4:00 p.m. – Ballgame
When there’s a cut line to contend with, someone is going to leave with a broken heart. We found that out today with several pros who couldn't quite jump into the top 10. Fifteen pros are going home. The following 10 are fishing tomorrow (along with the top 10 from Group A):
1. Joey Cifuentes
2. Spencer Shuffield
3. Wade Strelic
4. John Cox
5. Dylan Hays
6. Matt Becker
7. Chris Brasher
8. Mitch Crane
9. Bradford Beavers
10. Kyle Hall
Joey Cifuentes was quietly the big story of the day. He knew he was in position to make the cut and just went practicing, still stumbling on the second-largest total of the day. Sure, weights zero tomorrow and that doesn’t matter much, but it does mean Cifuentes is on good fish and has the confidence to get them again tomorrow.
Kyle Hall, this year’s Polaris Rookie of the Year, proved today why he deserves every bit of the notoriety he’s earned. He showed a lot of resilience to hang on to the 10 spot and punch his ticket the the Knockout Round.
Thanks for sticking with us today and be sure to come back tomorrow, same time, same place.
3:53 p.m. – Heartbreak for Davis
Alex Davis needs one scorable bass to make the cut. He just jumped off a nice one. With under 10 minutes left, that's pretty crushing. Davis then hooked another keeper that also proceeded to come unbuttoned. Truly hard-to-watch stuff with just under seven minutes to go now.
3:33 p.m. – Final moments
“Frantic” might be the best way to describe what’s happening right now around the cut line. There’s been a ton of movement, thanks in big part to a string of catches by Bradford Beavers and Mitch Crane. Jacob Wall and Alex Davis are also getting in on the action. Crane, Beaver and Kyle Hall are in. Alex Davis is on the outside looking that way.
There’s still about 25 minutes left to fish, though, and the pros near the cut line aren’t wasting a second of that time. Kyle Hall is at 62-14. Davis, currently in 11th is 1-2 behind. Joseph Webster needs 4-14 to overtake Hall, while Jacob Wall needs about 8 ½ pounds.
3:09 p.m. – Beavers doing his best
Bradford Beavers caught just 15-7 on day two and really put himself in a hole. He put the shovel down today and started climbing. Beavers has 44-11 today with a 3-4 and 4-2 in the last 15 minutes to move into 10th place, just 10 ounces ahead of Alex Davis.
Davis has also had a nice day (29-15) after a good day two. If Davis goes down today, he’s going down swinging. His 5-5 10 minutes ago was a real haymaker.
1:58 p.m. – A mighty fine day
With two hours left, the Group B field has already caught 10 more scorable bass than the entire Group A field did yesterday. That’s some really solid fishing all around.
Speaking of solid fishing, Clark Reehm just landed a 5-pound, 8-ounce giant smallmouth. On day two, he also landed a 5-11. That’s just nutty. Reehm needed that fish, too, as he’s now in 12th and just 1-14 off the cut line.
In all, anglers today have caught 29 fish over 4 pounds. That number was 28 all day yesterday.
1:30 p.m. – One period to go
With two-and-a-half hours left to fish, the top five is pretty well set. There’s a 7-13 gap between fifth (Dylan Hays) and sixth (Wade Strelic). That’s certainly a gap that’s closable, but the top five is pretty safe regardless.
Sixth through 10th is separated by 11-3 and Alex Davis is in 11th just 13 ounces behind. Five more anglers are within 8 pounds of Davis. It’s stacked.
As we saw yesterday, there’s going to be a lot of intrigue and drama in the final period of this Qualification Round. It very well could come down to ounces and minutes.
12:22 p.m. – Shuffield securing his spot
Spencer Shuffield hasn’t caught many fish today, but he did just tack on two scorables for 7-9 in the last half hour. He’s been in great shape all day and is essentially practicing in search of some new schools for tomorrow. The three fish he has to bring his total to 72-1 are probably going to be enough. Remember, all weights are zeroes for tomorrow’s Knockout Round, so just making the top 10 cut is all that matters.
Alex Davis added a 3-8 to add to his 22-7 today, which keeps him in ninth place and about 4 pounds ahead of 11th (Mitch Crane). Jacob Wall remains on the bubble, 2-8 ahead of Crane.
