Michigan Pro Boats Two-Day Total of 52-7 To Pace Group A Field, Top 20 Pros Advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round

UNION SPRINGS, N.Y. (June 8, 2023) – Bass Pro Tour angler Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, caught eight scorable bass Thursday, with his best five going for 24 pounds, 6 ounces. VanDam’s two-day total of 10 bass weighing 52 pounds, 7 ounces was enough to best the 39 other anglers in Group A and win the Qualifying Round for Group A at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Five on Cayuga Lake Presented by ATG by Wrangler.

Link to Hi-Res Photo of Qualifying Group A Winner Kevin VanDam
Link to HD Video – Fish-Catch Highlights of Group A Qualifying Round Day 2 on Cayuga Lake
Link to Photo Gallery of Group A’s Day 2 Qualifying Round Afternoon Highlights

“So far, the tournament is going real well for me,” VanDam said in his post-game interview. “I feel like today was a productive day. I knew that I’d have to catch a good limit to move on to the Knockout Round, so I was able to do that early and then spend the rest of the day moving around trying to find more fish.”

Like Day 1 on Tuesday, VanDam caught the majority of his weight early sight-fishing with a drop-shot rig.

“When I put 28-1 on the scales, it opened everybody’s eyes that first day and it got a lot of people sight-fishing for smallmouth (today) that didn’t the first day. And some of those guys ended up getting in(to the Knockout Round). I think the majority of the field will likely be fishing for smallmouth, and probably in very similar sections of the lake. So the Knockout Round is going to be the real challenging day.

“I know I’m just going to have to execute,” VanDam continued. “The history that I have fishing for smallmouth this time of year definitely gives me a lot of confidence. I’ve got a lot of fish located, I’ve covered a whole lot of water, and I feel like I’ve got a really good gameplan. It’s going to come down to getting a couple of those bigger bites – it’s going to take a lot of weight just to make the Championship Round. We’ll see what happens, I’m looking forward to it.”

VanDam’s weight was 2 pounds heavier than his nearest competitor, pro Jared Lintner of Covington, Georgia, who finished the round in second place with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 50-7. Googan Baits pro Dustin Connell of Clanton, Alabama, boated a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 49-5 to end the round in third place, while Hot Springs, Arkansas’ Dylan Hays , finished the day in fourth place with a two-day total of 10 bass for 49-5. Reigning Bally Bet Angler of the Year (AOY) Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tennessee, rounded out the top five with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 46-8.

The top 20 anglers from Group A will now have an off day from competition Friday, while the 40 anglers competing in Group B will complete their two-day Qualifying Round. The top 20 anglers from each group will advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed, and the remaining 40 anglers compete to finish in the top 10 to advance to the Championship Round. In Sunday’s final day Championship Round, weight carries over from the Knockout Round and the angler with the heaviest two-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

The top 20 pros from Group A that now advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round on Cayuga Lake are:

1st:        Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 10 bass, 52-7
2nd:       Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., 10 bass, 50-7
3rd:       Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 10 bass, 49-5
4th:        Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 47-2
5th:        Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., 10 bass, 46-8
6th:        Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., 10 bass, 46-6
7th:        Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky., 10 bass, 45-5
8th:        Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss., 10 bass, 44-12
9th:        Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 10 bass, 44-9
10th:     Alton Jones Sr., Lorena, Texas, 10 bass, 44-5
11th:     Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 10 bass, 43-2
12th:     Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., 10 bass, 42-13
13th:     Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 10 bass, 42-11
14th:     Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, 10 bass, 42-8
15th:     Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., 10 bass, 41-15
16th:     Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., 10 bass, 41-6
17th:     Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., 10 bass, 41-2
18th:     Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., 10 bass, 41-2
19th:     Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 40-15
20th:     Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 10 bass, 40-12

Eliminated from competition are:

