Captain Ehrler guides team to Day 1 lead in General Tire Team Series Qualifier on Stockton Lake - Major League Fishing
Captain Ehrler guides team to Day 1 lead in General Tire Team Series Qualifier on Stockton Lake
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Captain Ehrler guides team to Day 1 lead in General Tire Team Series Qualifier on Stockton Lake

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Brent Ehrler prepares his equipment for the first day of Match 1 at the Costa Qualifier. Photo by Garrick Dixon. Angler: Brent Ehrler.
February 13, 2023 • Mason Prince • General Tire Team Series

BOLIVAR, Mo. – The opening match of the General Tire Team Series Costa Qualifier Presented by Toyota on Stockton Lake ended with Team Ferguson leading on SCORETRACKER®, powered by team captain Brent Ehrler. The three-man team of Ehrler, Brett Hite and Tommy Biffle brought in 28 bass for 43 pounds to give them a 6-pound lead heading into their second day.

Divide and conquer on Day 1 works out for Team Ferguson

Ehrler said his team’s strategy was focused on splitting up the 13,820 surface acres of the reservoir while also focusing on catering to each angler’s strengths.

“We really tried to split the lake up into zones,” Ehrler said. “We sent Tommy up the river because it was a bit more his style. Brett and myself split up the main lake up to the dam. We were really just trying to get a feel for the lake and see where they were biting better.”

Hite and Ehrler each brought in double-digit fish on the day with Biffle adding four more. While the bite was consistent out on the main lake, Ehrler was surprised to learn about the conditions Biffle was facing further up the Little Sac River.

“Where me and Brett were at, the water was clear and had a lot of really good rock transitions,” Ehrler said. “There was a lot of timber in the water where Tommy was. It was really a completely different lake when you ran up the river; so taking the time to figure that out was crucial for us.”

Ehrler led the team with 14 bass for 25 pounds, including a 4-8 that was the biggest of the day. What began as a day that focused on fall fishing and fall transition patterns, quickly turned to something Ehrler wasn’t expecting it to be.

“I was focused on staging areas with some rock to begin,” Ehrler said. “I figured with the time of the year, it was either going to be a jerkbait, crankbait or topwater that caught my fish. To my surprise, I actually caught them the best on a Lucky Craft 1.5. It was surprising I caught them on that, because it wasn’t a bait they should have been chasing in shallow water, I expected them to be deeper.”

Team Ferguson finished the day with a 6-3 lead over Team B&W Trailer Hitches (Kevin VanDam, David Walker and Todd Faircloth) and a 10-9 lead over Team Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff & Pouches (David Dudley, Zack Birge and Clabion Johns).

Where/when/how to watch

You can catch Day 2 of Match 1 of the Costa Qualifier at the following times on Outdoor Channel: Feb. 18 (2-4 p.m. ET), Feb. 19 (4-6 p.m. ET) and Feb. 24 (9-11 a.m. ET)