Clark Reehm is a pro to watch the rest of the way. He only has 4-2 today (one fish), but he’s only 6-14 out of fourth. If he can relocate some fish and get into a school, he can get right in a hurry.
11:49 a.m. – Cifuentes padding lead
Joey Cifuentes continues to tack on to his lead over John Cox. He found a honey hole that’s been producing, and it’s one he hopes will do the same again tomorrow. He’ll almost certainly be fishing in the Knockout Round, especially after the 3-10 he just caught. That brings his day four total to 31-14 for 92-3 in the round.
Cox, after making a move to a new river, is in some skinny backwater that’s clear and deep. He’s tossing around a ChatterBait and got bit twice in short order, the second of which resulted in a 2-7. He now has 15-9 for the day and 81-14 total.
Jacob Wall is above the cut line and staying there for now after breaking out of a dry spell with a giant. He landed the 4-10 about 10 minutes ago.
11:12 a.m. – New leader
Joey Cifuentes has found a new spot he likes. He probably also likes his spot at the top of SCORETRACKER. The man in the cowboy hat has caught 20-12 today, including a 4-3 he just took a while to land.
Right before that catch, John Cox, swimming a jig along some flooded brush in true John Cox fashion, landed a 2-5. He’s back ahead of Becker by exactly 2-5, sitting in second. Cox put it back on the trailer and is moving to a new spot, practicing for the (hopefully) eventual Knockout Round.
11:02 a.m. – Eyes on the cut line
It’s time to really start watching the cut line closely. The group of pros crowding that line is vast, and the order is changing nearly every minute.
Currently, Jacob Wall is in ninth with a 4-pound cushion over Alex Davis in 11th. Between then sits Clark Reehm with only 4-2 today and 44 pounds total.
Chris Brasher, Bradford Beavers and Mitch Crane are next up, separated by just 2-11. Beavers already has 24-5 for the day. He’s making a furious comeback to push for that top-10 cut. We’ll see if his fish can last another two periods.
While Matt Becker has really caught ‘em well today to grab the lead, Kyle Hall is so far the most successful pro on day four. He has 27-2 with seven scorable bass after landing six for 20-15 day two. Hall has landed a few 4-pounders that got him right in a hurry earlier in Period 1.
10:30 a.m. – End of Period 1
Period 1 is in the books, and it was a good one. Numbers and quality were both better than in any period yesterday, and we saw a bunch of 4-plus-pounder get weighed to boot. Things slowed down a bit at the end, though that’s to be expected considering the second period is typically the slowest of the three. We should see another big bite window open up later in the day.
Matt Becker has taken the lead from John Cox, even though they have the same weight. Becker has caught one more fish over the two days of the Qualifying Round so far, so he has the official lead. Both pros are essentially just running new stuff and “practicing” for tomorrow, but Becker is doing better in the fish catching department to the tune of 26-1
Joey Cifuentes and Spencer Shuffield are still in third and fourth, respectively. Shuffield needed more than two hours to get his first scorable bass – a solid 3-7. Shuffield probably doesn’t need much weight to get in above the cut line today, but he’s also not the type to risk it. He’ll do his best to add to his total to make sure he’s safe by lines out.
Jacob Wall is 2-4 above 10th place right now, but below him is where things get super interesting. From 11th through 16th, there’s only 6 pounds, 12 ounces of separation. In that group, Chad Warren (15th) has had the best day so far with 19-15.
10:04 a.m. – Better fishing today
Yesterday, anglers in Group A combined to catch 64 scorable bass in Period 1 (and only 110 over the last two periods combined). Today, Group B pros have already caught 74 scorable bass and there’s still 25 minutes left to fish in this period.
Quality and quantity have both been there. It likely has a lot to do with the conditions. The wind has completely shifted directions since yesterday and the cloud cover is only partial. All in all, pretty terrific conditions for catching a bunch of smallies.
9:25 a.m. – SCORETRACKER updates
Matt Becker is having himself a really solid start to the day. He’s got 17-4 on just five fish and is in second place, 4-9 behind John Cox. It’s no surprise at all to see Becker near the top of the list considering his Northern smallmouth experience. A few more fish and he can probably do a little coasting into tomorrow’s Knockout Round.
