UNION SPRINGS, N.Y. – Major League Fishing and the Bass Pro Tour, featuring the top professional anglers in bass fishing, is set to return to Union Springs, New York, and Cayuga Lake next week, June 6-11, for the fifth event of the 2023 Bass Pro Tour season – the Favorite Fishing Stage Five at Cayuga Lake Presented by ATG by Wrangler.
Cayuga Lake has hosted hundreds of bass tournaments over the years, including the Bass Pro Tour in 2022. However, the June timeline for this event is extremely unique. The traditional bass season doesn’t officially start until June 15, yet the catch and immediate-release season runs from Dec. 1 through June 14 on inland waters in New York. MLF received confirmation from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation that the Bass Pro Tour format of catch, weigh, immediate release is compliant under state guidelines.
The six-day tournament will feature a field of 80 professional anglers, including bass-fishing superstars like Kevin VanDam, REDCREST 2023 Champion Bryan Thrift, reigning back-to-back Bally Bet Angler of the Year (AOY) Jacob Wheeler, Jordan Lee, and last year’s Cayuga Lake Champion, Alabama’s Dustin Connell. They’ll be competing for a purse of more than $805,000, including a top payout of $100,000 and valuable Angler of the Year points in hopes of qualifying for the General Tire Heavy Hitters All-Star event and REDCREST 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship.
“The Village of Union Springs is excited and looking forward to once again hosting our friends from Major League Fishing,” said Robert Thurston, Jr, Mayor of the Village of Union Springs. “Village residents and our neighboring communities appreciate MLF for bringing some of the most talented and friendliest athletes to our community. We are looking forward to the tournament and wish all MLF anglers a safe and successful tournament.”
In June of 2022, angler Thomas Russell Jr. caught an 8-pound, 6-ounce smallmouth on Cayuga Lake to set the New York state record. Pro Dustin Connell, who won the 2022 Bass Pro Tour event on the lake, believes Russell’s record could be in danger during the event.
“There are so many 5- to 7-pound smallmouth in there and some that are much bigger,” Connell said. “Sight-fishing should be a big factor, and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone catches a new record. It will be fun – the lake is full of big bass, and most of them will be up shallow.”
Traditionally, largemouth have been the way to win, but Connell changed that mindset with his victory with smallmouth in 2022. This time, he expects a split and says both can produce a winning total.
“It’ll be a battle between the species and nobody knows how it’s going to turn out,” Connell said. “Fishing for big smallmouth may be a good option, but you can also go down a stretch and catch a bunch of largemouth. The grass should just be starting to grow, and the fishing should be incredible no matter which species you decide on.”
Anglers will launch at 7:30 a.m. CT each day from Frontenac Park, located at 15 Creamery Road in Union Springs. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the park 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.
Fans are encouraged to attend Meet The Pros Night on Saturday, June 3 from 6-7:30 p.m. Bass Pro Tour anglers will be onsite at the Bass Pro Shops, located at 1579 Clark Street Road in Auburn, New York, to meet fans, sign autographs and take photos.
Also, as part of the event, on Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11 the MLF Fan Experience will be taking place at the Bass Pro Shops in Auburn from 1-6 p.m. MLF will welcome fans of all ages to celebrate fishing and the outdoors. Fans can hang out and watch the pros live on the MLFNOW! big screen during the MLF Watch Party. On Sunday at 5 p.m., the final 10 Championship Round Bass Pro Tour anglers will be on hand for the trophy celebration and to meet and greet fans, sign autographs, and take selfies.
The Favorite Fishing Stage Five at Cayuga Lake Presented by ATG by Wrangler will feature 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 40 Anglers in Group A compete 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.
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. ET. MLFNOW! will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of Favorite Fishing Stage Five at Cayuga Lake Presented by ATG by Wrangler will air as two, two-hour episodes starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 28 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.