Former Rodeo Bullfighter Takes 5-Pound, 2-Ounce Lead into Second Day of Competition Wednesday

Former Rodeo Bullfighter Takes 5-Pound, 2-Ounce Lead into Second Day of Competition Wednesday APPLING, Ga. (Feb. 28, 2023) – The second Major League Fishing (MLF) Tackle Warehouse Invitational event of the season kicked off this morning at Clarks Hill Lake in Appling, Georgia, and the fishery absolutely showed out. More than 30 pros caught a five-bass limit in excess of 14 pounds, and six pros caught limits weighing more than 17 pounds. However, after all of the fish had been weighed and the scales settled, an angler many consider to be the hottest in the country had jumped out to a Texas-sized lead.


Pro Dakota Ebare of Brookeland, Texas, crossed the stage Tuesday with a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 13 ounces, to grab the early lead on Day 1 of the MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational Toyota Stop 2 at Clarks Hill Lake Presented by Lowrance. Ebare now holds a 5-pound,2-ounce lead over Huntsville, Arkansas’ Travis Harriman, who caught five bass weighing 18-11.

The full field of 150 anglers will conclude the two-day opening round on Wednesday, with only the top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advancing to Championship Thursday. The three-day tournament, hosted by the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Thomson-McDuffie County Convention & Visitors Bureau, features a roster of 150 anglers competing for a top prize of up to $115,000 and an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2024.

Although Ebare was predictably mum about a lot of the key details on his big day, he did say that he caught 30 to 40 keepers and that he thinks he can have a similar day tomorrow.

“Today was a little better than I expected,” said Ebare, a former College Fishing angler for Tarleton State University. “I was expecting to go out there and catch some fish and have a good day, but I had a couple of really big bites and it turned out to be a great day. I caught them from every branch (of the lake) that you could possibly catch them in. I did a lot of different stuff and just bounced around. I caught some out, caught some up, and just kept an open mind for the day. I had a lot of fun and just went fishing.

“The deepest I caught one was 30 feet, and the shallowest I caught one was one foot,” Ebare continued. “I was all over, just keeping an open mind. And that’s what we’re going to do tomorrow, just go out and have a good time again, and we’ll see where we end up.”

Ebare has been on an absolute tear on the water over the last 12 months. He finished sixth or better in the final six events of the season on the Bass Pro Tour and Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, including 2nd-place finishes at the James River and at the Pro Circuit TITLE Championship on the St. Lawrence River. He carried the momentum into 2023, earning his first career win at a Toyota Series event on Sam Rayburn last month. Now, with a 5-pound lead in this event, Ebare said the key to his success has been giving the glory to God and just having fun.

“That (Toyota Series) win took off a lot of stress,” Ebare said. “It’s a huge relief to not have to worry about if it’s going to happen, and now I just get to go fishing and have fun.

“It’s just been a blessing and I am very thankful. God has blessed me so much, and I just want to keep having fun and glorifying him. I think that is the most important thing and been the biggest attribute to my success – keeping an open mind and having fun.”

The top 20 pros after Day 1 on Clarks Hill Lake are:

1st: Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, five bass, 23-13
2nd: Travis Harriman, Huntsville, Ark., five bass, 18-11
3rd: Drew Boggs, Lebanon, Tenn., five bass, 18-9
4th: Keith Carson, DeBary, Fla., five bass, 18-1
5th: Scotty Villines, Ponca, Ark., five bass, 17-6
6th: Sean Anderson, Leesville, S.C., five bass, 17-3
7th: Martin Villa, Charlottesville, Va., five bass, 17-1
8th: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., five bass, 17-0
9th: Cole Breeden, Lebanon, Mo., five bass, 16-15
10th: Tristan McCormick, Burns, Tenn., five bass, 16-11
11th: Cody Petit, Arundel, Maine, five bass, 16-10
11th: Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 16-10
11th: Cal Lane, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 16-10
14th: Colby Schrumpf, Highland, Ill., five bass, 16-9
15th: Spike Stoker, Cisco, Texas, five bass, 16-8
16th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 16-4
17th: Chad Mrazek, Montgomery, Texas, five bass, 16-3
18th: Tyler Stewart, Dubach, La., five bass, 16-2
19th: John Cox, DeBary, Fla., five bass, 16-1
20th: Jacopo Gallelli, Florence, Italy, five bass, 15-12

Complete results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Pro Cole Breeden of Lebanon, Missouri, earned Tuesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass award with a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces.

Overall, there were 724 bass weighing 1,733 pounds, 4 ounces caught by 149 pros Tuesday. The catch included 140 five-bass limits.

In MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational competition, the full field of 150 anglers compete in the two-day opening round on Tuesday and Wednesday in a traditional five-fish, weigh-in format. Only the top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight will advance to the final round on Championship Thursday, where they will compete for the grand prize of up to $115,000, including the lucrative $35,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus for qualified anglers. The winner of the MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational Toyota Stop 2 at Clarks Hill Lake Presented by Lowrance will be determined by the heaviest three-day cumulative weight and will receive an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2024.

Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. ET, each day, from Wildwood Park, located at 6212 Holloway Road in Appling. Weigh-ins will also be held at the park beginning at 3 p.m. each day. Fans are welcome to attend the event or follow the live on-the-water action all three days of competition online on MLF NOW! beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action on all three days of competition from 7:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

The MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational Stop 1 at Clarks Hill Lake will also feature a two-hour television broadcast that will premiere on the CBS Sports Network on Saturday, Oct. 7.

Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitationals include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Favorite Fishing, Fox Rent a Car, General Tire, Grundéns, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix Boats, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Wiley X and YETI.

For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals on the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook, 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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