Browning Wins Round, Ehrler’s Big Bass Wins $25K at General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops Event on Lake Palestine
Apr 13th, 2022 by Keith Worrall
Modified Apr 13th, 2022 at 3:11 PM
Arkansas Pro Weighs Two-Day Total of 27 Bass for 83 Pounds, 10 Ounces to Top Group B, 14 Anglers Set for Wednesday’s Knockout Round
TYLER, Texas (April 12, 2022) – Pro Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Arkansas, caught 11 scorable bass totaling 32 pounds, 6 ounces, to win the Qualifying Round for Group B at the General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops on Lake Palestine. Browning’s two-day total of 27 bass weighing 83 pounds, 10 ounces earned him the round win by a 29-pound, 6-ounce margin and advances him straight into Thursday’s Championship Round of competition.
The six-day all-star event showcases the 32 pros that qualified from the Bass Pro Tour competing in the no-entry fee tournament for a purse of more than $500,000.
Pro Russ Lane of Prattville, Alabama finished the day in second place with a two-day total of 17 bass weighing 54-4, while Berkley pro Jordan Lee of Cullman, Alabama finished in third with 16 bass weighing 50-5. Period three brought big moves for Favorite Fishing pro Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma, who slid into fourth with a two-day total of 15 bass weighing 47 pounds even, but Tennessee pro Michael Neal made the biggest jump of the day – moving from 14th place to round out the top five, with 17 bass weighing 45 pounds, 9 ounces.
Pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, California, caught the heaviest bass of the Group B Qualifying Round on Sunday, weighing 8 pounds, 5 ounces, to win the Group B Qualifying Round Berkley Big Bass Bonus of $25,000. Another prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the heaviest fish landed Wednesday in the Knockout Round, and $100,000 will be awarded for the single biggest fish in Thursday’s Championship Round.
With the Qualifying Round now complete, the anglers that finished in 2nd through 8th place from each group advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round. The Knockout Round will feature 14 anglers competing to finish in the top eight. Thursday’s Championship Round will feature DeFoe, Browning and the top eight anglers from the Knockout Round competing in a final-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000 along with the $100,000 Berkley Big Bass Bonus.
“It was really nerve wracking this morning,” said Browning. “Russ (Lane) put a lot of pressure on us right out of the gate, but I just stuck to my game plan to go back to the area where I caught them all on Day One and just catch enough to make sure we won the Qualifying Round and could skip straight to the Championship Round – and we did that.”
This will mark the first time Browning has won the Qualifying Round for his group and the berth straight through to the Championship Round.
“I got a little impatient with the slow bite this morning, but I knew there were plenty of fish where I started to accomplish what I needed to do. Those fish just decided not to bite early, which is typical of true, shallow spawning fish. Once they got fired up late in the first period, we had a great second period and was able to explore at the end of the day to eliminate some areas for the Championship Round.
“That’s the most important thing on this fishery, being able to home in on where you want to be. You need to have a game plan and have an area to fish, but on Lake Palestine you can’t just jump up and run all over the place. You’ve got to have a couple of areas you feel you can catch fish in, and you just have to stick with them. Thankfully we’ve been able to do that.”
Browning said he caught most of his fish on the Z-Man (ChatterBait) Jack Hammer again today and caught a few others on a basic Green Pumpkin-colored lizard with a chartreuse-dipped tail, on a 3/16-ounce weight.
“I also caught a few later in the day on the Z-Man Big Blade ChatterBait, trying to catch a 9-pounder and chase down Ehrler’s big bass award,” said Browning. “That’s my go to bait for big fish, but I didn’t make that happen.
“I feel really good about what I’m doing though – I feel good about my technique and my set up going into the final round,” continued Browning. “I missed it just a bit on Day One, but I’ve made a few changes and I’m looking forward to the challenge in the Championship Round.”
The top eight pros from Qualifying Group B that now advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round on Lake Palestine are:
1st: Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., 27 bass, 83-10
2nd: Russ Lane, Prattville, Ala., 17 bass, 54-4
3rd: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., 16 bass, 50-5
4th: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 15 bass, 47-0
5th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 17 bass, 45-9
6th: Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 16 bass, 43-4
7th: Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla., 13 bass, 39-6
8th: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 10 bass, 37-14
Finishing in 9th through 16th in the Group B Qualifying Round are:
9th: Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss., 10 bass, 32-14
10th: Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., 11 bass, 32-6
11th: Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., 10 bass, 30-9
12th: Cliff Crochet, Pierre Part, La., eight bass, 28-8
13th: Tommy Biffle, Wagoner, Okla., nine bass, 27-2
14th: Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., 10 bass, 27-0
15th: Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., 10 bass, 26-13
16th: Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., eight bass, 21-13
Full results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 111 scorable bass weighing 336 pounds, 7 ounces caught by the 16 pros Tuesday.
Anglers will depart at 7 a.m. on Wednesday from the Villages Marina, located at Big Eddy Road in Flint, Texas. Anglers are allowed to trailer to any boat ramp of their choosing on Lake Palestine, but competition begins with “lines in” at 8 a.m. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the Marina, beginning at 4:30 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 MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Fans are encouraged to come out and celebrate with the professional anglers from the Bass Pro Tour on Thursday, April 14, starting at 3:30 p.m. at the Villages Marina in Flint, Texas, as they crown the champion of the General Tire Heavy Hitters 2022 Presented by Bass Pro Shops. The first 50 children at the event will receive a free Dora the Explorer rod and reel, and the first 50 High School Fishing anglers will receive a free Abu Garcia rod and reel combo, valued at $100. Free food will be provided for all, and the Bass Pro Tour anglers will be on hand to meet and greet fans, sign autographs, take selfies and participate in tackle giveaways.
The General Tire Heavy Hitters 2022 features anglers competing with a 2-pound minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable in the Qualifying and Knockout Rounds, but for the final day Championship Round a bass must weigh at least 3 pounds 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.
To qualify for the General Tire Heavy Hitters 2022 event, the weight of an angler’s single-largest bass from each event of the seven 2021 Bass Pro Tour events was recorded. The 32 anglers with the heaviest five big-fish totals from those seven events qualified to compete in this event.
The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action on all five days of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the General Tire Heavy Hitters 2022 Event will be showcased across six two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, July 16 and running each Saturday through August 20 on the Discovery Channel. A one-hour special episode of MLF Inside Heavy Hitters will also air on CBS in late 2022. 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.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF General Tire Heavy Hitters Event include: Abu Garcia, B&W Hitches, Bally Bet, Bass Cat Boats, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Builders First Source, Covercraft, Ferguson, FuelMe, GEICO, General Tire, Guaranteed Rate, Kubota, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, NITRO Boats, Onyx, Phoenix Boats, Plano, Power-Pole, Power Stop Brakes, Shore Lunch, Sonic, StarBrite, Sqwincher, T-H Marine, Toyota, United States Airforce, Wiley X, Yellowstone Bourbon, and YETI.
For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and 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 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 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.
Major League Fishing – WE ARE Bass Fishing™