Alton Jones, Jr. Leads after Day 1 of Major League Fishing’s General Tire Heavy Hitters on Caney Creek Reservoir

MONROE-WEST MONROE, La. (April 24, 2023) – As on-the-water reporter Rob Newell stated at the end of competition Monday, it was a day of feast or famine on Day 1 of the fourth-annual Major League Fishing (MLF) General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops. The anglers at the top of the leaderboard feasted, as numerous 6-, 7- and 9-pounders were weighed in. The anglers at the bottom of the leaderboard really struggled, and some big names in the sport were left with a bit of a hole to dig out of on Wednesday.

After the final bass had been logged into SCORETRACKER, pro Alton Jones, Jr., of Waco, Texas, held the early lead after Day 1 with nine scorable bass weighing 33 pounds, 14 ounces. REDCREST 2023 Champion Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina, held the lead for an extended period of time Monday, but was eclipsed by Jones in the third period. Thrift weighed in six scorable bass totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces, to end the day in second place.

Pro Dakota Ebare of Brookeland, Texas, caught the heaviest bass of the day Monday – a beautiful largemouth that weighed 9 pounds, 5 ounces that came on a weightless wacky rig in Period 3. If Ebare’s fish remains the largest bass weighed by Group A after the conclusion of the two-day Qualifying Round on Wednesday, he will take home a $25,000 Big Bass Bonus. Big Bass Bonuses are awarded throughout the competition, with payouts of $25,000, $50,000 and $100,000 being awarded for the single biggest fish in the Qualifying, Knockout and Championship rounds.

Link to Hi-Res Photo of Day 1 Leader Alton Jones, Jr.
Link to Photo Gallery of Day 1 Highlights
Link to Video of Fish-Catch Highlights from Day 1 on Caney Creek Reservoir

The 15 anglers in Group A will now have the day off Tuesday, while the 15 anglers in Group B will begin their Day 1 Qualifying Round. Group A will complete their two-day Qualifying Round of competition on Wednesday.

Jones began the day as the first boat out from launch, which helped him get a prime position on the lake that was highly sought after.

“There was actually about five of us starting on one spot in about 20 feet of water,” Jones said. “I was able to catch four off that spot that got me going before I decided to move on to something else.”

That something else was moving up shallow among the boat docks on Caney Creek. With the sun shining bright and not much wind to speak of, the conditions were picture-perfect for Jones to sight-fish with a Geecrack Bellows Shad. The Texas pro had one bed fish already located from practice, but he quickly discovered a few more.

“I don’t think a lot of guys are sight-fishing right now, so it was cool to get to do that today,” Jones said. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to see as well as I did today on Wednesday, so I’m glad I was able to get some sight-fishing in today. The fish are hard to see, but the conditions allowed me to find some today.”

The standings for the 15 pros from Qualifying Group A after Day 1 on Caney Creek Reservoir are:

1st: Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, nine bass, 33-14
2nd: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., six bass, 30-2
3rd: Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., six bass, 25-12
4th: Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky., six bass, 24-15
5th: Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, five bass, 22-9
6th: Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 18-15
7th: Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., four bass, 16-1
8th: Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., three bass, 9-9
9th: Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., two bass, 8-1
10th: Alton Jones, Sr., Lorena, Texas, three bass, 7-12
11th: Gary Klein, Mingus, Texas, two bass, 5-8
12th: Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., one bass, 4-12
13th: Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., one bass, 3-2
14th: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., one bass, 2-12
15th: Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., one bass, 2-6

Full results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 55 bass weighing 216 pounds, 2 ounces caught by the 15 pros on Monday, which included one 9-pounder, one 7-pounder and six 6-pounders caught from Caney Creek Reservoir.

Different from the Bass Pro Tour regular-season events, General Tire Heavy Hitters features anglers competing using the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format in which anglers catch as many scorable bass and as much weight as they can each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the SCORETRACKER® leaderboard. A bass must meet the 2-pound minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable in the Qualifying and Knockout Rounds, but for the final day Championship Round a bass must weigh at least 3 pounds to be deemed scorable.

The 15 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day qualifying round on Monday and Wednesday – the 15 anglers in Group B on Tuesday and Thursday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the top eight anglers from both groups advance to Thursday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round weights are zeroed, and the remaining 16 anglers compete to finish in the top 10 to advance to the Championship Round. In Saturday’s final day Championship Round, weights carry over from the Knockout Round and the highest two-day total wins. In addition to the tournament, Big Bass Bonuses are awarded in each round of competition with payouts of $25,000, $50,000 and $100,000 awarded to the single biggest fish in the Qualifying, Knockout and Championship rounds.

Anglers will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. CT. The Qualifying and Knockout Rounds, Days 1-5, will launch from Caney Creek Hooks Marina, located at 400 Spillway Road in Chatham, Louisiana. The final 10 anglers competing in the Championship Round will launch from Bonner Ferry Road, located five miles northwest of Bastrop off of Highway 593. Fans are welcome to attend all launch and takeout events and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

On Championship Saturday, April 29, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. MLF will welcome fans of all ages to visit the Bussey Brake boat ramp located at 5373 Boat Dock Road in Bastrop, to celebrate the top 10 and crown the 2023 General Tire Heavy Hitters Champion at the Watch Party and Trophy Presentation. The final 10 Heavy Hitters Championship Round Bass Pro Tour anglers will be on hand at the trophy celebration to meet and greet fans, sign autographs, and take selfies.

To qualify for General Tire Heavy Hitters, the weight of an angler’s single-largest bass from each event of the seven 2022 Bass Pro Tour events was recorded. The 30 anglers with the heaviest total from those seven bass qualified to compete in this event.

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 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

Television coverage of the General Tire Heavy Hitters 2023 Presented by Bass Pro Shops will be showcased across six two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, Aug. 5 and running each Saturday through Sept. 9 on Discovery. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.

Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF General Tire Heavy Hitters Event include: Abu Garcia, B&W Hitches, Bally Bet, Bass Cat Boats, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Builders First Source, , Ferguson, Fox Rent A Car, General Tire, Kubota, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, NITRO Boats, Onyx, Phoenix Boats, Plano, Power-Pole, Shore Lunch, StarBrite, Sqwincher, T-H Marine, Toyota, United States Airforce, Yellowstone Bourbon, and YETI.

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.

Major League Fishing – WE ARE Bass Fishing™

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