GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – Bass Pro Tour Rookie Jacob Wall of New Hope, Alabama, launched his boat Thursday morning with a 2-pound, 12-ounce lead, and he never looked back. Wall boated 12 scorable bass Thursday, with his best five weighing 21 pounds, 5 ounces, to easily win the Qualifying Round for Group A at the Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage Four at Lake Guntersville Presented by Bass Cat Boats.
Link to Hi-Res Photo of Qualifying Group A Winner Jacob Wall
Link to HD Video – Fish-Catch Highlights of Group A Qualifying Round Day 2 on Lake Guntersville
Link to Photo Gallery of Group A’s Day 2 Qualifying Round Afternoon Highlights
Wall’s two-day total of 10 bass weighing 47 pounds, 13 ounces earned him the win by a 5-pound, 9-ounce margin over Addison, Alabama pro Jesse Wiggins, who finished the round in second place with a two-day catch of 10 bass totaling 42-4. Pro Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma, boated a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 41-9 to end the round in third place, while Berkley pro Adrian Avena of Vineland, New Jersey, finished in fourth place with a two-day total of 10 bass for 39-13. General Tire Heavy Hitters Champion Alton Jones, Jr., of Waco, Texas, rounded out the top five with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 39-10.
The Top 20 anglers advancing from Group A will now have an off day from competition Friday, while the 40 anglers competing in Group B will complete their two-day Qualifying Round. 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.
“What an awesome day,” Wall said. “Winning today isn’t giving me anything extra or any sort of advantage, but it is an awesome feeling to be atop this phenomenal group of 40 anglers after two days of fishing on such a world-famous fishery. I have put in a lot of time out here over the last 4½ years since I moved here, and to be here on top amongst not only these really great names, but a lot of phenomenal local anglers – Ryan Salzman, Josh Butler, Chris Lane – a bunch of really big names. And to be on top right now – I’m just. so happy, and so thankful.”
Like Day 1, Wall spent the day targeting fish offshore early with a Nichols Lures Ben Parker Magnum Spoon. He said he pretty much stopped fishing at noon each day, spending the rest of his time scouting locations for the next day of competition.
“I did it again, today, on the spoons,” Wall said. “That has definitely been the key bait for me over the last couple of days, and hopefully they will be for the next couple of days going into the Knockout and Championship rounds.
“I’m throwing two different sizes,” Wall said. “I’m throwing a big spoon on a little bit bigger, 8-foot Phenix M1 rod, and throwing the little bit smaller spoon on a 7-foot 8-inch medium-heavy Phenix M1. That rod is so versatile – I throw the spoons on it, but I also use it for a lot of other offshore baits this time of the year in the summer. The spoon has definitely been the deal for me this week, though.
“I’ve learned some cool stuff over the last couple of days that has me excited to go out and lay the hammer down on them Saturday in the Knockout Round, because I’ve been holding back the last two days around 11:30 to noon because I didn’t want to burn up too many fish,” Wall said. “I’m excited to get back out there and see what I can catch.”
The Top 20 pros from Group A that now advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round on Lake Guntersville are:
Eliminated from competition are:
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 311 scorable bass weighing 929 pounds, 9 ounces caught by the 40 pros Thursday, which included 11 5-pounders and one 6-pounder.
Pro Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tennessee, caught the most weight for the day – 24 pounds, 15 ounces – and he also earned Thursday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award with a 6-pound, 10-ounce largemouth bass that he caught fishing a medium-diving crankbait late in Period 3. 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 Marshall County Tourism & Sports, 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 at Birmingham, Alabama’s Lay Lake, 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 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 morning at 7:30 a.m. CT each day from the Guntersville Civitan Park, located at 1130 Sunset Drive in Guntersville. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the launch locations, 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.
As part of the event, on Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21 the MLF Fan Experience will be taking place at Civitan Park in Guntersville from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. MLF will welcome fans of all ages to celebrate fishing and the outdoors with concerts in the park, hosted by Explore Lake Guntersville, featuring JUICE on Saturday and Jackson Chase on Sunday. Food and drinks will be available from local food trucks and fans can check out the latest gear and offerings from MLF and MLF sponsors including Toyota, Favorite Fishing, Kubota, U.S. Air Force, and The Fallen Outdoors. On Sunday, fans can hang out and watch the pros live on the MLFNOW! big screen during the MLF Watch Party. 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 Toro Stage Four at Lake Guntersville Presented by Bass Cat Boats 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. CT. MLFNOW! will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the Toro Stage Four at Lake Guntersville Presented by Bass Cat Boats will air as two, two-hour episodes starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 14 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.