Mark Davis Leads Final Eight to Championship Round at MLF Bass Pro Tour General Tire Stage Five on Watts Bar Lake Presented by Covercraft
Jun 9th, 2022 by Keith Worrall
Modified Jun 9th, 2022 at 8:52 PM
Arkansas Pro Boats 10 Bass Weighing 25-12 to Win Knockout Round, Final 10 Anglers Set for Championship Thursday and Final-Day Shootout for $100,000
SPRING CITY, Tenn. (June 8, 2022) –B&W Trailer Hitches pro Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Arkansas caught 10 scorable bass Wednesday weighing 25 pounds, 12-ounces, to win the Knockout Round and advance to the final day of competition at the General Tire Stage Five on Watts Bar Lake Presented by Covercraft in Spring City, Tennessee.
After taking over the lead mid-day, the Bass Fishing Hall of Famer and three-time Angler of the Year (AOY) winner rose to the top of a stacked field going into Thursday’s Championship Round. Among the star-studded field of pros competing in the Championship Round are fellow Bass Fishing Hall of Famer and Michigan native Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo , who won an automatic berth to the Championship Round on Monday and boasts a staggering eight AOY awards in his astounding career, along with Forrest Wood Cup champion Randall “The Honey Badger” Tharp of Port Saint Joe, Florida , who has seven major wins and more than 30 Top-10 finishes in his career. Tharp finished in second place Wednesday, with 11 bass, weighing 23 pounds, 15 ounces.
The final 10 anglers are now set, and competition will resume Thursday morning with anglers launching at 7:30 a.m. ET in the Championship Round, where weights are zeroed, and the angler that catches the most one-day weight will win the top prize of $100,000.
The six-day event, hosted by Fish Dayton, the Rhea County Economic Tourism Council and Spring City, Tennessee, showcases 80 of the top professional bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a total purse of $805,000.
The top eight pros from Wednesday’s Knockout Round that will compete in Thursday’s Championship Round on Watts Bar Lake are:
1st: Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., 10 bass, 25-12
2nd: Randall Tharp, Port St. Joe, Fla., 11 bass, 23-15
3rd: Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., 13 bass, 23-9
4th: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., nine bass, 23-9
5th: Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, nine bass, 22-11
6th: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 11 bass, 21-11
7th: Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., nine bass, 19-1
8th: Alton Jones, Sr., Lorena, Texas, eight bass, 18-0
They’ll be joined by Qualifying Round winners:
Group A: Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich.
Group B: David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn.
Full results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
“Man, what a great day,” Davis said. “I’ve had two bad tournaments, but I feel like I’m back on track now with my fishing.”
Davis spent most of his day fishing slowly and methodically, cranking and throwing a worm in the back of a creek on a big grass flat, targeting isolated hard cover.
“It’s been a fantastic day, fishing the way I like to fish,” Davis said. “A lot of the fish in this lake are suspended – and that was my back-up pattern for today – but I found a creek that’s about 10-foot-deep, where they aren’t suspended, and you can catch them just fishing stumps, trees and other hard cover.
“The last two days that I’ve fished this creek have been bright, bluebird skies with a little afternoon wind, and I caught a few five-pounders and a three-pounder, so I knew the bigger and better fish lived in here,” Davis continued. “I had a lot of other stuff I could hit today, but I was hoping with the cloud cover and the rain we had this morning, this place would really show out, so I got in here today and just slowed everything down.”
It was a winning technique that worked for the Arkansas pro, who bested 37 other anglers in the Knockout Round to end the day in the top spot.
“I know this creek has had a lot of pressure because it’s the prettiest creek on the lake,” Davis said. “Earlier in the week I was able to get them to eat a big, Texas-rigged worm, but today it took a drop-shot, finesse-fishing real slow to get them to bite, but we got it done.”
Rounding out the top 40 finishers were:
11th: Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan, eight bass, 16-14, $10,000
12th: Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., seven bass, 16-12, $10,000
13th: Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., eight bass, 15-0, $10,000
14th: Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., seven bass, 14-13, $10,000
15th: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., seven bass, 14-11, $10,000
16th: Clabion Johns, Social Circle, Ga., six bass, 13-7, $10,000
17th: Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., six bass, 13-6, $10,000
18th: Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., six bass, 12-10, $10,000
19th: Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., seven bass, 12-5, $10,000
20th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., six bass, 12-4, $10,000
21st: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., six bass, 12-2, $10,000
22nd: Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., five bass, 12-1, $10,000
23rd: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., five bass, 11-15, $10,000
24th: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 11-10, $10,000
25th: Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, seven bass, 11-8, $10,000
26th: Paul Elias, Laurel, Miss., five bass, 11-2, $10,000
27th: Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., four bass, 9-5, $10,000
28th: Dave Lefebre, Erie, Penn., five bass, 9-3, $10,000
29th: Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., five bass, 9-2, $10,000
30th: Gary Klein, Mingus, Texas, four bass, 8-15, $10,000
31st: Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., three bass, 8-13, $10,000
32nd: Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., four bass, 8-6, $10,000
33rd: Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., four bass, 7-12, $10,000
34th: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., four bass, 7-11, $10,000
35th: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., three bass, 7-4, $10,000
36th: Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., four bass, 7-0, $10,000
37th: Ish Monroe, Oakdale, Calif., one bass, 3-15, $10,000
38th: Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., one bass, 3-7, $10,000
39th: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., zero bass, 0-0, $10,000
40th: Kelly Jordon, Flint, Texas, zero bass, 0-0, $10,000
Overall, there were 223 scorable bass weighing 481 pounds, 9 ounces caught by 36 pros Wednesday.
Power-Pole pro Chris Lane of Guntersville, Alabama caught a 5-pound, 5-ounce largemouth on a jig in the first period to earn Wednesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award. Berkley awards $1,000 to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass each day, and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass of the tournament.
The 40 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Saturday and Monday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Sunday and Tuesday. After the two-day Qualifying Round, the anglers that finish in 2nd through 20th place from both groups advanced to Wednesday’s Knockout Round, while the winner of each group advanced directly to Thursday’s Championship Round. In the Knockout Round, weights were zeroed, and the remaining 38 anglers competed to finish in the top 8 to advance to the Championship Round. Tomorrow, in the final day Championship Round, weights are zeroed, and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.
The final 10 anglers competing in Thursday’s Championship Round will launch at 7:30 a.m. ET from the Spring City Boat Ramp, located at 417 Toestring Valley Road in Spring City, Tennessee. The General Tire Takeout will be held at the ramp, beginning at 4 p.m. Fans are welcome and encouraged to attend all launch and takeout events and to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Also, on Championship Thursday, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET, MLF will host a Celebration Event for fans of all ages, inviting fans to come out and celebrate with the professional anglers from the Bass Pro Tour as they crown the champion of the General Tire Stage Five on Watts Bar Lake Presented by Covercraft. The FREE, family-friendly event will be fun for fishing fans of all ages. The first 50 middle school or high school anglers will receive a free Abu Garcia rod and reel combo valued at $100. The final 10 Championship Round 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 Stage Five on Watts Bar Lake Presented by Covercraft features anglers competing with a 1-pound, 8-ounce 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 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. ET. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the General Tire Stage Five on Watts Bar Lake Presented by Covercraft will premiere at 7 a.m. ET, Oct. 29 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.
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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 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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