OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – “The W” got it done Wednesday at Lake of the Ozarks. Spring City, Tennessee, pro Wesley Strader caught 11 scorable largemouth weighing 34 pounds, 2 ounces, to best the 38 anglers competing and win the Knockout Round at the Bass Pro Tour Bass Boat Technologies Stage Four on Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Bass Cat in Osage Beach, Missouri. The final 10 anglers are now set, and competition will resume Thursday morning with the Championship Round when weights are zeroed, and the angler who catches the most one-day weight will take home top prize of $100,000.
The six-day tournament, hosted by Central Missouri’s Tri-County Lodging Association, the Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Council and BassingBob.com, showcases 80 of the top pro bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a purse of $805,000, including a top cash prize of $100,000 to the winner. The tournament is livestreamed each day at MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MOTV app, and also filmed for broadcast later this fall on the Discovery Channel.
The top eight pros from Wednesday’s Knockout Round that will compete in Thursday’s final-day Championship Round on Lake of the Ozarks are:
1st: Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., 11 bass, 34-2
2nd: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 12 bass, 33-7
3rd: Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 32-11
4th: Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., nine bass, 29-11
5th: Kelly Jordon, Flint, Texas, nine bass, 27-11
6th: Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., seven bass, 27-0
7th: Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., seven bass, 24-5
8th: Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., eight bass, 23-12
They’ll be joined by Qualifying Round winners:
Group A: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala.
Group B: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn.
Full results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
“What an amazing, blessed day,” Strader said. “I’m happy to win a round. I know it’s not the Qualifying Round day that you really want to win, but it feels nice to just get a win.”
Strader caught an early 4-pound, 10-ounce largemouth on a Z-Man ChatterBait in Period 1, then switched to the bait that he did most of his damage on – a green-pumpkin-colored 3/8-ounce compact jig with a Zoom Speed Craw trailer. He credited his Lowrance electronics as being crucial to his success this week.
“My Lowrance has been a big key for me,” Strader said. “Being able to see how those contours fell in – most of the bites were kind of halfway back, and out, and you had to have some steeper stuff nearby. I found all of that on my C-Map.
“I’m excited about making it to the Championship Round, I just hope they bite as good as they did today,” Strader said. “I think I found an area of the lake that has some fish that are willing to bite – some of them are up spawning, and some of them aren’t. We’re going to go home, sharpen our hooks, then go to the store and see if we can find any more of these jigs. I’m going to buy every one they have in the tackle shop, spool up some new Shooter Sunline and get ready to go for tomorrow.”
Rounding out the Top 40 finishers were:
11th: Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, seven bass, 23-2, $10,000
12th: Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., eight bass, 22-11, $10,000
13th: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., eight bass, 22-2, $10,000
14th: Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., eight bass, 21-5, $10,000
15th: Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., seven bass, 20-2, $10,000
16th: Dave Lefebre, Erie, Pa., six bass, 19-8, $10,000
17th: Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., seven bass, 19-1, $10,000
18th: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., seven bass, 18-15, $10,000
19th: Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, six bass, 18-11, $10,000
20th: Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, seven bass, 18-8, $10,000
21st: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., eight bass, 18-4, $10,000
22nd: Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., six bass, 17-3, $10,000
23rd: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., seven bass, 16-4, $10,000
24th: Matt Lee, Cullman, Ala., six bass, 16-1, $10,000
25th: Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla., four bass, 15-3, $10,000
26th: Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, five bass, 14-14, $10,000
27th: Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., five bass, 14-13, $10,000
28th: Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., four bass, 14-12, $10,000
29th: Shaw Grigsby, Gainesville, Fla., five bass, 14-11, $10,000
30th: David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., six bass, 14-10, $10,000
31st: Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., five bass, 14-6, $10,000
32nd: Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., five bass, 14-5, $10,000
33rd: James Watson, Lampe, Mo., five bass, 13-0, $10,000
34th: Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., four bass, 11-15, $10,000
35th: Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., four bass, 10-15, $10,000
36th: Shin Fukae, Osaka, Japan, four bass, 10-15, $10,000
37th: Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., four bass, 10-12, $10,000
38th: Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., four bass, 10-10, $10,000
39th: Alton Jones, Sr., Lorena, Texas, three bass, 9-9, $10,000
40th: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., three bass, 7-6, $10,000
Overall, there were 241 scorable bass weighing 707 pounds, 4 ounces caught by the 38 pros Wednesday. The catch included 23 four-pounders, nine five-pounders and one six-pounder.
General Tire pro Mark Rose earned the $1,000 Berkley Big Bass award Wednesday, catching a 6-pound, 1-ounce largemouth on a jig in Period 1. 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 finished 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 will launch Thursday at 7:30 a.m. from the Grand Glaize Marina Recreation Area, located at 711 Public Beach Road in Osage Beach. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the Marina, 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.
On Championship Thursday, May 5, from 4-6 p.m. CT, 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 Bass Boat Technologies Stage Four on Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Bass Cat. 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 Bass Boat Technologies Stage Four on Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Bass Cat 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 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 Championship Thursday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT. MLF NOW! will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the Bass Boat Technologies Stage Four on Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Bass Cat will premiere as two two-hour episodes at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Oct. 15 and Saturday, Oct. 22 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the 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, 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.