UNION SPRINGS, N.Y. – Googan Baits pro Dustin Connell of Clanton, Alabama, caught 22 scorable bass weighing 82 pounds, 2 ounces, to best the 38 anglers competing Wednesday and win the Knockout Round at the Fox Rent A Car Stage Six on Cayuga Lake Presented by Googan Baits in Union Springs, New York. The final 10 anglers are now set, and competition will resume Thursday with the final-day Championship Round. Weights are zeroed, and the angler that catches the heaviest one-day total will earn the top payout of $100,000.
This six-day tournament, hosted by the Village of Union Springs, showcases 80 of the best professional anglers in the world competing for a purse of more than $805,000. The tournament is live streamed each day at MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MOTV app, and also filmed for television broadcast later this fall on Discovery Channel.
The top eight pros from Wednesday’s Knockout Round that will compete in Thursday’s Championship Round on Cayuga Lake are:
1st: Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 22 bass, 82-2
2nd: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., 23 bass, 73-3
3rd: Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., 24 bass, 72-5
4th: Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, 22 bass, 68-11
5th: Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, 23 bass, 68-5
6th: Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., 23 bass, 68-1
7th: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 18 bass, 67-4
8th: Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 17 bass, 62-2
They’ll be joined by Qualifying Round Winners:
Group A: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala.
Group B: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn.
Full results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
“I can’t complain about anything, that was an awesome day,” said Connell, who won a Bass Pro Tour event earlier this year at Alabama’s Lewis Smith Lake. “There wasn’t much wind, it was a beautiful day in New York, and the smallmouth were biting. So, it feels good. This will be my fourth Championship Round this year, and it feels good to be in it and I feel like we’ve got a great chance.
“I set the hook today on a few that I didn’t want to, but I’m glad that I did, just knowing where they were at,” Connell said. “It gives me confidence in those areas. There are a ton of fish in this lake, and I backed off a bunch of areas. There were several places I went to that had 10 to 12 fish on them, and I’d catch one then leave. But these guys are catching them too, and it all zeroes out tomorrow, so we shall see.”
Like his Qualifying Round, Connell targeted smallmouth with a couple of different drop-shot baits and credited his Lowrance electronics as being crucial to his success.
“I was using a 7-(foot)2-(inch) medium(action) Hex, by Favorite Rods,” Connell said. “It is an awesome drop-shot rod, with enough backbone to get those big smallmouth up. I was using 12-pound Seaguar Gold Label, with a straight-shank Googan Baits drop-shot hook and a ¾-ounce weight with a (Googan) Drag N Drop. I was switching between goby baits and shad baits. Just using my electronics, panning around, finding these smallmouth and catching them.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” Connell said. “I’ve got a good shot. I’m in it. You can’t win it unless you’re in it. And we’re in it.”
Rounding out the Top 40 finishers on Cayuga Lake were:
11th: Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., 19 bass, 57-10, $10,000
12th: Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss., 18 bass, 57-3, $10,000
13th: Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., 18 bass, 56-13, $10,000
14th: Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 17 bass, 54-3, $10,000
15th: Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, 18 bass, 54-0, $10,000
16th: Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., 16 bass, 53-0, $10,000
17th: Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., 16 bass, 52-8, $10,000
18th: Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., 14 bass, 51-8, $10,000
19th: Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., 17 bass, 49-14, $10,000
20th: Matt Lee, Cullman, Ala., 15 bass, 47-12, $10,000
21st: Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 11 bass, 46-12, $10,000
22nd: Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., 15 bass, 44-9, $10,000
23rd: Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 13 bass, 44-4, $10,000
24th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 12 bass, 43-13, $10,000
25th: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 12 bass, 42-6, $10,000
26th: Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., 13 bass, 41-7, $10,000
27th: James Watson, Lampe, Mo., 12 bass, 37-10, $10,000
28th: Roy Hawk, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 13 bass, 37-3, $10,000
29th: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., 11 bass, 37-1, $10,000
30th: Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., 10 bass, 36-1, $10,000
31st: Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, 11 bass, 35-10, $10,000
32nd: Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., 10 bass, 31-10, $10,000
33rd: James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., 10 bass, 31-9, $10,000
34th: Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., nine bass, 28-12, $10,000
35th: Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., eight bass, 28-7, $10,000
36th: Paul Elias, Laurel, Miss., 10 bass, 28-3, $10,000
37th: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., eight bass, 28-1, $10,000
38th: Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., six bass, 23-2, $10,000
39th: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., five bass, 18-11, $10,000
40th: David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn., five bass, 13-7, $10,000
Overall, there were 544 scorable bass weighing 1,775 pounds, 2 ounces caught by the 38 pros Wednesday.
Oklahoma pro Zack Birge earned the $1,000 Berkley Big Bass award Wednesday, catching a 6-pound, 15-ounce largemouth on a medium-diving 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 40 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Saturday and Monday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Sunday and Tuesday. After the two-day Qualifying Round, the anglers that finished in second through 20th place from both groups advanced to Wednesday’s Knockout Round, while the winner of each group advanced directly to Thursday’s Championship Round. In the Knockout Round weights were zeroed, and the remaining 38 anglers competed to finish in the top eight to advance to the Championship Round. 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 will launch Thursday at 7:30 a.m. ET from Frontenac Park, located at 15 Creamery Road in Union Springs.
Also on Thursday, MLF will host a Celebration Event from 4:30-6 p.m. for fans of all ages, inviting fans to come out and celebrate with the professional anglers from the Bass Pro Tour as they crown the champion of the Fox Rent A Car Stage Six on Cayuga Lake Presented by Googan Baits. Before the celebration, a MLF watch party starts at 1:30 p.m., and the first 50 middle school or high school anglers in attendance will receive a free Abu Garcia rod and reel combo valued at $100. 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.
The Fox Rent A Car Stage Six on Cayuga Lake Presented by Googan Baits features anglers competing with a 2-pound minimum weight requirement 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 REDCREST IV, the Bass Pro Tour championship, which will be held next March on Lake Norman in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The MLF NOW! broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action on Championship Thursday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. MLF NOW! will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the Fox Rent A Car Stage Six on Cayuga Lake Presented by Googan Baits will premiere as a two-hour episode at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Nov. 12 on Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on Outdoor Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of tournament competition.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Bally Bet, 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.