off his new skillset at the first two events, but they didn’t quite go as planned. Myers finished 71st at Toledo Bend and 65th at Santee Cooper.

As a result, the fact that he leaned on Garmin LiveScope to amass more than 80 pounds made Thursday even sweeter.

“I went to Toledo, I was so excited, because I wanted to use that technique, and even Santee Cooper,” Myers said. “But fish just moved, and things didn’t work out. So, I desperately needed this tournament.”

Myers caught his Day 1 total using the same technique — a jighead minnow and forward-facing sonar — but did so much shallower, due in large part to gusting winds that forced him to stay in protected pockets and coves. But something he noticed Tuesday gave him a clue about a pattern he thought he might be able to replicate around the lake given the right conditions.

It didn’t take long for him to be proven right. Myers started Thursday morning in an area he’d caught bass during practice, then ran 10 to 15 more areas that set up similarly. He caught fish from all of them. Not wanting to divulge too many of the details, Myers said depth hasn’t seemed to matter — he caught fish anywhere from 4 feet to 30 feet Thursday — but the key is “how the bass are positioned.”

“Literally, I never fished anywhere today that I fished the first day,” Myers said. “I think those fish are just roaming anywhere from 4 foot to 30 foot. And I know it sounds crazy. I don’t understand that. It’s against everything in the bass fishing handbook. But that’s what’s going on.”

Myers didn’t just find schools of bass at each of the spots he visited, but big ones. He landed five 4-plus-pounders Thursday. Through three days at Dale Hollow, it’s become clear that finding groups of those bigger-than-average bass will be key to outdueling other anglers in an event where getting bites isn’t an issue.

“The crazy thing is, I caught two 4-pound smallmouth, and then I caught two 4-pound largemouth,” Myers said. “It’s just a day you won’t forget.”

Looking to make his first ever Championship Round appearance on the Bass Pro Tour, the most important question Myers will have to answer prior to Saturday is which of the myriad areas he found Thursday to focus on. He’ll give that plenty of thought during his day off the water. In the meantime, he’ll be basking in the excitement of his magical day.

“I guess you start where you had the most bites, and where the highest concentration of fish is,” Myers said. “I just can’t even explain the day, to be honest with you. I’m still kind of puzzled.”

Entering the event, one of the primary subplots to the action on Dale Hollow figured to be whether the lake’s smallmouth or largemouth would comprise the winning catch. In most past tournaments on the Kentucky-Tennessee border reservoir, largemouth have dominated, but that’s resulted in part from the lake’s slot limit, which prohibits anglers from possessing smallmouth between 16 and 21 inches in length. With the Bass Pro Tour’s catch-weigh-immediate release format, anglers don’t have to worry about the slot, freeing them up to show off the smallmouth population Dale Hollow is best known for.

So far, most anglers have caught a mixture of species, and it doesn’t seem to matter. Largemouth have accounted for about two-thirds of the scorable bass caught through the first three days of competition, but the average size has been similar, with a scorable largemouth weighing 2.8 pounds on average compared to 2.9 pounds for smallmouth.

Interestingly, Myers caught mostly smallmouth for the second day in a row, with 15 of his 24 fish being brown ones. Gill, on the other hand, predicted prior to the event that the winning total would consist of 75% smallmouth, yet he’s caught 29 largemouth to 11 smallmouth across the first two days.

“Before the tournament started, I thought if you fished for smallmouth, you would occasionally catch a decent largemouth, but you wouldn’t catch many largemouth,” Myers said. “And actually, it’s just been the opposite of that. So, I’m really fishing for smallmouth, but the largemouth are sharing the same areas.”

Rather than which species will win, the bigger question seems to be whether anglers fishing around the bank can keep up with those using forward-facing sonar to target offshore schools of fish. The offshore game has dominated so far, with each of the top four finishers in Group A eclipsing 100 pounds that way. But with shallow specialists like Ott DeFoeJeff Sprague and David Dudley all making the Top 10 and the weather forecast to warm this weekend, it’s possible we could see a wave of bass hit the banks and give one of those anglers a chance to spoil the forward-facing sonar party.

