Vance Grabs Early Lead at  Stage Four Presented at Lake Eufaula

Indiana pro weighs in 28 pounds, 1 ounce to lead after Day 1 for Group A – Group B begins competition Wednesday EUFAULA, Okla. (April 30, 2024) – If anglers thought they knew what to expect when Lake Eufaula made its Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour debut at MillerTech Stage Four Presented by REDCON1 , Mother Nature made sure to rewrite the script.



In the days prior to Group A’s first day of the qualifying round, a series of spring thunderstorms – which included three separate tornado warnings – dumped rain on the Oklahoma impoundment. As a result, the lake level rose nearly 4 feet from the start of practice to the start of competition; the influx flooding a new swath of shallow cover and muddying large stretches of water.

The seismic shift produced a challenging bite for many of the 39 anglers who took to the water Tuesday. But pro Jason Vance of Battle Ground, Indiana , managed to boat 13 scorable bass totaling 28 pounds, 1 ounce. One of three anglers to top 20 pounds amid the changing conditions, the Indiana pro sits atop SCORETRACKER® in Group A, leading second-place angler Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pennsylvania, by 5-10.

The six-day tournament, hosted by Vision Eufaula , showcases 79 of the top professional anglers in the world, competing for a purse of $659,000, including a top payout of $100,000 and valuable Fishing Clash Angler of the Year (AOY) points in hopes of qualifying for the General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and REDCREST 2025, the Bass Pro Tour championship.


The 39 anglers in Group A will now have an off day from competition Wednesday, while the 40 anglers competing in Group B will begin their first day of competition. Group A will resume competition on Thursday.

Aside from losing his cell phone to the waters of Eufaula shortly after lines out, Tuesday unfolded better than Vance expected. The Bass Pro Tour rookie had sought out clean water during the third and final practice day and found a stretch where he got several bites in a row but struggled to hook up with the fish. When competition began, he figured out how to get those bass to commit.

“I got into some cleaner water, and that’s where I started getting bit, and that was on the last day of practice,” Vance said. “Was I expecting to catch (that total)? No, I wasn’t. But I just got bit really good there.”

One of a handful of anglers in the field with tournament experience on Eufaula, Vance first found his area during last year’s Tackle Warehouse Invitationals event on the fishery. He had to fish around some floating debris, but the water clarity generally held up well amid the lake’s rapid rise – not something that could be said for many areas.

“The water color varied where I was at,” the Bob’s Machine Shop pro said. “There were areas that were dirty and some that were cleaner. But it had a lot of sticks and twigs and stuff that had been blown into the area that I was in.”

Vance centered his strategy on finding the largest population of bass, targeting numbers rather than size. The 13 scorable bass he stacked on SCORETRACKER® were three more than the next-highest total. With bites not easy to come by – only 13 of 39 anglers caught at least five scorable fish – that strategy paid off.

“I’ve been trying to adapt from the five-fish limit to as many as you can catch, so I was just going for as many scorable as I could get,” he said. “That was my whole thought process – I just have to catch keepers.”

With more storms in the forecast, the conditions are sure to continue to change. But Vance is optimistic that his program can continue to produce. Not only did his water stay fairly stable, but he was also able to catch fish behind other anglers Tuesday.

Plus, Vance should have the luxury of getting some in-tournament practice time when Group A returns to the water on Thursday. Seeking his first Knockout Round appearance since joining the Bass Pro Tour, Vance hopes to catch about 15 pounds in the morning then use the rest of the day to explore new water.

“I’m going to power fish in the morning, and then once I feel like I’ve got probably at least 15 pounds, I’m going to lay off of them and go looking for some new areas,” he said. “That’s the strategy. Hopefully it works.”

The top 20 pros in Group A after Day 1 on Lake Eufaula are:

1st:         Jason Vance, Battle Ground, Ind., 13 bass, 28-1
2nd:        Dave Lefebre, Erie, Penn., 10 bass, 22-7
3rd:        Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., seven bass, 20-8
4th:         Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., nine bass, 18-14
5th:         Alton Jones Jr., Waco, Texas, six bass, 17-10
6th:         Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky., five bass, 14-15
7th:         Marshall Robinson, Landrum, S.C., five bass, 13-10
8th:         Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., six bass, 13-10
9th:         Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., four bass, 13-5
10th:      Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., five bass, 12-5
11th:      Matthew Stefan, Junction City, Wis., five bass, 11-5
12th:      Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 10-12
13th:      Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., three bass, 10-7
14th:      Boyd Duckett, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 9-15
15th:      Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., three bass, 9-7
16th:      Justin Cooper, Zwolle, La., five bass, 9-3
17th:      Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., three bass, 9-1
18th:      Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., four bass, 8-14
19th:      Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., three bass, 8-11
20th:      Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., three bass, 8-9

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

Overall, there were 140 scorable bass weighing 348 pounds, 15 ounces caught by 36 pros Thursday, which included one 6-pounder, five 5-pounders, nine 4-pounders and 16 3-pounders.

Jonathon VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, earned Tuesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award after a 6-pound, 8-ounce largemouth bit his drop-shot rig in Period 2. Berkley awards $1,000 to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass each day, and another $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass of the tournament.

The 30 Anglers in Group A compete 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 anglers that finish first through 10th from both groups advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed, and the remaining 20 anglers compete to finish in the top 10 to advance to Sunday’s Championship Round. In the final-day Championship Round, weights are zeroed, and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

Anglers will launch at 7:30 a.m. CT each day from the Peter’s Point-Nichols Point Boat Ramp, located on Dabbs Road in Eufaula. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the boat ramp, 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.

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

On Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. MLF welcomes fans of all ages to visit Peter’s Point-Nichols Point for the MLF Watch Party and Kids Fishing Derby. Fans can watch the pros live on the MLFNOW! big screen, enjoy free food, enter to win hourly giveaways and cheer on their favorite pros. The first 50 kids 14 and under will receive a free rod and reel from Pure Fishing each day. Additional fishing gear will be provided onsite for the fishing derby or kids can bring their own. The final 10 Championship Round Bass Pro Tour anglers will be on hand at the trophy celebration on Championship Sunday to meet and greet fans, sign autographs and take selfies.


The MillerTech Stage Four at Lake Eufaula Presented by REDCON1 features the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, in which anglers catch as much weight as they can each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the SCORETRACKER® leaderboard. The tournament features anglers competing with a 1-pound, 8-ounce minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable. The MLF Fisheries Management Division determines minimum weights for each body of water that the Bass Pro Tour visits, based on the productivity, bass population and anticipated average size of fish in each fishery.

The Bass Pro Tour features a field of 79 of the top professional anglers in the world, competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2025 championship.

The 79 anglers taking on Lake Eufaula this week aren’t just battling for a first-place trophy and $100,000 payday. Valuable points in the Fishing Clash Angler of the Year race are also up for grabs. The winner of the season-long competition will take home an additional $100,000 check.

Fishing Clash, an interactive 3D fishing simulation game that’s played by more than 80 million people worldwide, is the official AOY sponsor of the Bass Pro Tour, Tackle Warehouse Invitationals, Toyota Series and Phoenix Bass Fishing League. You can download Fishing Clash for free in the App Store and on Google Play or log on to www.fishingclash.game for more information.

Television coverage of the MillerTech Stage Four at Lake Eufaula Presented by REDCON1 Knockout Round will air as a two-hour episode starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Oct. 12 on Discovery, with the Championship Round premiering on Oct. 19. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, with re-airings on Outdoor Channel.





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, Discovery Channel, Outdoor Channel, CBS Sports Network, 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 17 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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