March 10, 2020 (Emory, Texas) — Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour brings the General Tire Stage Three Presented by TrueTimber to Lake Fork, Texas, March 13-18, 2020. The Bass Pro Tour features 80 of the best pro anglers in the world, including recent Stage-winner Jacob Powroznik, Texas residents Alton Jones, Jr., Alton Jones, Sr., Gary Klein, Jeff Sprague, Kelly Jordan, Jeff Kriet, Todd Faircloth and Emory-resident Takahiro Omori. Fans can interact with anglers daily at the ramp during launch (8-9:30 a.m. CT) and return (6-7 p.m. CT), as well as during weekend appearances at popular local hot spots.
“We go to many fisheries with big fish, but any bite on Lake Fork can be a fish of a lifetime, weighing in the teens,” said Alton Jones, Sr., Texas-based MLF pro. “We are going to hit it just right, with warm weather and plenty of opportunities for anglers to fish strategically for pre-spawn fish and spawning fish, which will broaden the playing field for the competition.”
While known as the “big bass factory,” Lake Fork is a slot limit lake, meaning fish of a certain size (or “slot”) must be released and only smaller or larger fish can be harvested. Due to this limitation for traditional five-fish formats, Lake Fork is not a usual stop for professional-level bass tournaments; however, the MLF catch-weigh-and-immediately-release format makes the Bass Pro Tour a perfect fit for the fishery. In this innovative format, MLF anglers weigh fish in the 16- to 24-inch slot limit and contribute them to their total weight before releasing them immediately back where they were caught.
Anglers compete on Lake Fork during the Qualifying and Knockout Rounds (Days 1-5) before moving to the prestigious Lake Athens on Wednesday, March 18 for the Championship Round.
“The conservation-friendly MLF format allows us to have tournaments in places where we typically cannot,” said Dave Terre, Chief of Fisheries Management and Research for Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPW). “Lake Athens is one of those places – it’s a small lake, but it has been cranking out Toyota ShareLunkers over the past several years and we are looking forward to sharing that experience with the world.”
Major League Fishing will work with Texas Parks and Wildlife to properly document all Toyota Sharelunkers caught during the General Tire Stage Three presented by TrueTimber, including safely transporting all Legacy Sharelunkers weighing 13 pounds or more. Major League Fishing staff will assist pros with the transport to ensure they can continue to compete with minimal interruption. To learn more about the Toyota Sharelunkers program, visit TexasShareLunker.com.
Terre added that TPW loves the MLF format and is excited for the opportunity to showcase both lakes and their conservation efforts to a nationwide audience.
Michael Mulone, Sr. Director, MLF Events expressed gratitude to the cooperation throughout the region, including, the Lake Fork Area Chamber of Commerce, Oak Ridge Marina, and TPW.
“A 10-boat championship shootout on the 1799-acre Lake Athens in mid-March with the best anglers in the world is like a Home Run Derby at the All-Star game,” said Mulone. “We look forward to showing off these exceptional fisheries to our audience, the largest in fishing.”
Major League Fishing will showcase the fishery and the region through their award-winning, live and linear programming. Each Stage of the Bass Pro Tour is broadcast live on the Major League Fishing app, MyOutdoorTV (MOTV), and MajorLeagueFishing.com, totaling more than 54 hours of original programming for Lake Fork and Lake Athens.
Micheal Rogge, President of Lake Fork Area Chamber of Commerce, told MLF there is much excitement from citizens in the Lake Fork area regarding the pros visiting and the exposure that MLF brings their destination.
“Lake Fork has been well known, but with the arrival of the MLF Bass Pro Tour, we can add another dimension to showcasing the abilities of Lake Fork both nationally and internationally,” explained Rogge. “The economic impact alone of MLF coming to our area brings new visitors, new money, and new opportunities, which is a huge benefit to our regional efforts.”
Several local organizations have worked with MLF to create unique opportunities for fans to meet the Pros throughout the weekend. These ALL ACCESS events give fans the opportunity to meet their favorite MLF pros, register to win prizes, and obtain autographs, photos and fishing tips from different anglers throughout the weekend.
Fans can meet pros at the following events:
Friday, March 13 from 5-7 p.m. CST
Saturday, March 14 from 1-4 p.m. CST
Saturday, March 14 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. CST
Sunday, March 15 from 3-7 p.m. CST
About the Bass Pro Tour
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. Each stage includes six days of competition using the Major League Fishing, catch-weigh-and-immediately-release format, where every bass over a variable minimum weight toward a cumulative weight total for the day. Variable minimum weights are determined by fishery, akin to a golf course handicap. Lake Fork and Lake Athens will feature a two-pound minimum weight.
The field of 80 anglers is divided into two groups of 40 to compete on days one through four in the Qualifying Round. The winners of each Group receive an automatic berth to the Championship Round and a minimum payout of $12,000. The anglers who finish in places two through 19 from each group in the Qualifying Round (38 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.
Each of Eight Stages of the Bass Pro Tour have the following payout schedule: 1st $100,000; 2nd $42,000; 3rd $30,000; 4th $24,000; 5th $18,000; 6th $16,800; 7th $15,600; 8th $14,400; 9th $13,200; 10th $12,000; 11th to 40th $6,000; Berkley Big Bass $2,000 per event.
About Major League Fishing
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.
In late 2019 MLF acquired FLW, which expands their portfolio to include the world’s largest grassroots fishing organization, including the strongest five-fish format professional bass fishing tour, the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, as well as the Toyota Series, Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine, and Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI, and High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing.