New Jersey Pro Catches Five Smallmouth Weighing 29 Pounds, 6 Ounces to Top Knockout Round, Final 10 Pros Set for Championship Sunday Shootout for $100,000
UNION SPRINGS, N.Y. (June 10, 2023) – It was another incredible day of fishing, Saturday, on Cayuga Lake, for the 40 remaining pros competing in the Knockout Round at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Five on Cayuga Lake Presented by ATG by Wrangler. Pro Adrian Avena of Vineland, New Jersey , paced the field, catching 13 scorable smallmouth with his best five weighing a hefty 29 pounds, 6 ounces. Avena’s roommate and traveling partner on tour, reigning Bally Bet Angler of the Year (AOY) Jacob Wheeler looms large in second place just 2 ounces behind Avena with 29-4.
Sure, the 29-pound limits of smallmouth are impressive, but even more impressive this week has been the sheer number of 4-, 5- and 6-pound bass being caught. Fifteen anglers caught a limit weighing greater than 25 pounds, Saturday. The average weight of every fish caught today was just over 4 pounds, 3 ounces. And Avena, a 12-year vet seeking his first career major win, has amassed 76 pounds, 6 ounces of smallmouth over his three days on the water.
“Today was the best smallmouth fishing day of my entire life,” Avena said in his post-game interview. “I caught three 6-pounders. This place is incredible. The flogger has done a lot of damage for me this week, as the big key has been finding the fish well off the bank.
“Another key is using a really fast-action spinning reel,” Avena continued. “Once I drop that flogger and I hook that fish, those smallmouth come straight to the top. I’ve been using a brand new Abu Garcia Revo3 Rocket reel, as it has a super, super-fast gear ratio, and that has been a crucial part of getting those fish in the boat.”
Although he was happy to have the lead, Avena is not at all comfortable with his position, yet.
“I’m definitely going to have to find some new fish tomorrow if I want to win,” Avena said. “I foul-hooked a 5-12 today that I’m hoping I can find tomorrow. I found a 6-6 earlier in the week that’s gone now as well as another 6-pounder that has moved out. There’s fish that are moving out, but also new ones moving in so I hope I can find a big 7-pounder like Wheeler did today. It’s going to be an absolute dog-race, tomorrow.
Qualifying Round winners Spencer Shuffield (28-1) and Kevin VanDam (25-15) also advanced inside the top 10, in third and 10th, respectively. Fourth-place pro David Dudley (27-8) qualified for his second-straight Championship Round appearance, as did Takahiro Omori (26-14) in sixth and Matt Becker (26-2) in ninth.
Tournament weights are stacked up – just 3-pounds, 7-ounces separates Avena in first from VanDam in 10th. Competition resumes Sunday morning with the final-day Championship Round, where weight carries over from the Knockout Round and the angler with the heaviest two-day total will win the top prize of $100,000.
The top 10 pros advancing to Sunday’s Championship Round on Cayuga Lake are:
1st: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., five bass, 29-6
2nd: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., five bass, 29-4
3rd: Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 28-1
4th: David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 27-8
5th: Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, five bass, 27-5
6th: Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan, five bass, 26-14
7th: Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., five bass, 26-11
8th: Alton Jones Jr., Waco, Texas, five bass, 26-8
9th: Matt Becker, Ten Mile, Tenn., five bass, 26-2
10th: Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., five bass, 25-15
Finishing in 11th through 40th are:
11th: Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., five bass, 25-14, $10,000
12th: Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, five bass, 25-11, $10,000
13th: Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., five bass, 25-9, $10,000
14th: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., five bass, 25-6, $10,000
15th: Marty Robinson, Lyman, S.C., five bass, 25-3, $10,000
16th: Alton Jones Sr., Lorena, Texas, five bass, 24-11, $10,000
17th: Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky., five bass, 24-11, $10,000
18th: Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., five bass, 24-8, $10,000
19th: Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., five bass, 24-7, $10,000
20th: Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., five bass, 24-3, $10,000
21st: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., five bass, 23-13, $10,000
22nd: Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., five bass, 23-2, $10,000
23rd: Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., five bass, 23-1, $10,000
24th: Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, five bass, 23-0, $10,000
25th: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., five bass, 22-6, $10,000
26th: Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., five bass, 22-1, $10,000
27th: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., five bass, 21-13, $10,000
28th: Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss., five bass, 21-13, $10,000
29th: Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., five bass, 21-9, $10,000
30th: Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 21-1, $10,000
31st: Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., five bass, 21-0, $10,000
32nd: Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., five bass, 20-9, $10,000
33rd: Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 20-7, $10,000
34th: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., five bass, 20-4, $10,000
35th: Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, five bass, 19-14, $10,000
36th: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 19-9, $10,000
37th: Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., five bass, 19-3, $10,000
38th: Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., five bass, 18-6, $10,000
39th: Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., five bass, 13-0, $10,000
40th: Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., two bass, 8-8, $10,000
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 362 scorable bass weighing 1,522 pounds, 1 ounce caught by the 40 pros Saturday, which included 83 5-pounders, six 6-pounders and one 7-pounder.
Saturday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award went to pro Jacob Wheeler, who caught a 7-pound, 5-ounce smallmouth in Period 1 on a drop-shot rig to earn the payout. 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 the two-day qualifying round, the top 20 anglers from each group advanced to Saturday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round, weights were zeroed, and the remaining 40 anglers competed to finish in the top 10 to advance to the Championship Round. In the Championship Round on Sunday, weight carries over from the Knockout Round and the angler with the heaviest two-day total will win the top prize of $100,000.
The final 10 anglers will launch at 7:30 a.m. ET Sunday from Frontenac Park, located at 15 Creamery Road in Union Springs. The General Tire Takeout will be held at the park beginning at 4 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend the 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 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. 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 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 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.
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