Mark Davis Leads Final Eight to Championship Round at Bass Pro Tour Stage Five - Major League Fishing
Mark Davis Leads Final Eight to Championship Round at Bass Pro Tour Stage Five
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Mark Davis Leads Final Eight to Championship Round at Bass Pro Tour Stage Five

Image for Mark Davis Leads Final Eight to Championship Round at Bass Pro Tour Stage Five
June 8, 2022 • MLF • Press Releases

SPRING CITY, Tenn. – B&W Trailer Hitches pro Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Arkansas, caught 10 scorable bass Wednesday weighing 25 pounds, 12-ounces, to win the Knockout Round and advance to the final day of competition at the General Tire Stage Five on Watts Bar Lake Presented by Covercraft in Spring City, Tennessee. 

After taking over the lead mid-day, the Bass Fishing Hall of Famer and three-time Angler of the Year (AOY) winner rose to the top of a stacked field going into Thursday’s Championship Round. Among the star-studded field of pros competing in the Championship Round are fellow Bass Fishing Hall of Famer and Michigan native Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, who won an automatic berth to the Championship Round on Monday and boasts a staggering eight AOY awards in his astounding career, along with Forrest Wood Cup champion Randall “The Honey Badger” Tharp of Port Saint Joe, Florida, who has seven major wins and more than 30 Top-10 finishes in his career. Tharp finished in second place Wednesday, with 11 bass, weighing 23 pounds, 15 ounces. 

The final 10 anglers are now set, and competition will resume Thursday morning with anglers launching at 7:30 a.m. ET in the Championship Round, where weights are zeroed, and the angler that catches the most one-day weight will win the top prize of $100,000.

The six-day event, hosted by Fish Dayton, the Rhea County Economic Tourism Council and Spring City, Tennessee, showcases 80 of the top professional bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a total purse of $805,000.

The top eight pros from Wednesday’s Knockout Round that will compete in Thursday’s Championship Round on Watts Bar Lake are:

  • 1st:           Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., 10 bass, 25-12 
  • 2nd:          Randall Tharp, Port St. Joe, Fla., 11 bass, 23-15 
  • 3rd:          Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., 13 bass, 23-9 
  • 4th:           Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., nine bass, 23-9 
  • 5th:           Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, nine bass, 22-11 
  • 6th:           Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 11 bass, 21-11 
  • 7th:           Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., nine bass, 19-1 
  • 8th:           Alton Jones, Sr., Lorena, Texas, eight bass, 18-0

They’ll be joined by Qualifying Round winners:

  • Group A: Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich.
  • Group B: David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn.

Full results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

“Man, what a great day,” Davis said. “I’ve had two bad tournaments, but I feel like I’m back on track now with my fishing.”

Davis spent most of his day fishing slowly and methodically, cranking and throwing a worm in the back of a creek on a big grass flat, targeting isolated hard cover.

“It’s been a fantastic day, fishing the way I like to fish,” Davis said. “A lot of the fish in this lake are suspended – and that was my back-up pattern for today – but I found a creek that’s about 10-foot-deep, where they aren’t suspended, and you can catch them just fishing stumps, trees and other hard cover. 

“The last two days that I’ve fished this creek have been bright, bluebird skies with a little afternoon wind, and I caught a few five-pounders and a three-pounder, so I knew the bigger and better fish lived in here,” Davis continued. “I had a lot of other stuff I could hit today, but I was hoping with the cloud cover and the rain we had this morning, this place would really show out, so I got in here today and just slowed everything down.”

It was a winning technique that worked for the Arkansas pro, who bested 37 other anglers in the Knockout Round to end the day in the top spot.

“I know this creek has had a lot of pressure because it’s the prettiest creek on the lake,” Davis said. “Earlier in the week I was able to get them to eat a big, Texas-rigged worm, but today it took a drop-shot, finesse-fishing real slow to get them to bite, but we got it done.”

