20 Pros Survive Elimination at MLF Bass Pro Tour
MLF PRESS RELEASE
|MLF pro Randall Tharp was one of 20 anglers to advance out of Group A's Elimination |
Round today at North Carolina's Falls Lake. He will fish in Saturday's Knockout Round.
It has become one of the most interesting (and in some cases, gut-wrenching) focal points of the young Major League Fishing® (MLF) Bass Pro Tour season: the battle around the 20th spot in the standings on Elimination Rounds.
That 20th spot - which represents the final qualifier for the Knockout Round - is the definition of "make or break" and has created some of the highest moments of drama in the history of professional bass fishing.
If you're Jacob Powroznik, you love it today. The Virginia pro weighed in 12 pounds, 13 ounces of Falls Lake largemouth to finish with a two-day total of 32-14: good for 20th in Group A at the Bass Pro Tour Favorite Fishing Stage Three Raleigh presented by Evinrude.
If you're Michael Neal, not so much: the Tennessee pro put 17-4 on SCORETRACKER™ on the day, but fell 2 ounces short of Powroznik for the coveted final spot with 32-12.
"Well, what can you say: somebody has to be that guy, and today, that's me," Neal deadpanned as he waited for the start of the Berkley Postgame Show.
"It was very stressful," Powroznik admitted. "At about 1 p.m., I was like 'What am I doing wrong?' The areas where those fish should be going, they're just not there yet. The biggest thing is just keeping your head in it. I'm just glad I made it."
Moving on to Knockout
For the 20 anglers who finished just ahead of Neal in Group A Shotgun and Elimination Round competition, it's on to Saturday's Knockout Round, where they'll be joined by the Top 20 after tomorrow's second Elimination Round on Falls Lake, consisting of Group B anglers.
Notable performers on the day included:
Andy Montgomery, who landed only four scorable fish on the day, but found a 7-4 and a 6-6 to finish the day in 18th with 34-13. Montgomery boated his 6-6 with 7 minutes left in competition.
Jared Lintner, who weighed in 18-12 to finish 16th with a two-day total of 36-0.
Josh Bertrand, whose 17-4 gave him 38-8, good for 14th.
Staying Put for Two Days
Unlike the previous competition schedule, there's no lake swap: after fishing one day on Jordan Lake before switching to Falls, the Knockout Round will stay on Falls. Weights will be zeroed, which means that the heavy work done by round leader Kelly Jordon - who stacked 82-4 up on the first day and added 11-0 to his total today - will be erased.
Changing Conditions on Falls
Group B's Elimination Round on Friday will see mostly sunny skies and daytime highs in the mid-70s, and will be fishing a lake that's currently in a positive transition from winter to spring: the water temperature rose 7 degrees during Thursday's competition.
That's a fact that has shallow-water flippers like Powroznik anxious to fish again, and soon.
"Friday is going to be absolutely beautiful, Saturday is going to be beautiful, so it's time: these fish are getting ready to spawn," Powroznik said.
How, When & Where to Watch
Competition begins daily at 7:30 a.m. ET, with live, official scoring available via SCORETRACKER on MajorLeagueFishing.com and on the MLF app. The MLF NOW! live stream starts at 10 a.m. ET, with live, on-the-water coverage continuing until lines out at 3:30 p.m. The Berkley Postgame Show live stream will start at 5 p.m. daily.
Josh Bertrand (14th/38-8) - "It was one of those days that takes years off your life. It wasn't horribly stressful until the third period started. I wasn't having a great day but I was catching enough to just feel okay and fishing got super tough - even tougher than it was - it slicked off, there was no wind and I just realized I was out of stuff to fish. Luckily, I was able to get on to some in the last hour of the day. Being new to Major League Fishing, it was the first time I sat on the bubble and I sat on it all day. It was fun to be on live all day, but it was stressful for sure."
Jared Lintner (16th/36-0) - "Going into the day I was in 25th, I think I was 4 or 5 pounds off the Elimination Line. I knew I needed to catch a couple big ones to have a shot. In the morning I caught that 6-8 pretty early - I never caught a great big one, but I started getting a lot of bites and was still teetering around the cutline. I moved up to like 14th or 13th or 12th at one point, and then all of a sudden I stopped getting bites and I'm down there at 17th, 19th, 21st, back to 16th.; I'm like 'Ugh!' The last period was a lot of stress."