GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – MLF pro Jeff Sprague caught seven smallmouth bass totaling 15 pounds, 2 ounces, on Wabana Lake to win Elimination Round 2 at the General Tire World Championship Presented by Bass Pro Shops in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Sprague’s two-day cumulative total of 74 bass weighing 120-6 advanced the Texas angler to the Sudden Death Round of competition in the six-day championship tournament.
Cody Meyer, was the first angler to advance into the Sudden Death Round after his record-setting victory in the Shotgun Round. He is now joined by Sprague, along with pros Jacob Powroznik (58 bass, 118-0) and Edwin Evers (71 bass, 113-11) as the four anglers advancing from Elimination Round 2. The Sudden Death Round episode will air this Saturday, November 7.
“What a crazy day on the water,” said Sprague in the postgame press conference. “After our amazing first day of fishing on Pokegama I expected to go out and do just as well, but it was a grinder out there.
“On our morning ride-through I noticed that there wasn’t a lot of man-made structure, and there weren’t very many docks,” Sprague continued. “I did see a lot of lily pads, and grass – so my first instinct was to go to my largemouth roots. I love to power fish, and that’s what I did for the first hour and a half. I only managed to get one or two smaller bites – no keepers – so I made the decision at the end of the first period to run back out to the main lake and start looking at the rocky shoals and points.
“After being out there a few minutes, I looked down and saw a smallmouth in about 8 feet. The lightbulb went off and I knew that I was going to have to buckle down and make some tactic changes.”
Sprague re-rigged multiple drop-shot setups, mentioning the Strike King Z-Too and the Strike King Half Shell as his two key baits on the day. He rigged them with a 3/8-ounce drop-shot weight and a 1/0 hook, and threw them on a Lew’s Pro-Ti Speed Stick spinning rod and reel.
“I only managed to catch one or two fish in the second period, but I lost three to four key fish and that gave me the confidence that I was doing the right thing,” Sprague continued. “In the third period, with an hour left, the lake slicked off for just a second and the sun came out. I happened to look down and I saw three or four black holes, and there was a bass still on the bed in one of those holes. Now the lightbulb went off again – these fish were still in transition. They’re just finishing up the spawn, but the majority were done and in the postspawn funk.
“Ultimately I was able to see a couple of them and it helped seal the win for me on the round. Now I’ll be able to carry that with me to the Sudden Death Round, especially if we go to another fishery that has a larger population of smallmouth versus largemouth.”
The four anglers advancing to the Sudden Death Round from Elimination Round 2 are:
Eliminated from competition in the 2020 General Tire World Championship Presented by Bass Pro Shops were:
Complete results and photos from the day can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Powroznik caught the Berkley Big Bass of the day – a 4-2 smallmouth that came shallow on a soft plastic.
Overall, there were 103 bass weighing 189-8 caught by the seven pros on the day four Elimination Round of competition on Wabana Lake.
The eight anglers that now advance to the Sudden Death Round of the 2020 MLF General Tire World Championship are:
The 2020 MLF General Tire World Championship in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, is hosted by Visit Grand Rapids.
In MLF General Tire World Championship competition, the full field of 16 pro anglers is split into two groups of eight. The winners of Shotgun Round advance directly to the Sudden Death Round. The remaining seven anglers from each group carried their total weight on to the Elimination Round. The three anglers from each group’s Elimination Round with the highest cumulative two-day weight will advance to the Sudden Death Round – eight anglers total.
During the Sudden Death Round, the eight anglers that advanced from the Shotgun and Elimination Rounds compete to become one of the first six to reach a qualifying weight – determined by MLF officials. The top six anglers then advance to the final Championship Round – where weights are zeroed and the highest total weight at the end of competition wins and will be declared World Champion.
Next week’s episode of the General Tire World Championship will feature the final eight anglers competing in the Sudden Death Round on Turtle Lake in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
The General Tire World Championship Presented by Bass Pro Shops, hosted by Visit Grand Rapids, airs on the Discovery Channel as six, two-hour original episodes each Saturday morning running through November 14, airing from 7 to 9 a.m. EDT. The full television schedule can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com/tv-schedule.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.