RALEIGH, N.C. – MLF General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops event certainly lived up to its billing, Sunday, as the best bass anglers in the world caught numerous big fish throughout the day on Jordan Lake that made for a very exciting broadcast for fishing fans. After the last fish had been tallied, pro Fletcher Shryock of Guntersville, Alabama, earned the Group A Qualifying Round victory, catching a two-day total of 23 bass weighing 88 pounds, 13 ounces, and punching his ticket directly into Wednesday’s Championship Round.
Shryock also won the $25,000 Berkley Big Bass Bonus award Sunday after catching the biggest bass of the two-day Group A Qualifying Round, boating a giant 9-pound, 4-ounce largemouth that he caught flipping a Yamamoto Fat Ika right near the end of Period 2. Berkley Big Bass Bonuses are awarded throughout the competition, with payouts of $25,000, $50,000 and $100,000 being awarded for the single biggest fish in the Qualifying, Knockout and Championship Rounds.
“I had a pretty incredible day – not just because I won the round, but to catch that many big ones in one day was just awesome,” said Shryock, who earned the first Qualifying Round win of his MLF career. “I got to fish exactly the way that I like to fish, and catching a 9 (pounder) flipping bushes and willows and stuff like that, it just doesn’t happen a lot. These lakes are incredible.”
Shryock said his key bait Sunday was the Yamamoto Fat Ika, fished on a prototype Favorite Fishing rod – expected to launch this year at ICAST – with 40-pound Vicious braided line.
“I came out today really just trying to stay inside the top-10 cut, but the next thing I knew it was 5-pounder, 4-pounder, 4-pounder, and I just worked my way up the leaderboard. Today was just a great day of fishing, and winning $25,000 and going straight to the Championship Round just makes it that much sweeter.”
Pro Dean Rojas of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, also had a special day. After catching just two bass on Friday and ending the first day of competition in dead-last 20th place, Rojas skyrocketed up the leaderboard Sunday, boating 15 bass weighing 57-11 to end the day inside the Toro Cut Line in sixth place and advance to the Knockout Round with a two-day total of 17 bass for 63-5.
“I had a great day today, a day that you dream about, especially in competition,” Rojas said. “Especially after only catching 5 pounds on the first day. Coming back and catching 55 pounds today, what an awesome dream day. And there is no better time to do it than today to move on to the Knockout Round at Heavy Hitters.”
The 10 anglers advancing from Group A will have a day off Monday, while the 20 anglers in Group B will complete their two-day Qualifying Round of competition. The Knockout Round, featuring 18 anglers competing to finish in the top eight, will take place on Tuesday. Wednesday’s Championship Round will feature Shryock, Monday’s Group B Qualifying Round winner, and the top eight anglers from the Knockout Round competing in a final-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000.
The top 10 pros from Qualifying Group A that now advance to Tuesday’s Knockout Round on Shearon Harris Reservoir are:
1st: Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., 23 bass, 88-13 (ADVANCES DIRECTLY TO CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND)
2nd: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 22 bass, 76-5
3rd: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 20 bass, 66-13
4th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 17 bass, 64-9
5th: Ish Monroe, Oakdale, Calif., 17 bass, 64-4
6th: Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 17 bass, 63-5
7th: Boyd Duckett, Guntersville, Ala., 17 bass, 60-7
8th: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., 14 bass, 53-12
9th: Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., 15 bass, 52-9
10th: Jeff Sprague, Point, Texas., 15 bass, 51-4
Finishing in 11th through 20th in Qualifying Group A are:
11th: Mike McClelland, Blue Eye, Mo., 12 bass, 47-4
12th: Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., 14 bass, 46-13
13th: Brent Chapman, Lake Quivira, Kan., 13 bass, 43-3
14th: Mike Iaconelli, Runnemede, N.J., 15 bass, 41-13
15th: Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., 11 bass, 36-2
16th: Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 11 bass, 36-1
17th: Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., 12 bass, 35-6
18th: David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 10 bass, 29-4
19th: Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., six bass, 23-3
20th: Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., five bass, 16-7
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 113 bass weighing 405 pounds, 15 ounces caught by 19 pros on Sunday, which included one 9-pounders, two 8-pounders, one 7-pounder and three 6-pounders caught from Jordan Lake.
The MLF General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops is hosted by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance.
The 20 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Jordan Lake on Friday and Sunday – the 20 anglers in Group B on Falls Lake on Saturday and Monday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the anglers that finish in second through 10th place from both groups advance to Tuesday’s Knockout Round on Shearon Harris, while the winner of each group advances directly to Wednesday’s Championship Round on Shearon Harris. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed and the remaining 18 anglers compete to finish in the top 8 to advance to the Championship Round. On the final day Championship Round, weights are zeroed and the highest one-day total wins.
Attendance is limited to competing anglers, essential staff and media covering the event only. Fans are encouraged to follow the event online through the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com
The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action each day of competition from 7:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com. and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops will be showcased across six two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, July 17 on the Discovery Channel. A one-hour special episode of MLF Inside Heavy Hitters will also air on CBS in late 2021. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.
For complete details and updated information on General Tire Heavy Hitters, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.