John Cox Leads Group B at Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour General Tire Stage Five at St. Lawrence River Presented by Berkley
Jun 28th, 2021 by Keith Worrall
Modified Jun 28th, 2021 at 1:00 PM
DeBary, Florida Pro Catches 31 Bass Weighing 99 Pounds, 1 Ounce on New York’s St. Lawrence River to Lead Group B’s Qualifying Round after Day 1, Group A to Wrap Up Their Qualifying Round Sunday
MASSENA, N.Y. (June 26, 2021) – Although it didn’t quite match Friday’s frenetic day of fishing, the 39 pro anglers on the water Saturday also experienced a special day of fishing at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour General Tire Stage Five at the St. Lawrence River Presented by Berkley in Massena, New York.
When time expired at 5:30 p.m., Berkley pro John Cox of DeBary, Florida, held the early lead for Group B with 31 bass weighing 99 pounds, 1 ounce. Right behind Cox in second place is reigning REDCREST Champion Favorite Fishing pro Dustin Connell of Clanton, Alabama, who boated 21 bass totaling 83-13. Rounding out the top three was Shelby, North Carolina’s Bryan Thrift, who caught 28 bass for 81-13 to end the day in third.
The 39 anglers in Group B will have the day off on Sunday, while the 40 anglers in Group A will complete their two-day Qualifying Round of competition. Group B will conclude their Qualifying Round on Monday. The six-day event, hosted by the Town of Massena and Fish Massena, 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.
“What an awesome day. I can’t believe that I’m leading a smallmouth tournament up north,” said the Floridian Cox. “I feel like I picked up right where I left off last year. After looking at SCORETRACKER™ yesterday, I couldn’t sleep last night. And now I don’t know how I’m going to sleep tonight or tomorrow. I’m so ready to get back out there again.
“It’s hilarious, but I’m leading because I was worried about running out of my (Berkley PowerBait) MaxScent Flat Worms and (Berkley PowerBait) MaxScent Generals during practice,” Cox continued. “In practice I had a bunch of these (Berkley PowerBait MaxScent) Hit Worms , and I figured I’d use them up so I didn’t use up all of my good stuff before the event started. But man, they’ve been eating that Hit Worm so good and that thing really carried me today.”
Although the majority of Cox’s keepers came on the Hit Worm, he did say that he added a few key bass on the Berkley General.
“We did pull the General out for a few of them and I threw that thing around and caught some big ones too,” Cox continued. “It was just an awesome day. I moved around a lot today and sampled a lot of stuff to help get a game plan for when we come back out here Monday.
“I would love to win the Qualifying Round and be able to skip the Knockout Round and advance straight into the Championship Round,” Cox went on to say. “I know a lot of guys like being in that Knockout Round so they can follow the fish, but I feel pretty set on the areas that I’m fishing, so if I can let them rest it’ll be better.”
Connell credited a Ned rig for most of his success Saturday.
“I caught all of my fish on a Googan Baits Rattlin’ Ned,” Connell said. “This place is just unbelievable. I think I caught seven or eight 5-pounders today, maybe more. They’re biting out here, and I can’t wait to get back out here on Monday.”
“Using P-Line Tactical Fluorocarbon Line and making super long casts was the keys to my success today,” said third-place angler Thrift. “Most of my fish today came on a jig head with two types of soft plastics – the 3-inch Tennessee Shad-colored Damiki Stinger and Berkley MaxScent.
“I threw it on my signature series 7-foot medium-action Fitzgerald Drop Shot and Ned Rig rod, paired with an Abu Garcia Revo Premier Spinning Reel and spooled with 10-pound (P-Line) TCB 8 braid for my main line with 8-pound P-Line Tactical fluorocarbon leader. That setup is as good as it gets for finesse fishing,” Thrift went on to say.
The top 20 pros in Group B after Day 1 on the St. Lawrence River are:
1st: John Cox, DeBary, Fla., 31 bass, 99-1
2nd: Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 21 bass, 83-13
3rd: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 28 bass, 81-13
4th: James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., 27 bass, 78-2
5th: John Murray, Spring City, Tenn., 25 bass, 73-2
6th: Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., 21 bass, 69-7
7th: Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., 20 bass, 69-6
8th: Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., 20 bass, 65-2
9th: Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, Calif., 20 bass, 64-4
10th: Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., 22 bass, 63-13
11th: Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., 21 bass, 63-1
12th: Shin Fukae, Osaka, Japan, 18 bass, 60-12
13th: David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn., 21 bass, 59-7
14th: Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., 19 bass, 53-11
15th: Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 18 bass, 51-3
16th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 17 bass, 46-15
17th: Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., 15 bass, 45-2
18th: Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., 17 bass, 43-11
19th: Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., 16 bass, 43-6
20th: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 16 bass, 41-10
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 621 bass weighing 1,855 pounds, 15 ounces caught by the 39 pros on Saturday.
Bass Pro Tour angler Aaron Martens of Leeds, Alabama, was unable to compete in this event and was issued a medical exemption.
Lintner won Saturday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in a 6-pound, 10-ounce smallmouth bass on a drop-shot rig during Period 2. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler who 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 General Tire Stage Five at the St. Lawrence River Presented by Berkley is hosted by the Town of Massena and Fish Massena.
The 40 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day qualifying round on the St. Lawrence River 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 the top prize of $100,000.
Anglers will take off from the Massena Intake Boat Launch Ramp, located on Route 13, in Massena, at 8:30 a.m. ET each day of competition. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will also be held at the Launch Ramp, beginning at 5:30 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.
On Sunday, June 27, the Town of Massena will join the anglers at 7:45 a.m. at the Massena Intake Ramp for Fishin’ Church, hosted by Bass Pro Tour anglers Mark Rose and Edwin Evers along with Judy Van Kennan, Chaplain for the Massena Fire Department. A free breakfast will be provided. Also on Sunday, Louisville, New York, will host a VIP Golf Course Event featuring multiple Bass Pro Tour anglers from noon to 3 p.m. at The River Course at Louisville Landing. All activities are free and open to the public. For more information on the Stage Five Community Events hosted by Fish Massena, visit 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 9:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the General Tire Stage Five Presented by Berkley at the St. Lawrence River will be showcased across two two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, Oct. 23 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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