Ehrler Advances to Championship Round, Lucas Boats $25K Big Bass at Major League Fishing’s General Tire Heavy Hitters

California Pro Weighs Two-Day Total of 11 Bass for 47 Pounds, 5 Ounces to Top Group B, 14 Anglers Set for Friday’s Knockout Round

MONROE-WEST MONROE, La. (April 27, 2023)Redlands, California pro Brent Ehrler caught five scorable bass totaling 27 pounds, 14 ounces, to win the Qualifying Round for Group B and advance straight to the Championship Round at the Major League Fishing (MLF) General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops . Ehrler’s two-day total of 11 bass weighing 47 pounds, 5 ounces, earned him the win by a slim 7-ounce margin over Day 1 leader pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tennessee, who finished the round in second place with 46-14.

The six-day all-star event, hosted by Discover Monroe-West Monroe and the Louisiana Office of Tourism, showcases the top 30 pros that qualified via the Bass Pro Tour competing in a no-entry fee tournament for a purse of more than $500,000, including numerous massive Big Bass Bonuses and a payout of $100,000 to the winner.

Link to Hi-Res Photo of Group B Qualifying Round Winner Brent Ehrler
Link to Photo Gallery of Group B Qualifying Round Day 2 Afternoon Highlights
Link to Video of Fish-Catch Highlights from Group B Day 2 on Caney Creek Reservoir

Pro Dustin Connell of Clanton, Alabama, finished the day in third place with a two-day total of nine bass weighing 36-11, while pro Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tennessee, who started day in second place, fell to fourth with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 35 pounds, 12 ounces. Alabama pro Randy Howell rounds out the top five with nine bass weighing 33 pounds, 9 ounces.

With the Qualifying Round now complete, the anglers that finished in 2nd through 8th place from each group advance to Friday’s Knockout Round. The Knockout Round will feature 14 anglers competing to finish in the top eight. Saturday’s Championship Round will feature Group A Qualifying Round winner Bryan Thrift, Ehrler and the top eight anglers from the Knockout Round competing in a final-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000 along with the $100,000 Berkley Big Bass Bonus.

“Oh my goodness, what a day,” Ehrler said in his post-game interview. “I guess I just made the right decisions. I can’t believe that I was able to hold on today, though, I can’t believe Andy (Morgan) stumbled like that. He is such a good fisherman and my hat is off to him. This is not what I thought was going to happen today. I thought that if I had a good day I could go out and catch just enough to make the Knockout Round and fish here again. But man, to do what I did today and have Andy stumble, it had to take both of those things to happen. I’m truly blessed to have this happen today.”

A Yamamoto Senko has been the key bait for Ehrler so far, this week.

“The week, for me, was really all about the Yamamoto Senko,” Ehrler said. “I caught a few on a drop-shot, but most everything came on that Senko. Mainly a neko-rig, with a Gamakatsu Weedless Stinger hook that I designed specifically for throwing on a wacky rig and a neko rig. with an Ark Tungsten nail weight.

“My bread and butter for any kind of spinning stuff is my Daiwa Tatula Elite drop-shot rod,” Ehrler continued. “It’s a medium-action rod, but it’s multi-purpose – I use it for everything. I use it for a wacky rig, I use it for a shaky-head rig. I use it for a drop-shot rig. It does everything. I use it with a (Daiwa) Tatula LT 4000 reel, with 12-pound Sunline braided line and an 8-pound Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon (leader). I caught every fish that I weighed in this tournament on this setup.”

Pro Justin Lucas of Guntersville, Alabama, struggled for most of the day and did not advance to the Knockout Round, but still walked away from the event a big winner. Lucas caught an 8-pound, 5-ounce largemouth in Period 3 – the largest bass of the two-day Group B Qualifying Round – and won the $25,000 Qualifying Round Group B Big Bass Bonus. Another prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the heaviest fish landed Friday in the Knockout Round, and $100,000 will be awarded for the single biggest fish in Saturday’s Championship Round.

“I’ve never been this happy missing a cut before, I can tell you that,” Lucas joked in his post-game interview. “I only caught one fish today, but it was a big one. I caught it on a drop-shot in 8 feet of water, in some standing timber. I couldn’t see it on the graph – I just threw out into the timber and picked up (my line) and she was taking off. It was a fight. She was dogging it pretty good through the wood, but the Berkley Trilene came through.

“I’ve never caught one bass that was worth that much, so this is really cool,” Lucas went on to say.

The top eight pros from Qualifying Group B that now advance to Friday’s Knockout Round on Caney Creek Reservoir are:

1st: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 11 bass, 47-5 – ADVANCES TO CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
2nd: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 14 bass, 46-14
3rd: Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., nine bass, 36-11
4th: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., 10 bass, 35-12
5th: Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala., nine bass, 33-9
6th: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., 10 bass, 31-9
7th: Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., eight bass, 31-7
8th: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., six bass, 29-15

Finishing the event in 9th through 15th place are:

9th: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 21-15
10th: Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, six bass, 17-14
11th: Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., four bass, 16-7
12th: Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., five bass, 15-11
13th: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., four bass, 12-8
14th: Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., one bass, 7-12
15th: Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., three bass, 7-10

Full results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 48 bass weighing 181 pounds, 9 ounces even caught by 14 pros on Thursday, which included one 8-pounder, three 7-pounders and one six 6-pounder 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 competed in their two-day qualifying round on Monday and Wednesday – the 15 anglers in Group B on Tuesday and Thursday. Now that each two-day qualifying round is complete, the anglers that finish in 2nd through 8th place from both groups advance to Friday’s Knockout Round, while the winner of each group advances directly to Saturday’s Championship Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed and the remaining 14 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. 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.

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