Rounding out the Top 40 finishers were: 

  • 11th:        Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan, eight bass, 16-14, $10,000
  • 12th:        Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., seven bass, 16-12, $10,000
  • 13th:        Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., eight bass, 15-0, $10,000
  • 14th:        Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., seven bass, 14-13, $10,000
  • 15th:        Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., seven bass, 14-11, $10,000
  • 16th:        Clabion Johns, Social Circle, Ga., six bass, 13-7, $10,000
  • 17th:        Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., six bass, 13-6, $10,000
  • 18th:        Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., six bass, 12-10, $10,000
  • 19th:        Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., seven bass, 12-5, $10,000
  • 20th:        Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., six bass, 12-4, $10,000
  • 21st:        Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., six bass, 12-2, $10,000
  • 22nd:       Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., five bass, 12-1, $10,000
  • 23rd:       Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., five bass, 11-15, $10,000
  • 24th:        Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 11-10, $10,000
  • 25th:        Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, seven bass, 11-8, $10,000
  • 26th:        Paul Elias, Laurel, Miss., five bass, 11-2, $10,000
  • 27th:        Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., four bass, 9-5, $10,000
  • 28th:        Dave Lefebre, Erie, Penn., five bass, 9-3, $10,000
  • 29th:        Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., five bass, 9-2, $10,000
  • 30th:        Gary Klein, Mingus, Texas, four bass, 8-15, $10,000
  • 31st:        Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., three bass, 8-13, $10,000
  • 32nd:       Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., four bass, 8-6, $10,000
  • 33rd:       Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., four bass, 7-12, $10,000
  • 34th:        Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., four bass, 7-11, $10,000
  • 35th:        Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., three bass, 7-4, $10,000
  • 36th:        Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., four bass, 7-0, $10,000
  • 37th:        Ish Monroe, Oakdale, Calif., one bass, 3-15, $10,000
  • 38th:        Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., one bass, 3-7, $10,000
  • 39th:        Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., zero bass, 0-0, $10,000
  • 40th:        Kelly Jordon, Flint, Texas, zero bass, 0-0, $10,000

Overall, there were 223 scorable bass weighing 481 pounds, 9 ounces caught by 36 pros Wednesday.

Power-Pole pro Chris Lane of Guntersville, Alabama caught a 5-pound, 5-ounce largemouth on a jig in the first period to earn Wednesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award. 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 40 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Saturday and Monday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Sunday and Tuesday. After the two-day Qualifying Round, the anglers that finish in second through 20th place from both groups advanced to Wednesday’s Knockout Round, while the winner of each group advanced directly to Thursday’s Championship Round. In the Knockout Round, weights were zeroed, and the remaining 38 anglers competed to finish in the top eight to advance to the Championship Round. Tomorrow, in the final day Championship Round, weights are zeroed, and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

The final 10 anglers competing in Thursday’s Championship Round will launch at 7:30 a.m. ET from the Spring City Boat Ramp, located at 417 Toestring Valley Road in Spring City, Tennessee. The General Tire Takeout will be held at the ramp, beginning at 4 p.m. Fans are welcome and encouraged to attend all launch and takeout events and to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com

Also, on Championship Thursday, from 4-6 p.m. ET, MLF will host a Celebration Event for fans of all ages, inviting fans to come out and celebrate with the professional anglers from the Bass Pro Tour as they crown the champion of the General Tire Stage Five on Watts Bar Lake Presented by Covercraft. The FREE, family-friendly event will be fun for fishing fans of all ages. The first 50 middle school or high school anglers will receive a free Abu Garcia rod and reel combo valued at $100. The final 10 Championship Round Bass Pro Tour anglers will be on hand to meet and greet fans, sign autographs, take selfies and participate in tackle giveaways.

The General Tire Stage Five on Watts Bar Lake Presented by Covercraft features anglers competing with a 1-pound, 8-ounce minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable. 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 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, competing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2023 championship.

The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action on all six days of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. MLF NOW!  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

Television coverage of the General Tire Stage Five on Watts Bar Lake Presented by Covercraft will premiere at 7 a.m. ET, Oct. 29 on Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on Outdoor Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.

Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, BallyBet, Bass Cat, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Covercraft, Favorite Fishing, Garmin, General Tire, Googan Baits, Grundéns, Guaranteed Rate, Humminbird, Lowrance, Luminox, Mercury, Minn Kota, Mossy Oak, Nitro Performance Boats, Onyx, Plano, Power-Pole, Power Stop, Rapala, Starbrite, Toro, Toyota, Wrangler, Yellowstone Bourbon and Zoom.

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 FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.