LEESBURG, Fla. (May 21, 2021) – Pro Brett Hite of Phoenix, Arizona, dominated the field on Friday, catching 34 bass totaling a staggering 83 pounds, 5 ounces, to grab the early lead in Qualifying Group A on Day 1 of the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Three at the Harris Chain Presented by Bass Cat Boats event. The six-day tournament, hosted by Lake County, features 80 of the top professional anglers from around the world competing for a purse of $805,000, including a top cash prize of $100,000 to the winner.
Hite will bring a commanding 40-pound, 9-ounce, lead into the second day of competition for Group A on Sunday, nearly doubling the weight of the second-place angler. Toro pro Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kansas, who ran neck-in-neck with Hite during Period 1, caught 16 bass weighing 42-12 to end the day in second place, while Alabama pro Boyd Duckett of Guntersville sits in third place, 3 pounds back of Chapman with 16 bass weighing 39-12.
The 40 anglers in Group A will now enjoy a day off Saturday, while the 40 anglers in Group B will begin their first day of competition. Group A resumes competition on Sunday.
Hite was in the same general area throughout the day as several other pros, yet he put on a ChatterBait clinic, shooting ahead on the SCORETRACKER® early in Period 2.
“I’m in awe of the day – this is one of the type of days that you dream about,” said Hite. “I found a massive area with a lot of fish during practice. I’m fishing the way I love to fish, catching plenty of fish and a bunch of big ones.
“It really came down to two different ChatterBait Jack Hammers that were the bread and butter for me,” continued Hite. “A BHite Delight-colored ½-ounce with a metal blade and a green pumpkin-colored Yamamoto Zako as well as a ½-ounce Jack Hammer StealthBlade with a Yamamoto Zako trailer.”
Hite said both baits had seen their fair share of action throughout the day.
“This bait looks like it should after a full day – all beat up, with teeth marks and paint coming off – that’s the mark of a good day,” said Hite. “I caught a lot of fish, and an 8-pounder on that ChatterBait. I’m really looking forward to going fishing on Sunday and hopefully making that Championship Round.”
Chapman was also thrilled with his Day 1 results, taking advantage of his lead later in the day to practice and learn more about the water he’s fishing. That practice resulted in three additional fish in the third and final period and a second-place finish.
“To catch that many scoreable bass in a day is just phenomenal,” said Chapman. “I’m familiar with this fishery, but not at this time of year, so I wasn’t really sure how it would fish. I’m really happy with how my practice went this week and it really paid off today.”
The top 20 pros in Group A after Day 1 on the Harris Chain of Lakes are:
1st: Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., 34 bass, 83-5
2nd: Brent Chapman, Lake Quivira, Kan., 16 bass, 42-12
3rd: Boyd Duckett, Guntersville, Ala., 16 bass, 39-12
4th: Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, 15 bass, 37-15
5th: Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, 12 bass, 32-14
6th: Paul Elias, Laurel, Miss., 13 bass, 32-13
7th: James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., 15 bass, 32-7
8th: Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 13 bass, 31-11
9th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 13 bass, 30-0
10th: Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 11 bass, 28-12
11th: Kyle Hall, Granbury, Texas, 13 bass, 26-6
12th: Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., 11 bass, 25-8
13th: Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., seven bass, 25-0
14th: Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., eight bass, 24-3
15th: Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, 10 bass, 24-0
16th: Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 10 bass, 22-0
17th: Shin Fukae, Thomson, Ga., 10 bass, 20-0
18th: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., nine bass, 19-4
19th: Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, Calif., eight bass, 17-5
20th: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., seven bass, 15-12
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 332 bass weighing 797 pounds, 14 ounces caught by 38 pros on Friday.
Britt Myers won Friday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in a 9-pound, 8-ounce largemouth on a bladed jig during Period 2. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler that weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.
The MLF Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Three at the Harris Chain Presented by Bass Cat Boats is hosted by Lake County.
The 40 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day qualifying round on Friday and Sunday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Saturday and Monday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the anglers that finish in 2nd through 20th place from both groups advance to Tuesday’s Knockout Round, while the winner of each group advances directly to Wednesday’s Championship Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed and the remaining 38 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. Full breakdown of the format can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Anglers will take off from the Venetian Gardens Ski Beach Boat Ramp, located at 201 E. Lake Harris Drive, in Leesburg, at 6:30 a.m. ET each day of competition. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will also be held at the Gardens, beginning at 3:30 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend, but encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The Bass Pro Tour features a field of 76 of the top professional anglers in the world – joined at each event by 4 pros that qualify from the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit – competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, competing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2022 championship.
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 6:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CT. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Three Presented by Bass Cat Boats at the Harris Chain of Lakes will be showcased across two two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, Sept. 25 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.
For complete details and updated information on 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, the Sportsman Channel and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with offices 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. In 2019 MLF acquired FLW and rebranded it as MLF BIG5, which expanded its portfolio of catch, weigh and immediately release events to include the sport’s strongest five-biggest-fish format tournament circuits. 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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