Tennessee's David Walker grabs opening day lead at Power-Pole Stop 1 on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Phoenix Boats - Major League Fishing
Tennessee’s David Walker grabs opening day lead at Power-Pole Stop 1 on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Phoenix Boats
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Tennessee’s David Walker grabs opening day lead at Power-Pole Stop 1 on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Phoenix Boats

MLF Invitational Opens to Beautiful Florida Sunshine and Big Limits of Bass – 15 in Excess of 20+ Pounds
Image for Tennessee’s David Walker grabs opening day lead at Power-Pole Stop 1 on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Phoenix Boats
February 8, 2023 • MLF • Press Releases

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Bass Pro Shops pro David Walker of  Sevierville, Tennessee, crossed the stage Wednesday with a five-bass limit weighing 28 pounds, 1 ounce, to lead Day 1 of the season-opening Major League Fishing Tackle Warehouse Invitational Power-Pole Stop 1 at Lake Okeechobee Presented by Phoenix Boats. Walker now holds a 1-pound, 6-ounce lead over Italian pro Jacopo Gallelli of Florence, Italy, who caught five bass weighing 26-11.

The three-day tournament, hosted by the Hendry County Tourism Development Council, features a roster of 150 anglers competing for a top prize of up to $115,000 and an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2024.

Link to Photo of Day 1 Leader David Walker
Link to Photo Gallery of Day 1 Highlights
Link to Video of Fish-Catch Highlights of Day 1 on Lake Okeechobee

“My day started out really good. I had some bites, but they weren’t big fish,” Walker said. “I had a couple of areas that I felt like I could get some bites in, but I didn’t know what they were. In practice I was looking for places that I would want to go back to, and I was fortunate to find a couple of areas that I felt like I could go to today. I felt confident that I could get some bites, and then we’d see how it goes. And then it went… really, really well.”

The Tennessee pro estimated that he caught around 25 keepers throughout the day.

“It’s still pretty early so I have to be a little vague, but I can say that Z-Man products were a big player for me today,” Walker said. “Going out this morning I had about a half dozen different options on the deck, and as the day went on I narrowed it down to three key baits.”

Walker mainly stuck to his area for most of the competition day, but he did venture off a couple of times as he tried to expand on his spot.

“We’ve got the possibility of some storms moving in tomorrow afternoon, and I’m in a later flight so I might be in on some of that, but hopefully not,” Walker went on to say. “Tomorrow is going to be more of the same. I’d be foolish to figure that I could do something similar, somewhere else. I think I’ve found the right place and I feel like I’m doing the right thing, and that’s all you can hope for in a tournament. Whether it pans out or not, I want to walk away knowing I did the right thing. I couldn’t talk myself into going anywhere else at this point.”

The Top 15 pros after Day 1 on Lake Okeechobee are:

  • 1st: David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn., five bass, 28-1
  • 2nd: Jacopo Gallelli, Florence, Italy, five bass, 26-11
  • 3rd: Jason Vance, Battle Ground, Ind., five bass, 25-9
  • 4th: Tai Au, Glendale, Ariz., five bass, 25-4
  • 5th: Brian Latimer, Belton, S.C., five bass, 23-14
  • 6th: Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., five bass, 23-3
  • 7th: William Fletcher, Dallas, Ga., five bass, 22-1
  • 8th: Colby Schrumpf, Highland, Ill., five bass, 21-15
  • 9th: Tom Redington, Royse City, Texas, five bass, 21-11
  • 10th: Jonathan Dietz, Corry, Pa., five bass, 21-3
  • 11th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 21-1
  • 12th: Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., five bass, 20-13
  • 12th: Joe Wieberg, Freeburg, Mo., five bass, 20-13
  • 14th: Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 20-9
  • 15th: Eddie Carper, Valiant, Okla., five bass, 20-6

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

Pro Wyatt Frankens of Corrigan, Texas, won Wednesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass award with a chunky largemouth bass that weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces.

Overall, there were 712 bass weighing 2,029 pounds, 9 ounces caught by 149 pros Wednesday. The catch included 127 five-bass limits.

In MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational competition, the full field of 150 anglers compete in the two-day opening round on Wednesday and Thursday in a traditional five-fish, weigh-in format. Only the top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight will advance to the final round on Championship Friday, where they will compete for the grand prize of up to $115,000, including the lucrative $35,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus for qualified anglers. The winner of the MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational Power-Pole Stop 1 at Lake Okeechobee Presented by Phoenix Boats will be determined by the heaviest three-day cumulative weight and will receive an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2024.

Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. ET, each day through Friday, from Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort located at 920 W. Del Monte Ave. in Clewiston. Weigh-ins will also be held at the marina daily beginning at 2:50 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend the event or follow the live on-the-water action all three days of competition online on MLF NOW! beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The MLFNOW! broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action on all three days of competition from 7:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. ET. MLFNOW!  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

The MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational Power-Pole Stop 1 at Lake Okeechobee Presented by Phoenix Boats will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the CBS Sports Network on Saturday, September 30th.

Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitationals include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Favorite Fishing, Fox Rent a Car, General Tire, Grundéns, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix Boats, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Wiley X and YETI.

For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals on the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook,  Instagram and YouTube.