Wheeler Wins the Knockout Round: Wednesday’s Championship Round Set - Major League Fishing

Wheeler Wins the Knockout Round: Wednesday’s Championship Round Set

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February 25, 2020 • Major League Fishing • Press Releases

February 25, 2020 (Okeechobee, Fla.) Jacob Wheeler won the Knockout Round in the Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Two Presented by Bass Cat. Zack Birge took second with only a 2-pound, 5-ounce deficit. SCORETRACKER® moved today on Lake Okeechobee with more than 190 bass caught as compared to 71-110 on the previous four days of competition. Five anglers tied for catching the most scorable bass at 10 caught each. Alton Jones landed the Berkley Big Bass of the Day with an eight-pound, three-ounce largemouth late in Period 3. The Championship Round begins tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. ET as 10 Pros compete for the $100,000 prize and Stage Two title.

Academy Sports pro Jacob Wheeler will enter his second Championship Round in as many Stages on the 2020 Bass Pro Tour. He steadily caught fish all day long but his burst of six fish in Period 2 ended with a 4-pound, 13-ounce largemouth that placed him comfortably at the front of the pack. Wheeler then used Period 3 to look for additional areas rather than running up a larger lead.

“It’s going to take a lot of weight to win tomorrow,” Wheeler predicted. “The big ones are starting to move up and it’s going to be fun. The ‘Big O’ saved the best for last.”

At the end of the day, Wheeler scored 35 pounds, 1 ounce to win the Knockout Round only 2 pounds, 5 ounces ahead of Favorite Fishing pro Zack Birge. After catching no fish on his first day of the Qualifying Round, Birge surged on Sunday to catch 27 pounds, 3 ounces to advance to today’s Knockout Round. Today he bettered himself with 32 pounds, 12 ounces and a second-place finish to advance to tomorrow’s Championship Round.

“I had a good day,” Birge said, adding that his success helps ease the pain of coming up just short at Lake Eufaula where he missed the Knockout Round by one place. “I cleared my mind and went fishing with one rod on my deck all day long.”

Birge, Wheeler, Jeff Sprague, Michael Neal, and Stephen Browning all caught 10 scorable bass today. All but Browning will advance to the Championship Round, whose last-minute catch of 3 pounds, 2 ounces still left him 1 pound, 5 ounces behind Fletcher Shryock.

The Top 8 of the Knockout Round, who will join Qualifying Round Group A winner Takahiro Omori and Qualifying Round Group B winner Jordan Lee in Wednesday’s Championship are as follows:

PlaceAnglerTotal Weight Total Bass Largest Bass
1Jacob Wheeler35-01 10 5-15
2 Zack Birge32-12 10 5-10
3 Jeff Sprague31-08 10 5-04
4Randall Tharp30-05 8 5-06
5Michael Neal 29-11 10 4-09
6Jacob Powroznik 29-05 9 5-12
7James Elam27-14 9 7-05
8Fletcher Shryock 27-11 7 6-05

For complete results, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com, Bass Pro Tour, Results.

The competition concludes Wednesday with the Championship Round where ten anglers compete for the Favorite Fishing Stage Two Presented by Bass Cat title. The weather forecast suggests thunderstorms may hinder the competition in the morning. Bass Pro Tour Tournament Director Aaron Beshears will consider safety over competition every time.

“We continuously monitor weather on the entire body of water to determine the safest situation for the anglers and MLF staff,” said Beshears. “With a lake the size of Okeechobee, we will be especially cautious for all involved.”

Pending no weather delays, the day begins with launch at C. Scott Driver Park, Okeechobee, Fla. 7:15 a.m. EST before lines-in at 8:00 a.m. Period 1 ends at 10:30 a.m. Period 2 spans 10:45 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. Period 3 begins at 1:30 p.m. and lasts until day’s end at 4:00 p.m. The General Tire Takeout show airs approximately 4:15 – 5:15 p.m. as anglers return to the ramp.

Fans can catch all the action every day of competition on MLF NOW! live stream on MajorLeagueFishing.com or download the MLF App for your Apple or GooglePlay device or on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV).

About the Bass Pro Tour:

The Bass Pro Tour began in 2019 and features 80 of the best professional anglers in the world, including Kevin VanDam, Edwin Evers, Aaron Martens, Mike Iaconelli, Jordan Lee, and Skeet Reese. Each stage includes six days of competition using the Major League Fishing, catch-weigh-and-immediately-release format, where every bass over a variable minimum weight, which is two pounds on Lake Eufaula for Stage One, toward a cumulative weight total for the day.  Variable minimum weights are determined by fishery akin to a golf course handicap. The field of 80 anglers is divided into two groups of 40 to compete on days one and two respectively for the Shotgun Round. On days three and four, the Elimination Round culls the field based on a combined 2-day total weight from each angler’s Shotgun and Elimination Round. The top 20 anglers from each group in the Elimination Round (40 total) advance to the Knockout Round on day five, which determines who will compete on that final day, the Championship Round, for the Stage title and $100,000.

Each of Eight Stages of the Bass Pro Tour have the following payout schedule: 1st $100,000; 2nd $42,000; 3rd $30,000; 4th $24,000; 5th $18,000; 6th $16,800; 7th $15,600; 8th $14,400; 9th $13,200; 10th $12,000; 11th – 40th $6,000; Big Bass Daily $1,000; Big Bass Overall $1,000.

In addition to the economic impact on a host community, Major League Fishing showcases the region through their award-winning, live and linear programming. Each Stage of the Bass Pro Tour is broadcast live on the Major League Fishing app, MyOutdoorTV (MOTV), and majorleaguefishing.com, totaling more than 325 hours of original programming. Fans can follow the fast-paced nature of the MLF format as it unfolds on the live leaderboard through “SCORETRACKER® updates.” Highlights from each Stage of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour will air on Discovery Network beginning in July 2020 and Sportsman Channel in early 2021.

“MLF offers the strongest broadcast presence in the industry to fans and sponsors,” said Jim Wilburn, President and CEO of Major League Fishing. “And with these lakes planned for this coming Bass Pro Tour, we know 2020 will be our best year yet as we continue to capture a broad audience of both longtime fishing fans and those new to the sport, thanks to our fast-paced, fan-friendly format,”

About Major League Fishing    

Founded in 2011, Major League Fishing (MLF) brings the high-intensity sport of competitive bass fishing into America’s living rooms on Outdoor Channel, Discovery, CBS, CBS Sports Network, World Fishing Network, Sportsman Channel, and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). The Bass Pro Tour consists of eight events and a championship streamed live on www.MajorLeagueFishing.com and MOTV.

In late 2019 MLF acquired FLW, which expands their portfolio to include the world’s largest grassroots fishing organization, including the strongest five-fish format professional bass fishing tour, the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, as well as the Toyota Series, Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine, and Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI, and High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing.

For more information on the league and anglers, visit www.MajorLeagueFishing.com and follow MLF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.