UNION SPRINGS, N.Y. – The fishing wasn’t quite as fast and furious as it was for Group A competitors on Saturday, but it was still a fantastic day on the water for Group B anglers as they opened their two-day Qualifying Round Sunday at the Bass Pro Tour Fox Rent A Car Stage Six on Cayuga Lake Presented by Googan Baits. Pro Michael Neal of Dayton, Tennessee, who just last week clinched his second straight Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Angler of the Year (AOY) title, kept his momentum rolling, catching 21 scorable bass weighing 83 pounds, 3 ounces, to take the lead in Group B after their first day of competition.
Favorite Fishing pro Mark Daniels, Jr., of Tuskegee, Alabama, sits in second place, 7 pounds, 13 ounces back of Neal with 22 scorable bass totaling 75-6. Pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, California, finished the day in third place with 25 bass for 72-8, while B&W Trailer Hitches pro Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Arkansas, caught 20 bass totaling 71-13 to end the day in fourth place. Lorena, Texas, pro Alton Jones rounds out the top five, as he caught 25 bass weighing 71-4.
The 40 anglers in Group B will now have an off day on Monday, while the 40 anglers competing in Group A will complete their two-day Qualifying Round of competition. Group B will conclude their Qualifying Round on Tuesday.
The six-day tournament, hosted by the Village of Union Springs, showcases 80 of the best professional anglers in the world competing for a purse of more than $805,000, including a top payout of $100,000 to the winner. The tournament is livestreamed each day at MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MOTV app, and also filmed for television broadcast later this fall on the Discovery Channel.
“I’m super happy with how the day went,” Neal said. “I caught a ton of fish roaming on the very outside break of the lake. The fish don’t have anything else to relate to out past there, besides bait, and I think that is the big key to where I’ve been fishing at – a ton of baitfish in the area. I’m looking for the bass that are chasing those balls of bait around on the edge of that drop.”
Neal credited his Lowrance ActiveTarget Live Sonar as being critical to his success. He caught his fish drop-shotting a pearl-colored Big Bite Baits Scentsation Swim Minnow, using a No. 1 Gamakatsu hook with a 3/8-ounce Denali Kovert tungsten weight. He threw the drop-shot rig on a 7-foot, 6-inch Denali Kovert rod with 8-pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon line.
“I feel like I’m definitely on the right pattern, catching both species of largemouth and smallmouth,” Neal said. “I expected to catch mostly smallmouth but was surprised at how many largemouth there were out here.
“It seems like everybody has found the same fish and it’s only going to get tougher and tougher because of the fishing pressure,” Neal said. “Winning the Qualifying Round and getting that automatic berth into the Championship Round is a big deal this week, more so than normal. I’m trying to focus on getting to that point, but it is not going to be an easy task. I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”
The Top 20 pros in Group B after Day 1 of their Qualifying Round on Cayuga Lake are:
1st: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 21 bass, 83-3
2nd: Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 22 bass, 75-6
3rd: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 25 bass, 72-8
4th: Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., 20 bass, 71-13
5th: Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, 25 bass, 71-4
6th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 19 bass, 63-3
7th: Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 16 bass, 58-5
8th: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., 19 bass, 57-11
9th: James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., 17. bass, 55-14
10th: Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., 16 bass, 52-10
11th: Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, 15 bass, 47-1
12th: Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., 13 bass, 45-9
13th: Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., 14 bass, 43-15
14th: Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., 13 bass, 43-6
15th: James Watson, Lampe, Mo., 14 bass, 43-2
16th: Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., 15 bass, 41-4
17th: Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., 14 bass, 41-1
18th: Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 11 bass, 40-12
19th: Shin Fukae, Osaka, Japan, 12 bass, 38-10
20th: Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., 13 bass, 36-13
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 493 scorable bass weighing 1,585 pounds, 15 ounces caught by the 40 pros Sunday.
Pro Timmy Horton of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, earned Sunday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award after catching a 6-pound, 9-ounce largemouth in Period 1 that was the largest of the day. 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 compete in their two-day qualifying round on Saturday and Monday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Sunday and Tuesday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the anglers that finish in second through 20th place from both groups advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round, while the winner of each group advances directly to Thursday’s Championship Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed, and the remaining 38 anglers compete to finish in the top eight to advance to the Championship Round. In the final day Championship Round, weights are zeroed, and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.
Anglers will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. ET 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 MLF NOW! live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
As a part of the event on Monday, Aug. 8 from 8-10 a.m., the MLF Fisheries Management Division (FMD) will participate in a clean-up event at Frontenac Park – the FMD Costa Clean Water Matters Program. MLF pro anglers and volunteers will walk the park and shorelines to clean up trash and debris from the shores of Cayuga Lake.
On Championship Thursday, Aug. 11, from 4:30-6 p.m. 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 Fox Rent A Car Stage Six on Cayuga Lake Presented by Googan Baits. Before the celebration, a MLF watch party starts at 1:30 p.m., and the first 50 middle school or high school anglers in attendance 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 at the trophy celebration to meet and greet fans, sign autographs, and take selfies.
The Fox Rent A Car Stage Six on Cayuga Lake Presented by Googan Baits features anglers competing with a 2-pound 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 REDCREST IV, the Bass Pro Tour championship, which will be held next March on Lake Norman in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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 Fox Rent A Car Stage Six on Cayuga Lake Presented by Googan Baits will premiere as a two-hour episode at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Nov. 12 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 tournament competition.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Bally Bet, 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 Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.