LEESBURG, Fla. (May 22, 2021) – After a back-and-forth battle at the top of the leaderboard during Period 1, Berkley pro Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Florida, surged ahead in Period 2 of the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Three at the Harris Chain Presented by Bass Cat Boats event in Leesburg, Florida. Lane caught a total of 25 bass on Saturday – including a pair of 6-pounders and several 4-pounders – to lead Qualifying Group B with 68 pounds, 4 ounces.
The Lakeland pro ended the day with a 24-pound advantage over second-place pro David Walker of Sevierville, Tennessee, who caught 14 bass weighing 44 pounds, 4 ounces. Pro Keith Poche of Pike Road, Alabama , sits 3 pounds, 12 ounces behind Walker, ending the day in third place with 15 bass weighing 40-8.
The 40 anglers in Group B will have the day off on Sunday, while the 40 anglers in Group A will complete their two-day Qualifying Round of competition. Group B will conclude their Qualifying Round on Monday. The six-day event, hosted by Lake County, features 80 of the top professional anglers from around the world competing for a purse of $805,000, including a top cash prize of $100,000 to the winner.
Ending Period 1 in second place behind Poche, Lane caught a 4-pounder in the middle of Period 2 that moved him to the top of the leaderboard – and he never looked back.
“Today was a lot of hooksets and a lot of fun,” said Lane, 2016 Challenge Cup Champion on the Harris Chain of Lakes. “The wind was my friend and I basically had the whole entire South side of Lake Harris to myself.”
Lane, who never went more than an hour without padding his lead with a scoreable bass, said he caught almost all his fish flipping a Berkley PowerBait Power Hawg with a ½-ounce weight and a 4/0 Berkley Fusion19 hook along grass lines.
“This was one of the best days of flipping I’ve had in a while and the windy conditions were a huge benefit today,” said Lane. “The Berkley Power Hawg is perfect for the grass I’m flipping in and I tied on a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent The General as a back-up when my Power Hawg got hung up.”
Lane said he expects the conditions to change by Monday but he’s excited to have won the first round and to go back out on the water with the security of a 24-pound lead.
“My goal is to get into that Championship Round and I’m going to do whatever I can to make that happen,” said Lane. “If the water is slick and calm like I anticipate, I plan to focus on finding really thick clumps of grass where the fish are hiding in the shade. I may even venture over to the other side of Lake Harris.”
Location didn’t seem to matter much for Walker, who racked up several 4-pounders throughout the day in different areas across the lake.
“The way things were going during that second period had me a little worried, but thankfully I did well in the first and third period,” said Walker. “We’re still in it and we’re doing good – looking forward to getting back out there on Monday.”
The top 20 pros in Qualifying Group B after Day 1 on the Harris Chain of Lakes are:
1st: Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., 25 bass, 68-4
2nd: David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn., 14 bass, 44-4
3rd: Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., 15 bass, 40-8
4th: Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., 14 bass, 36-1
5th: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., 16 bass, 35-10
6th: Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 31-4
7th: John Cox, DeBary, Fla., seven bass, 28-2
8th: Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., 12 bass, 27-5
9th: Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., 11 bass, 27-3
10th: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., nine bass, 27-2
11th: Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 11 bass, 26-10
12th: Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., nine bass, 23-15
13th: Tai Au, Glendale, Ariz., eight bass, 21-0
14th: Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., 10 bass, 20-6
15th: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., eight bass, 20-1
16th: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., four bass, 17-14
17th: Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., six bass, 17-0
18th: Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., eight bass, 16-8
19th: Mike McClelland, Blue Eye, Mo., eight bass, 15-12
20th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., eight bass, 15-6
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 290 bass weighing 747 pounds, 3 ounces caught by the 40 pros on Saturday.
Shryock won Saturday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in an 8-pound, 6-ounce largemouth on a creature bait during Period 3. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler that weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.
The MLF Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Three at the Harris Chain Presented by Bass Cat Boats is hosted by Lake County.
The 40 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day qualifying round on Friday and Sunday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Saturday and Monday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the anglers that finish in 2nd through 20th place from both groups advance to Tuesday’s Knockout Round, while the the winner of each group advances directly to Wednesday’s Championship Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed and the remaining 38 anglers compete to finish in the top 8 to advance to the Championship Round. In the final day Championship Round, weights are zeroed and the highest one-day total wins. Full breakdown of the format can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Anglers will take off from the Venetian Gardens Ski Beach Boat Ramp, located at 201 E. Lake Harris Drive, in Leesburg, at 6:30 a.m. ET each day of competition. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will also be held at the Gardens, beginning at 3:30 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend, but encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The Bass Pro Tour features a field of 76 of the top professional anglers in the world – joined at each event by 4 pros that qualify from the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit – competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, competing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2022 championship.
The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action on all six days of competition from 6:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CT. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Three Presented by Bass Cat Boats at the Harris Chain of Lakes will be showcased across two two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, Sept. 25 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.
For complete details and updated information on 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.
About Major League Fishing
Major League Fishing (MLF) is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, producing more than 250 events annually at some of the most prestigious fisheries in the world, while broadcasting to America’s living rooms on CBS, the Discovery Channel, the Outdoor Channel, CBS Sports Network, the World Fishing Network, the Sportsman Channel and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with offices in Benton, Kentucky, the MLF roster of bass anglers includes the world’s top pros and more than 30,000 competitors in all 50 states and 13 countries. In 2019 MLF acquired FLW and rebranded it as MLF BIG5, which expanded its portfolio of catch, weigh and immediately release events to include the sport’s strongest five-biggest-fish format tournament circuits. Since its founding in 2011, MLF has advanced the sport of competitive fishing through its premier television broadcasts and livestreams, and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for bass through research, education, fisheries enhancement and fish care.
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