Hite Coasts to Group A Qualifying Round Win at Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour – Favorite Fishing Stage Three Presented by Bass Cat Boats at Harris Chain
May 24th, 2021 by Keith Worrall
Modified May 24th, 2021 at 12:08 PM
Arizona Pro Breaks the Century Mark, Boating Two-Day Total of 42 Bass Weighing 100 Pounds, 7 Ounces to Advance Directly to Wednesday’s Championship Round, 19 Anglers Advance to Knockout Round
LEESBURG, Fla. (May 23, 2021) – It turns out Brett Hite could have taken the day off. After catching a whopping 34 bass weighing 83 pounds, 5 ounces on Friday, the Phoenix, Arizona pro added eight more bass totaling 17 pounds, 2 ounces Sunday to coast to an easy victory in the Qualifying Group A round at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Three Presented by Bass Cat Boats at the Harris Chain of Lakes with a two-day total of 42 bass for 100 pounds, 7 ounces.
Hite earned the win by a 25-pound, 4-ounce margin over second place and now advances directly into the Championship Round of competition, set for Wednesday. The six-day tournament, hosted by Lake County, is being live-streamed online and filmed for television broadcast on the Discovery Channel and the Outdoor Channel later this year.
Toro pro Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kansas, caught a two-day total of 29 bass weighing 75-3 to start and end the day in second place. Jasper, Texas pro Todd Faircloth, boated a two-day total of 28 bass weighing 70-7 to end the round in third place. After starting the day in 26th place, pro Dean Rojas of Lake Havasu City, Arizona , was the big mover of the day Sunday, catching 17 bass weighing 44 pounds, 4 ounces to vault into fourth with a two-day total of 24 bass for 57-13. Rounding out the top five is pro Boyd Duckett of Guntersville, Alabama, who caught a two-day total of 22 bass weighing 54-10.
The top 20 anglers from Group A will now enjoy an off day, while the 40 anglers in Qualifying Group B will complete their two-day Qualifying Round of competition on Monday. The Knockout Round, featuring 38 anglers competing to finish in the top eight, will take place on Tuesday. Wednesday’s Championship Round will feature Hite, Monday’s Group B winner, and the top eight anglers from the Knockout Round competing in a final-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000.
“All of the hard work that we put in pays off every once in a while, and it’s been a really good couple of days for me so far,” said Hite, who has five career wins and 33 top-10 finishes in MLF competition. “Today, it was almost like those fish were kind of in shock because the wind had been blowing 20 to 30 (miles per hour) every day for the last week and today it was dead, slick calm. I guess if I am going to have a bad execution day, it’s nice to have a 40-pound lead when I do it. I’m looking forward to a couple of days off – my shoulder needs it after what seems like 1,000 casts a day.”
Like Friday, Hite relied mainly on a Z-Man Jackhammer and an EverGreen Grass Ripper swimjig to catch his fish.
“The bread and butter bait for me today was the (Z-Man) Jackhammer StealthBlade (green pumpkin shad) with a Yamamoto Zako trailer,” Hite said. “We designed this bait – EverGreen, myself and Morizo Shimizu – for days like this. In the slick calm conditions, those fish are just real finicky, and the StealthBlade just doesn’t vibrate quite as hard as the regular Jackhammer. I threw it with 14 or 16-pound Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon line and that’s what I caught most of my fish on today.
“I also caught some key fish on an original ½-ounce (Z-Man) Jackhammer (green shad), also with a Yamamoto Zako (sight flash) with 20-pound Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon,” Hite continued. “I threw it on a 7-foot, 3-inch heavy-action EverGreen Combat Stick with a 6:3:1 Daiwa Tatula Elite reel. And I let the cat out of the bag this week on our new swimjig. I worked on this thing for about a year and it’s going to be coming out in a couple of weeks – the new EverGreen Grass Ripper swimjig. I fished that with a Yamamoto Zako Paddletail Swimbait (sight flash) with 20-pound Sunline fluorocarbon line and a Daiwa Tatula Elite with a 7:1 gear ratio.
“I’m super excited to advance into the Championship Round on Wednesday,” Hite went on to say. “I’ve got a good game plan, and we’re going to let those fish rest and hopefully have a shot to win this thing.”
Tuskegee, Alabama pro Mark Daniels Jr. felt the pressure of the SCORETRACKER leaderboard on Sunday. After starting the day in 10th place, Daniels found himself sitting in 21st place, outside the Toro Cut Line, with just six minutes left in the day. Luckily for Daniels, he caught a 1-pound, 8-ounce largemouth as the clock ticked down to overtake pro Randy Howell by just 5 ounces and advance to the Knockout round in the final spot.
“Oh my gosh, that was one of the most stressful days of my entire career,” a relieved Daniels said in his post-game interview. “I don’t have any gray hairs yet, but I think I might have gotten a couple after today. I was trying to fish the conditions, but nothing was working. I had to fall back on what got me here, a Z-Man ChatterBait with a Z-Man RaZor ShadZ trailer. And golly, I can’t believe it was a 1-8. Literally the fish that I needed. He could have been a 1-7 and I wouldn’t be here. Unreal. I’m so, so happy that I’m going to get another opportunity in the Knockout Round.”
The top 20 pros from Qualifying Group A that now advance to Tuesday’s Knockout Round on the Harris Chain of Lakes are:
1st: Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., 42 bass, 100-7
2nd: Brent Chapman, Lake Quivira, Kan., 29 bass, 75-3
3rd: Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, 28 bass, 70-7
4th: Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 24 bass, 57-13
5th: Boyd Duckett, Guntersville, Ala., 22 bass, 54-10
6th: Paul Elias, Laurel, Miss., 23 bass, 54-8
7th: Alton Jones Jr., Waco, Texas, 21 bass, 54-1
8th: Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., 25 bass, 54-0
9th: James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., 21 bass, 53-5
10th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 25 bass, 52-13
11th: Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., 22 bass, 52-13
12th: Jeff Sprague, Point, Texas, 24 bass, 52-1
13th: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 23 bass, 51-14
14th: Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., 21 bass, 51-14
15th: Randall Tharp, Port St. Joe, Fla., 19 bass, 51-7
16th: Kyle Hall, Granbury, Texas, 24 bass, 48-15
17th: Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 22 bass, 47-4
18th: Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 18 bass, 46-3
19th: Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., 14 bass, 41-3
20th: Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 15 bass, 39-7
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 327 bass weighing 776 pounds, 15 ounces caught by 38 pros on Sunday.
Elam won Sunday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in a 9-pound, 1-ounce largemouth on a squarebill crankbait during Period 1. 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 competed 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 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 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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