UNION SPRINGS, N.Y. – Cayuga Lake is on fire. Literally, and figuratively.
The smoke blowing through upstate New York from the Canadian wildfires has created a very unique environment for the 80 pros on the Bass Pro Tour competing on Cayuga Lake this week, as many of the anglers fished Wednesday in an orange-tinted haze, with low visibility conditions. The good news is it had zero effect on the fishing, however, as Cayuga Lake showed out again and demonstrated why it is one of the premier fisheries in the country.
Pro Cody Meyer of Star, Idaho, caught seven scorable bass Wednesday, with his best five weighing 26 pounds, 11 ounces, to lead Day 1 for Qualifying Group B of the Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Five on Cayuga Lake Presented by ATG by Wrangler. Pro Spencer Shuffield of Hot Springs, Arkansas, sits just 10 ounces behind Meyer in second place with five bass weighing 26-1.
Link to Hi-Res Photo of Qualifying Group B Leader Cody Meyer
Link to HD Video – Fish-Catch Highlights of Group B Qualifying Round Day 1 on Cayuga Lake
Link to Photo Gallery of Group B’s Day 1 Qualifying Round Afternoon Highlights
The 40 anglers in Group B will now have an off day on Thursday, while the 40 anglers competing in Group A will complete their two-day Qualifying Round of competition. Group B will conclude their Qualifying Round on Friday.
Meyer came into the day with a couple of patterns in mind, but it turned out he only needed one — fishing for spawning smallmouth.
“I had a couple of smallmouth marked on beds from practice, but I really didn’t plan to focus on smallmouth all day,” Meyer said. “I thought I would catch a few spawning then move to the grass for largemouth, but the smallmouth I found were just too big to pass up.”
Meyer caught all of his scorable bass Wednesday on a drop-shot rig, using a Yamamoto Shad Shape worm on the southern end of the lake. While he was focused on spawners, it turned out that the smallmouth didn’t necessarily care about the bottom composition of where they built their beds. It was more about the general area, according to Meyer.
“I caught one on a bluff and one on a boat dock, but it was more about this 5-mile stretch of water,” Meyer said. “These fish were all massive and anchored down hard in that area. If you could find them, there was a good chance you could get them to bite.”
Meyer plans to head back out on Friday with a similar plan to make the cut.
“I want to get down south again and keep trying to look for smallmouth,” Meyer said. “It was just so windy and rough today that it was really hard to go looking for them after the second period. Everyone is catching them so well right now I’m going to need another really good day just to make the cut.”
The standings for the 40 pros in Group B after Day 1 on Cayuga Lake are:
1st: Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, five bass, 26-11
2nd: Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 26-1
3rd: Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., five bass, 25-10
4th: Alton Jones Jr., Waco, Texas, five bass, 24-12
5th: Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., five bass, 24-10
6th: Matt Becker, Ten Mile, Tenn., five bass, 24-2
7th: Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 23-4
8th: David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 23-2
9th: Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., five bass, 22-14
10th: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., five bass, 22-13
11th: Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., five bass, 21-14
12th: Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, five bass, 21-9
13th: Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., five bass, 21-6
14th: Cliff Crochet, Pierre Part, La., five bass, 21-6
15th: Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., five bass, 21-4
16th: Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., five bass, 21-3
17th: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., five bass, 21-2
18th: Roy Hawk, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., five bass, 21-1
19th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 20-1
20th: Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., five bass, 19-11
21st: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 19-11
22nd: James Watson, Lampe, Mo., five bass, 19-10
23rd: Marty Robinson, Lyman, S.C., five bass, 19-5
24th: Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 19-2
25th: Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., five bass, 18-8
26th: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., five bass, 18-4
27th: Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., five bass, 18-4
28th: Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., five bass, 18-0
29th: Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 17-11
30th: Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan, five bass, 17-10
31st: Brent Chapman, Lake Quivira, Kan., five bass, 17-7
32nd: Josh Butler, Hayden, Ala., five bass, 17-2
33rd: Boyd Duckett, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 17-2
34th: Dave Lefebre, Erie, Pa., five bass, 17-1
35th: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 15-13
36th: Kelly Jordon, Flint, Texas, five bass, 15-0
37th: Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., five bass, 14-4
38th: Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., five bass, 13-13
39th: Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., three bass, 12-1
40th: David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn., five bass, 11-15
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 346 scorable bass weighing 1,203 pounds, 10 ounces caught by the 40 pros Wednesday, which included 30 5-pounders and three 6-pounders.
Throwing a spinnerbait, Greg Vinson caught a 6-pound, 14-ounce largemouth in Period 3 to earn Wednesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award. 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 bass-fishing event 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.
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 the Championship Round. In Sunday’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.
Anglers will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. ET each day from Frontenac Park, located at 15 Creamery Road in Union Springs. 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 MLFNOW! live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Also, as part of the event, on Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11 the MLF Fan Experience will be taking place at Bass Pro Shops, located at 1579 Clark Street Road in Auburn, New York, from 1-6 p.m. MLF will welcome fans of all ages to celebrate fishing and the outdoors. Fans can hang out and watch the pros live on the MLFNOW! big screen during the MLF Watch Party. On Sunday at 5 p.m., the final 10 Championship Round Bass Pro Tour anglers will be on hand for the trophy celebration and to meet and greet fans, sign autographs, and take selfies.
Favorite Fishing Stage Five at Cayuga Lake Presented by ATG by Wrangler features 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 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 Favorite Fishing Stage Five at Cayuga Lake Presented by ATG by Wrangler will air as two, two-hour episodes starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 28 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 + 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.