Kurt Mitchell took an early and commanding lead during Group A's Qualifying Round 1, catching 119 pounds, 10 ounces worth of bass. Photo by Charles Waldorf

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (Aug. 24, 2020) – Professional angler Kurt Mitchell of Milford, Delaware, caught a total of 33 bass weighing 119 pounds, 10 ounces, to grab the early lead Monday after day one of the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, the FLW Pro Circuit Championship on Lake Michigan in Sturgeon Bay.

The tournament, fished using the Major League Fishing (MLF) catch-weigh-immediate release format, showcased Mitchell lighting up the SCORETRACKER® all day long and establishing a commanding 56-pound, 10-ounce lead over second-place pro Grae Buck of Green Lane, Pennsylvania, who caught 17 bass totaling 63 pounds even. The six-day event features the top 50 professional anglers from the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season angling for a piece of $820,000, including the first-place prize of $200,000.

The 25 anglers that competed Monday in Group A will take Tuesday off before returning to the water on Wednesday to finish their two-day Qualifying Round. The 25 anglers in Group B will have their first day of competition on Sturgeon Bay, Tuesday.

“It was just a phenomenal day for me – one of those days where nothing goes wrong and everything works out like it’s supposed to,” said Mitchell, a five-year veteran of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit who is fishing in his second championship event. “It was my first time fishing at Sturgeon Bay, my first time fishing the MLF format, and now my first time leading a pro event after the first day.”

Mitchell said that he caught the majority of his weight from one area, a current break that he had found in his practice. He caught his fish using two key baits – a drop-shot rig with a Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm and a Keitech Swimbait with a 3/8-ounce Dirty Jigs swimbait head.

“It wasn’t really anything special, just basic smallmouth tactics and baits,” Mitchell said. “I just got on some groups of fish that wanted to bite. The bigger ones seemed to come on the Keitech, but I caught more on the shad shape worm. I had no idea that I was going to catch that much.

“I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do when I get back out there on Wednesday,” Mitchell went on to say. “I might try out some new areas, or I might just go sit on my best spot to make sure no one else fishes it. Either way, I can’t wait to get back out there.”

The Top 10 pros after day one (Group A) on Sturgeon Bay are:

            1st:       Kurt Mitchell of Milford, Del., 33 bass, 119-10
            2nd:      Grae Buck of Green Lane, Pa., 17 bass, 63-0
            3rd:       Evan Barnes of Hot Springs, Ark., 20 bass, 61-10
            4th:       Casey Scanlon of Eldon, Mo., 17 bass, 57-0
            5th:       Matthew Stefan of Junction City, Wis., 14 bass, 47-1
            6th:       Greg Bohannan of Bentonville, Ark., 12 bass, 39-7
            7th:       Joshua Weaver of Macon, Ga., 12 bass, 37-1
            8th:       James Niggemeyer of Van, Texas, 10 bass, 33-4
            9th:       Troy Morrow of Eastonollee, Ga., 10 bass, 31-9
            10th:     Jon Canada of Helena, Ala., nine bass, 26-12

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall there were 228 bass weighing 750 pounds, 8 ounces caught by the 25 pros in Group A on Monday. Mitchell also caught the largest fish of the day – a chunky 5-pound, 10-ounce smallmouth bass.

The Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, the FLW Pro Circuit Championship, is hosted by Destination Sturgeon Bay. The total purse for the event is more than $820,000, including a top prize of $200,000.

Unique to the TITLE Championship, the event is being fished using the MLF catch-weigh-immediate release format. A select group of 25 pros (Group A) will compete on Days 1 and 3, with the other 25 pros (Group B) competing on Days 2 and 4. The Top 10 pros from each group based on their cumulative two-day total will advance to Day 5. Only the Top 10 pros will continue on to the sixth and final day of competition, with the winner earning the inaugural Tackle Warehouse TITLE Championship Belt presented by Toyota.

Attendance is limited to anglers and essential staff and fans are encouraged to follow the event online through expanded broadcast coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com and read the daily coverage, live blogs and photos at FLWFishing.com.

The MLF NOW! broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action every day of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. They’re joined by FLW Live hosts Travis Moran and Todd Hollowell, who will be reporting and providing from-the-water analysis from Sturgeon Bay.

Television coverage of the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota event will be showcased across six two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 p.m. EDT, Oct. 9 on the Outdoor Channel. Episodes premiere in Friday night primetime slots on the Outdoor Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel.

The 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit featured a field of 150 of the top professional anglers in the world competing at six regular-season events around the country. The top 50 anglers in the Angler of the Year (AOY) standings after the six events qualified to compete in this event, the inaugural Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

About FLW
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, FLW and its partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Zimbabwe.

FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show while Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. Acquired by Major League Fishing in late 2019, FLW is expanding its programming in 2020 to the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel as well as on-demand at MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.