PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (Aug. 8, 2021) – It was a back-and-forth battle at the top for pretty much the entire third period Sunday between pros Brandon Coulter of Knoxville, Tennessee, and Berkley pro Justin Lucas of Guntersville, Alabama, at the Toyota Stage Six at Lake Champlain Presented by Googan Baits in Plattsburgh, New York.
The duo traded the lead back and forth five times during Period 3, before Lucas boated a 3-pound, 13-ounce smallmouth with 60 minutes left in the round to pull away and win the two-day Qualifying Round for Group B. Lucas’ two-day total of 31 bass weighing 101 pounds, 10 ounces earned him the victory by a slim 9-ounce margin over Coulter and advances him directly into Tuesday’s final-day Championship Round of competition.
Coulter caught a two-day total of 41 bass weighing 101 pounds, 1 ounce to finish the day in second place. In third place on the SCORETRACKER® leaderboard is Academy Sports + Outdoors pro Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tennessee, who caught 32 bass weighing 89-14. Hot Springs, Arkansas’ Stephen Browning, who caught a two-day total of 29 bass totaling 82-13, and Polaris pro David Dudley of Lynchburg Virginia , who boated 28 bass weighing 79-6 rounded out the top five finishers in the round.
The remaining 35 anglers – 16 from Group A and 19 from Group B – will now compete Monday in the Knockout Round, where weights are zeroed, and the anglers compete to finish in the top eight to advance to Championship Wednesday. Tuesday’s Championship Round will feature Group A winner Matt Lee, Group B winner Justin Lucas, and the top eight anglers from the Knockout Round competing in a final-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000.
“That was a hard fight and was a lot of fun. I can’t believe we won it, honestly,” Lucas said in his post-game interview. “I felt like things weren’t really going our way, today, but I ended up catching more fish than the first day. And to win by just 9 ounces – that was insane.”
Like Friday, the majority of Lucas’ catch on Sunday came from drop-shotting deep-water smallmouth.
“I caught two key fish on a swimbait today, and 16 more on a Berkley (PowerBait Max Scent) Flat Worm,” Lucas said. “I worked my fricking butt off. I am beat bad, and I am really looking to a day off. I’ve got to get my stuff together, it’s a disaster right now.”
The top 19 pros from Qualifying Group A that now advance to Monday’s Knockout Round on Lake Champlain are:
1st: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., 31 bass, 101-10 – ADVANCES DIRECTLY TO CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
2nd: Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., 41 bass, 101-1
3th: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., 32 bass, 89-14
4th: Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., 29 bass, 82-13
5th: David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 28 bass, 79-6
6rd: Jeff Sprague, Point, Texas, 28 bass, 77-9
7th: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., 24 bass, 76-3
8th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 23 bass, 73-1
9th: Kelly Jordon, Flint, Texas, 23 bass, 66-8
10th: Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., 20 bass, 64-1
11th: Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., 21 bass, 62-5
12th: Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, 21 bass, 60-12
13th: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 18 bass, 58-10
14th: Russ Lane, Prattville, Ala., 20 bass, 58-1
15th: Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., 21 bass, 55-13
16th: Boyd Duckett, Guntersville, Ala., 18 bass, 54-5
17th: Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., 18 bass, 50-12
18th: Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 18 bass, 50-3
19th: Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., 18 bass, 49-9
20th: Alton Jones Jr., Waco, Texas, 17 bass, 49-1
Finishing in 21st through 39th in the Group B Qualifying Round were:
21st: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., 17 bass, 49-0
22nd: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., 16 bass, 46-2
23rd: Roy Hawk, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 14 bass, 42-6
24th: Cliff Crochet, Pierre Part, La., 14 bass, 42-0
25th: Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, 13 bass, 38-10
26th: Shaw Grigsby, Gainesville, Fla., 14 bass, 38-4
27th: Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 13 bass, 38-2
28th: Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., 11 bass, 34-12
29th: Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, 13 bass, 34-8
30th: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., 12 bass, 33-8
31st: Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla., 12 bass, 32-5
32nd: Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., 13 bass, 31-3
33rd: Ricky Robinson, Greenback, Tenn., 11 bass, 31-3
34th: Justin Cooper, Zwolle, La., 11 bass, 29-14
35th: Paul Elias, Laurel, Miss., 10 bass, 29-12
36th: Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 10 bass, 27-6
37th: Marty Robinson, Lyman, S.C., 10 bass, 26-2
38th: Ish Monroe, Oakdale, Calif., 10 bass, 25-0
39th: Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky., seven bass, 24-12
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 380 bass weighing 1,097 pounds, 10 ounces caught by the 39 pros on Sunday.
Kelly Jordon won Sunday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award with a 5-pound, 9-ounce bass that came on a frog during Period 1. Berkley awards $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 Toyota Stage Six at Lake Champlain Presented by Googan Baits is hosted by the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau and the City of Plattsburgh.
MLF announced earlier this week that the normal 80-angler Bass Pro Tour field would be reduced to 73 for this event, as seven anglers withdrew from competition for undisclosed reasons. After consulting with the MLF Angler Advisory Board, a slight change was made to the Qualifying Round Toro Cut Lines due to the unbalanced angler groupings.
The 34 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Lake Champlain on Thursday and Saturday – the 39 anglers in Group B on Friday and Sunday. Now that each two-day qualifying round is complete, the anglers that finish in 2nd through 17th place from Group A (50% of field) and 2nd through 20th place from Group B (50% of field) advance to Monday’s Knockout Round, while the winner of each group advances directly to Tuesday’s Championship Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed and the remaining 35 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 the top prize of $100,000.
Anglers will take off from the Plattsburgh City Marina, located at 2 Dock St., in Plattsburgh, at 8 a.m. ET each day of competition. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will also be held at the Launch Ramp, beginning at 5 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all takeoff and takeout ceremonies and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
MLF officials have divided the lake into two zones in which anglers will compete – Zone A (north end of lake) and Zone B (south end of lake – Ticonderoga area). Anglers choosing to fish in Zone B must go through the normal takeoff procedure at the Plattsburgh Boat Launch and then trailer to a public ramp within Zone B. Anglers will depart the Boat Launch at 8 a.m., and competition will start with “lines in” at 9 a.m.
The Toyota Stage Six at Lake Champlain Presented by Googan Baits features anglers competing with a 2-pound minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable. Minimum weights are determined individually for each competition waters 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 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 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the Toyota Stage Six at Lake Champlain Presented by Googan Baits will premiere at 7 a.m. ET, Nov. 6 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 immediate 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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