21st:      Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 10 bass, 40-4
22nd:    Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., 10 bass, 40-0
23rd:     Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., 10 bass, 40-0
24th:     Russ Lane, Prattville, Ala., 10 bass, 39-12
25th:     Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., 10 bass, 39-1
26th:     John Hunter, Shelbyville, Ky., 10 bass, 37-12
27th:     Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, 10 bass, 37-11
28th:     John Murray, Spring City, Tenn., 10 bass, 37-1
29th:     Tommy Biffle, Wagoner, Okla., 10 bass, 36-11
30th:     Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., 10 bass, 36-5
31st:      Gary Klein, Mingus, Texas, 10 bass, 36-3
32nd:    Nick LeBrun, Bossier City, La., 10 bass, 35-12
33rd:     Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 35-9
34th:     James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., 10 bass, 35-4
35th:     Jacob Wall, New Hope, Ala., 10 bass, 33-9
36th:     Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., nine bass, 33-5
37th:     Shinichi Fukae, Osaka, Japan, 10 bass, 31-3
38th:     Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., eight bass, 23-12
39th:     Matt Lee, Cullman, Ala., seven bass, 22-15
40th:     Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla., eight bass, 21-10

A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 317 scorable bass weighing 1,122 pounds, 7 ounces caught by the 40 pros Thursday, which included 35 5-pounders, three 6-pounders and one 7-pounder.

Lintner caught the largest five-bass weight on the day – 27 pounds, 4 ounces – and he also earned Thursday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award with a 7-pound, 2-ounce smallmouth bass that he caught on a drop-shot rig – the second-largest smallmouth ever weighed in Bass Pro Tour history. Berkley awards $1,000 to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass each day, and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass of the tournament.

The six-day bass-fishing event showcases 80 of the top professional anglers in the world, competing for a purse of more than $805,000, including a top payout of $100,000 and valuable Angler of the Year (AOY) points in hopes of qualifying for the General Tire Heavy Hitters All-Star event and REDCREST 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship.

The 40 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Tuesday and Thursday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Wednesday and Friday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the top 20 anglers from each group advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed, and the remaining 40 anglers compete to finish in the top 10 to advance to the Championship Round. In Sunday’s final day Championship Round, weight carries over from the Knockout Round and the angler with the heaviest two-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

Anglers will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. ET each day from Frontenac Park, located at 15 Creamery Road in Union Springs. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the park beginning at 4 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all launch and takeout events and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLFNOW! live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

As part of the event, on Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11 the MLF Fan Experience will be taking place at Bass Pro Shops, located at 1579 Clark Street Road in Auburn, New York, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. MLF will welcome fans of all ages to celebrate fishing and the outdoors. Fans can hang out and watch the pros live on the MLFNOW! big screen during the MLF Watch Party. On Sunday at 5 p.m., the final 10 Championship Round Bass Pro Tour anglers will be on hand for the trophy celebration and to meet and greet fans, sign autographs, and take selfies.

The Favorite Fishing Stage Five at Cayuga Lake Presented by ATG by Wrangler features pros competing using the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, with each angler’s five (5) heaviest bass per day tallied as their day’s weight. Anglers strive to catch their heaviest five fish each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the live scoring SCORETRACKER® leaderboard. Minimum weights are determined individually for each competition waters that the Bass Pro Tour visits, based on the productivity, bass population and anticipated average size of fish in each fishery.

The 2023 MLF Bass Pro Tour features a field of 80 of the top professional anglers in the world competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, fishing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and REDCREST 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship, held March 13-17, 2024, on Lay Lake in Birmingham, Alabama.

The MLFNOW! broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action live on all six days of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. MLFNOW!  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

Television coverage of the Favorite Fishing Stage Five at Cayuga Lake Presented by ATG by Wrangler will air as two, two-hour episodes starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 28 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, with re-airings on the Outdoor Channel.

Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, Ark Fishing, ATG + Wrangler, B&W Trailer Hitches, Bally Bet, Bass Cat Boats, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, Daiwa, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Ferguson, Fox Rent A Car, General Tire, Grundéns, Humminbird, Lowrance, Minn Kota, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Power-Pole, Rapala, Star tron, T-H Marine, TORO, Toyota, U.S. Air Force, Yellowstone Bourbon, Yo-Zuri and Zoom Baits.

For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the Bass Pro Tour, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at FacebookTwitter,  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 and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). Headquartered 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. 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.