The Top 10 pros from Group A that now advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round on Dale Hollow Lake are:

1st:         Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., 43 bass, 140-8
2nd:        Drew Gill, Mount Carmel, Ill., 42 bass, 125-2
3rd:        Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., 37 bass, 104-15
4th:         Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 34 bass, 101-4
5th:         Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., 34 bass, 85-14
6th:         Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, 31 bass, 85-7
7th:         David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 33 bass, 85-0
8th:         Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., 30 bass, 82-10
9th:         Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., 30 bass, 79-12
10th:      Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., 28 bass, 76-0

Eliminated from competition are: 

11th:      Martin Villa, Charlottesville, Va., 28 bass, 75-2
12th:      Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, 24 bass, 72-5
13th:      Nick Hatfield, Greeneville, Tenn., 23 bass, 70-13
14th:      Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., 21 bass, 63-11
15th:      Jacob Wall, New Hope, Ala., 22 bass, 58-8
16th:      Ron Nelson, Berrien Springs, Mich., 21 bass, 56-14
17th:      Matt Becker, Ten Mile, Tenn., 19 bass, 53-9
18th:      David Walker, Huntingdon, Tenn., 16 bass, 51-11
19th:      Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., 18 bass, 49-7
20th:      James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., 15 bass, 49-1
21st:      Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., 18 bass, 48-9
22nd:     Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., 18 bass, 48-6
23rd:     Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala., 15 bass, 48-4
24th:      John Hunter, Shelbyville, Ky., 17 bass, 47-14
25th:      Matt Lee, Cullman, Ala., 18 bass, 46-10
26th:      Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., 18 bass, 46-1
27th:      Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., 16 bass, 45-4
28th:      Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 16 bass, 44-4
29th:      Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., 18 bass, 43-8
30th:      Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., 13 bass, 40-13
31st:      Joshua Weaver, Macon, Ga., 12 bass, 38-4
32nd:     Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., 13 bass, 36-6
33rd:     John Murray, Spring City, Tenn., 13 bass, 34-0
34th:      Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan, 12 bass, 33-7
35th:      Colby Schrumpf, Highland, Ill., 12 bass, 32-13
36th:      Greg Vinson, Wetumka, Ala., eight bass, 21-12
37th:      Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., seven bass, 20-0
38th:      Jacopo Gallelli, Florence, Italy, five bass, 14-13
39th:      Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., five bass, 13-12
40th:      Gary Klein, Mingus, Texas, three bass, 7-7

A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 400 scorable bass weighing 1,126 pounds, 7 ounces caught by the 40 pros Thursday, which included 26 4-pounders, 110 3-pounders and 264 2-pounders. 

Pro Takahiro Omori of Tokyo, Japan, earned Thursday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award with an 4-pound, 8-ounce smallmouth bass that he caught on a jig during 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 six-day tournament, hosted by the Byrdstown-Pickett County Chamber of Commerce & Bill Dance Signature Lakes, showcases 79 of the top professional anglers in the world, competing for a purse of $659,000, including a top payout of $100,000 and valuable Fishing Clash Angler of the Year (AOY) points in hopes of qualifying for the General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and REDCREST 2025, the Bass Pro Tour championship.

The 40 Anglers in Group A competed 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 anglers that finish first through 10th from both groups advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed, and the remaining 20 anglers compete to finish in the Top 10 to advance to Sunday’s Championship Round. In the final-day Championship Round, weights are zeroed, and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

Anglers will launch at 7:30 a.m. CT each day from Sunset Marina and Resort, located at 2040 Sunset Dock Road in Monroe. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the park, 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 SCORETRACKER® leaderboard and event coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com

The MLFNOW! broadcast team of Chad McKee and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action live on the final four days of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT. MLFNOW! will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com, the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app and rumble.com.

On Saturday and Sunday, April 13-14, from 1-6 p.m. MLF welcomes fans of all ages to visit Sunset Marina and Resort for the MLF Watch Party and Kids Fishing Derby. Fans can watch the pros live on the MLFNOW! big screen, enjoy free food, enter to win hourly giveaways and cheer on their favorite pros. The first 50 kids 14 and under will receive a free rod and reel from Pure Fishing each day. Additional fishing gear will be provided onsite for the fishing derby or kids can bring their own. The final 10 Championship Round Bass Pro Tour anglers will be on hand at the trophy celebration on Championship Sunday to meet and greet fans, sign autographs and take selfies.

PowerStop Brakes Stage Three at Dale Hollow Lake Presented by Mercury features the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, in which anglers catch as much weight as they can each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the SCORETRACKER® leaderboard. The tournament features anglers competing with a 2-pound minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable. The MLF Fisheries Management Division determines minimum weights for each body of water 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 79 of the top professional anglers in the world, competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2025 championship. 

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.

Television coverage of PowerStop Brakes Stage Three at Dale Hollow Lake Presented by Mercury Knockout Round will air as a two-hour episode starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Oct. 5 on Discovery, with the Championship Round premiering on Oct. 6. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, with re-airings on Outdoor Channel.

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, BUBBA, Epic Baits, Fishing Clash, Garmin, General Tire, Humminbird, Lowrance, Mercury, MillerTech, Minn Kota, Mossy Oak Fishing, NITRO, Onyx, Plano, Power-Pole, Rapala, StarBrite, Suzuki, Toyota and U.S. Air Force.

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 FacebookXInstagram and YouTube.