December 3, 2019 (Tulsa, Okla.) – Major League Fishing announces an original tournament, “Heavy Hitters,” on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Kissimmee, Florida, May 16-20, 2020 featuring nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in event payouts. This special event, the first of its kind, extends the Bass Pro Tour to nine events.
The Bass Pro Tour began in 2019 and features 80 of the best professional anglers in the world, including Kevin VanDam, Edwin Evers, Aaron Martens, Mike Iaconelli, Jordan Lee, and Skeet Reese.
To qualify for Heavy Hitters Presented by Venmo, the weight of an angler’s single largest bass from each of the first five Stages of the Bass Pro Tour will be recorded. For example, if an angler’s heaviest fish in Stage One is 7 pounds; in Stage Two, 5 pounds; in Stage Three, 9 pounds; in Stage Four, 8 pounds; and in Stage Five, 6 pounds, that angler’s qualifying weight will be 35 pounds. The 30 anglers from the 80-angler field of the Bass Pro Tour with the highest cumulative weight across five stages earn a spot to compete in MLF’s Heavy Hitters.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to experiment with formats so we can discover new ways to present the sport of competitive bass fishing,” remarked Jim Wilburn, President and CEO of Major League Fishing. “As a young, angler-centric league, MLF strives to take notice of what’s happening in our industry and invent entertaining events that both teach trusted techniques from the best anglers in the world and invite new fans to the sport.”
The five-day tournament format will parallel REDCREST, featuring a 30-angler Shotgun Round (Day One) and a 30-angler Elimination Round (Day Two). The Top 20 anglers at the end of the two-day total qualify into a Knockout Round (Days Three and Four). The Top five anglers from each of days three and four will qualify into the 10-angler Championship Round (Day Five).
Scoreable bass vary each round. Shotgun and Elimination Rounds will score 1 pound or higher. For the Knockout Round, Major League Fishing will test a 2-pound minimum for scoreable bass. In the Championship Round, MLF will test a 3-pound minimum on scoreable bass on the Kissimmee Chain.
The full field of 30 anglers will receive a minimum payout of $6,000 and the tournament winner will earn $100,000. In addition to the championship purse, anglers will have the opportunity to earn a daily bonus for their biggest bass of the day based on the following graduating scale: Day One $25,000; Day Two $25,000; Day Three $50,000; Day Four $50,000; Day Five (Championship Day) $100,000. The five-day payout totals $745,000 for MLF Heavy Hitters.
Major League Fishing will live stream Heavy Hitters from Kissimmee, Fla. and produce original programming for Discovery as a part of the Bass Pro Tour television lineup.
With the addition of MLF Heavy Hitters, Stage Five of the Bass Pro Tour will move to Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees in Grove, Oklahoma, April 24-29, 2020.
Each Stage of the Bass Pro Tour includes six days of competition using the Major League Fishing, catch-weigh-and-immediately-release format, where every bass over 1 pound counts toward a cumulative weight total for the day.
The field of 80 anglers is divided into two groups of 40 to compete on days one and two respectively for the Shotgun Round. On days three and four, the Elimination Round culls the field based on a combined two-day total weight from each angler’s Shotgun and Elimination Round. The top 20 anglers from each group in the Elimination Round (40 total) advance to the Knockout Round on day five, which determines who will compete on that final day, the Championship Round, for the Stage title and $100,000.
The 2020 Bass Pro Tour begins on Lake Eufaula, Alabama, on February 7 and ends on Lake Champlain, Vermont, in late July. Each Stage of the Bass Pro Tour is broadcast live on the Major League Fishing app, MyOutdoorTV (MOTV), and MajorLeagueFishing.com, totaling more than 325 hours of original programming. Fans can follow the fast-paced nature of the MLF format as it unfolds on the live leaderboard through SCORETRACKER® updates. Highlights from each Stage of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour will air on Discovery Channel beginning in July 2020 and Sportsman Channel in early 2021.
Founded in 2011, Major League Fishing (MLF) brings the high-intensity sport of competitive bass fishing into America’s living rooms on Outdoor Channel, Discovery, CBS, CBS Sports Network, World Fishing Network, Sportsman Channel, and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). The Bass Pro Tour consists of eight events and a championship streamed live on www.MajorLeagueFishing.com and MOTV.
MLF recently announced an agreement to acquire Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), which expands their portfolio to include the largest grassroots fishing organization, including the strongest five-fish format professional bass fishing tour, the FLW Pro Circuit (formerly FLW Tour), as well as the FLW Series, FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL), and high school and college tournament circuits.
For more information on the league and anglers, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com and follow Major League Fishing on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.