Lake Fork Readies for Return of Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour
Feb 13th, 2022 by Keith Worrall
Modified Feb 13th, 2022 at 12:14 PM
Toro Stage Two on Lake Fork Presented by Grundéns to Showcase 80 Pro Anglers Competing Over Six Days for Purse of $805,000
QUITMAN, Texas (Feb. 13, 2022) – Major League Fishing (MLF) is set to return to Texas next week, Feb. 19-24, for the second event of the 2022 MLF Bass Pro Tour regular-season – the Toro Stage Two on Lake Fork Presented by Grundéns.
The six-day event, hosted by the Lake Fork Area Chamber of Commerce, the Wood County EDC, the Sabine River Authority and the Rains County Tourism Board, will showcase 80 of the best professional anglers in the world, including bass-fishing superstars like Kevin VanDam, Ott DeFoe, Jacob Wheeler , and seven Texas pros – Dakota Ebare, Todd Faircloth, Alton Jones, Alton Jones Jr., Kelly Jordon, Gary Klein and Jeff Sprague – fishing for a purse of more than $805,000, including a top payout of $100,000 and valuable points in hopes of qualifying for REDCREST 2023, the Bass Pro Tour championship.
“Locals are excited for Major League Fishing to return, and to show why Lake Fork remains the best place on earth to fish,” said Lake Fork Area Chamber of Commerce’s Micheal Rogge. “MLF provides a major economic stimulus to our area as the competitors, staff, and fans bring in a revenue that helps keep the lake known as the Jewel of East Texas. With the best fishermen in the world on the best lake, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the Century Club mark broken. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.”
This event will mark the second time that an MLF Bass Pro Tour event has taken place on Lake Fork. When the Bass Pro Tour last visited Lake Fork in 2020, the Championship Round was held on Lake Athens after the Qualifying and Knockout Rounds took place on Lake Fork. Tennessee pro Ott DeFoe fished a wacky-rigged worm and a Tokyo-rigged swimbait to advance on Lake Fork, then threw swimbaits, jerkbaits and a Neko rig to win the Championship Round on Athens and earn the prestigious red winner’s trophy.
Local pro Kelly Jordon of Flint, Texas, said that he expects this event to be a heavyweight slugfest.
“The weather is going to be the key – looking at the forecast it looks like we’ve got a little bit of a warming trend coming. If that water can get up into the 52-, 53-to-55-degree temperatures, this event has the potential to be out of this world,” Jordon said. “The prespawn bite is going to be starting out, and those fish will be hungry and ready to eat.”
When the Bass Pro Tour last visited, the then league record for largest fish ever weighed in competition was set when pro Justin Atkins weighed in a 10½-pounder. Jordon said that he expects a bigger fish to be caught this time around.
“The way Lake Fork is setting up – this is the time of year when the fish are at their biggest, the time of year when you can catch a true giant,” Jordon said. “I don’t expect a huge number of fish to be caught, but the average size of our fish will be really impressive.”
Jordon said that prespawn reaction baits would be heavily favored among competitors – crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, squarebill crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and swimbaits were all mentioned specifically as lures that he would have tied on.
“The lake is low – about 6 feet – and that has the lake fishing differently,” Jordon said. “The boat docks and the grass won’t really play this time around. The key for this one will be targeting the structure – points, ridges, channels, humps and drops, along with the offshore brush piles and standing timber.
“Fork has been my home lake since the early 90s, and one of my favorite places to fish in the whole country,” Jordon went on to say. “This is going to be a really fun event, with the potential to see some new Bass Pro Tour records being set.
The tournament will feature the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, in which anglers catch as much weight as they can each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the SCORETRACKER® leaderboard. The tournament is being filmed for broadcast later this year on the Discovery Channel.
Angler will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. from the Oak Ridge Marina, located at 2949 TX-154 in Quitman, Texas. 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.
The Toro Stage Two on Lake Fork Presented by Grundéns will feature 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 80 of the top professional anglers in the world competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, competing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2023 championship.
The 40 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day qualifying round on Saturday and Monday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Sunday and Tuesday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the anglers that finish in 2nd through 20th place from both groups advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round, while the winner of each group advances directly to Thursday’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.
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 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the Toro Stage Two on Lake Fork Presented by Grundéns will premiere at 7 a.m. ET, Sept. 17 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, BallyBet, Bass Cat, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Covercraft, Favorite Fishing, Garmin, General Tire, Googan Baits, Grundéns, Guaranteed Rate, Humminbird, Lowrance, Luminox, Mercury, Minn Kota, Mossy Oak, Nitro Performance Boats, Onyx, Plano, Power-Pole, Power Stop, Rapala, Starbrite, Toro, Toyota, Wrangler, Yellowstone Bourbon and Zoom.
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.
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