Tennessee Pro Catches Five-Bass Limit Weighing 18 Pounds Even to Take Early Lead, 150 Pros to Continue Competition Wednesday
LA CROSSE, Wis. (July 25, 2023) – Just one month removed from his victory at the T-H Marine Stop 5 on the Potomac River, pro Nick Hatfield of Greeneville, Tennessee, looks like he has strong intentions to make it two victories in a row. Hatfield brought a five-bass limit to the scale, Tuesday, weighing 18 pounds even to take the early lead after Day 1 of the MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational T-H Marine Stop 5 at the Potomac River.
Hatfield will bring an ultra-slim 2-ounce lead into Day 2 of competition over Macomb, Illinois’ Hunter Litchfield, who weighed in a five bass limit totaling 17-14 to end the day in second. The local Wisconsin contingent also had a very strong start to the event, as Steve Lopez of Oconomowoc (17-12), Matthew Stefan of Junction City (16-8), Kevin Ruh of Onalaska (16-3) and Mike Bruggen of La Crosse (15-12) also ended the day inside the top 10.
Competition resumes Wednesday, when the full field of 150 anglers will conclude the two-day opening round. Only the top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight will advance to the third and final day of competition on Thursday. The three-day tournament, hosted by Explore La Crosse, features a roster of 150 pro anglers competing for a top prize of up to $115,000 and an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2024.
Link to Photo of Stop 6 at the Mississippi River Day 1 Leader Nick Hatfield
Link to Photo Gallery of Stop 6 at the Mississippi River Day 1 Afternoon Highlights
Link to Video of Fish-Catch Highlights of Stop 6 at the Mississippi River Day 1
“It should have been even more,” Hatfield said of his Day 1 weight. “Unfortunately, I had a fish die on me late in the day and I had to take the 4-ounce penalty. But it was a good day, and I’m happy with how it ended up.
“I started in an area where I thought I could catch 12 to 14 pounds, and my plan was to just go in and catch a limit and get a cushion, then go to a different area and try to catch some bigger ones,” Hatfield continued. “I got in there, and it started kind of slow, but I started to see some big ones cruising and with just a little bit of a bait adjustment I started catching them.”
Hatfield said he was seeing the bigger fish cruising both with his Garmin LiveScope on deeper grass clumps and also casting at ones he could see while sight fishing.
“I don’t know if the area will hold up for tomorrow,” Hatfield said. “I’ll obviously try to start in there again, and I think if I can pull 12 pounds out of there I’ll be in good shape.
“I’ve also got some other areas that I didn’t fish today that I can go to, so I’m confident that I can pull something together,” Hatfield went on to say. “I’ve also got some smallmouth found, so it’s whatever I have to do. I’m going to put together 15 pounds and we’ll see what happens. Fifteen pounds is the goal, then we’ll see what happens going into Day 3.”
The top 20 pros after Day 1 of the Mercury Stop 6 at the Mississippi River in La Crosse are:
1st: Nick Hatfield, Greeneville, Tenn., five bass, 18-0
2nd: Hunter Litchfield, Macomb, Ill., five bass, 17-14
3rd: Steve Lopez, Oconomowoc, Wis., five bass, 17-12
4th: Matthew Stefan, Junction City, Wis., five bass, 16-8
5th: Matt Reed, Madisonville, Texas, five bass, 16-6
6th: Kevin Ruh, Onalaska, Wis., five bass, 16-3
7th: Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 15-12
7th: Mark Condron, Murfreesboro, Tenn., five bass, 15-12
9th: Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., five bass, 15-7
9th: Mike McClelland, Blue Eye, Mo., five bass, 15-7
11th: Cody Meyer, Eagle, Idaho, five bass, 15-4
12th: Drew Gill, Mount Carmel, Ill., five bass, 14-15
12th: Tristan McCormick, Burns, Tenn., five bass, 14-15
14th: Alex Davis, Albertville, Ala., five bass, 14-13
15th: Grae Buck, Green Lane, Pa., five bass, 14-12
16th: Nick LeBrun, Bossier City, La., five bass, 14-9
17th: Marshall Robinson, Landrum, S.C., five bass, 14-6
18th: B.J. Miller, Adams, Neb., five bass, 14-5
18th: Andy Newcomb, Camdenton, Mo., five bass, 14-5
20th: Cal Lane, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 14-4
Complete results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Pro Matthew Stefan of Junction City, Wisconsin, earned the $1,000 Berkley Big Bass award Tuesday after weighing in a bass largemouth that went 5 pounds, 9 ounces.
Overall, there were 677 bass weighing 1,637 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 146 pros Tuesday. The catch included 117 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 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 Mercury Stop 6 at the Mississippi River in La Crosse will be determined by the heaviest three-day cumulative weight and will receive an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2024.
Anglers will launch each day at 6:30 a.m. CT, Tuesday through Thursday, from Veterans Freedom Park, located at 1 Clinton St. in La Crosse. Weigh-ins will also be held at the park daily beginning at 2:30 p.m. 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 a.m. CT at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The MLFNOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action on all three days of competition from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. CT. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
The MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational Mercury Stop 6 at the Mississippi River in La Crosse will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the CBS Sports Network on Saturday, November 14.
Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitationals include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Fox Rent a Car, General Tire, Grundéns, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Mystik Lubricants, 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.
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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.