Joseph Webster and Kyle Hall are trading blows today, each with more than 19 pounds so far. Hall has five scorable bass, Webster six.
Jared McMillan has joined the big fish party. He just boated a 5-6 after landing a fat 3-14 right before that. McMillan is making moves, now in 16th place with 9-4 for the day and 32-8 total.
8:51 a.m. – More bigs
There was a long period yesterday in which no one in Group A caught a 4-plus-pounder. That has not been the case so far today. Kyle Hall added another 4-4 to the one he already had and then a 4-11 for good measure. He’s up to 12th place now with 34-2 total.
Joseph Webster just landed a 4-6 and a fish landing penalty to go with it. He’s flirting with the elimination line in ninth place at present.
We’ve already seen six 4-plus-pounders and a 5-plus this morning. And the best news? The cloud cover looks like it’s about to blow out and give way to some sunshine to go along with the breeze.
8:31 a.m. – Cox doing what Cox does
In typical John Cox fashion, he made a run to a backwater area this morning and began fishing about 20 minutes after everyone else. And in typical John Cox fashion, he hooked up with some quality in the form of a 4-9 smallmouth. Cox says he couldn’t sleep last night wondering if he was making the right decision “exploring” this morning. The answer so far is yes.
8:16 a.m. – Get your bigs in early
Just like we saw yesterday, the early morning bite is hot. The big ones seem to show up early and fade in the late morning hours, and they’ve absolutely started showing up. Matt Becker and his 5-7 will tell you so. He’s got two scorable bass now for 9-3 so far.
Polaris Rookie of the Year Kyle Hall didn’t have the best day on Tuesday, but he’s off to a good start today with a 4-4 just a few minutes after lines in. Hall’s now in 14th, and he’s shown this year how capable he is of making the right adjustments at the right times, even being a young rookie with less experience than a lot of pros in the field.
8:05 a.m. – Lines in
It took Matt Becker all of one cast to hook up with a good one and add 3-12 to his total. At the same time Becker landed his, Joey Cifuentes was fighting a quality 3-6 on a Berkley Flat Worm. Both pros entered the day in the top five and both of them really want to stay there. First cast fish catch superstitions don’t matter too much when every fish counts and there’s $200,000 on the line.
7:30 a.m. CT – Group B back in action
Yesterday, we saw the first 10 anglers (from Group A) punch their ticket to fish on Friday in the Knockout Round of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Toyota. Today, it's Group B's turn.
John Cox went out Tuesday morning with no practice and no idea of what he wanted to do. By the end of the day, he had 18 scorable bass to his name for 66 pounds, 5 ounces and a slim lead over Spencer Shuffield (61-1). Joey Cifuentes also topped 60 pounds (60-5) for third, more than 9 pounds above Matt Becker.
Weights in the Qualifying Round are cumulative, so every ounce from the first day of Group B action will matter today. Chris Brasher enters the day in 10th with 31-14 and he certainly hopes he can stay above that line. Every angler is going to have his eyes on that spot today, as the pressure from the cut line will come into play much earlier in the day that you might expect, which we saw yesterday. By the beginning of Period 2, that's about all anyone wanted to talk about.
Conditions are a little different today than they were a couple days ago. It's spitting a little rain and the wind has completely shifted directions since even yesterday. As well as Group B caught them throughout the day Tuesday, these pros will need to adjust and adapt to account for a bunch of new factors.
As the 25 anglers in Group B go out hunting for priceless bronze, we'll be following right along with them. Period 1 starts at 8 a.m. CT. Fortunately, our live video coverage starts even sooner. Be sure sure to head on over to MajorLeagueFishing.com for the FLW Live stream at 7:45 CT, and hang out here all day for analysis, updates and a lot more.
Temperature at takeoff: 74 degrees
Forecast high: 82 degrees
Sky: Mix of sunshine and clouds
Precipitation: 20 percent chance of rain, potential for stray thunderstorm
Wind: NNW 5 to 10 mph
Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
August 24-29, 2020
Hosted by Destination Sturgeon Bay