|(Left to right) MLF pros Alton Jones Jr. (fifth place), Josh Bertrand (second), Ott DeFoe (first), and Cody Meyer (third) wrapped up their Elimination Round in style and will be heading to Tuesday's Knockout Round.|
Another day, another record at the Major League Fishing® (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Berkley Stage Six Presented by TrueTimber on Table Rock Lake.
Ott DeFoe pushed his two-day weight total to 133 pounds thanks to 54-14 in today's Group B Elimination Round, and while that fell just short of Cliff Pace's record of 134-11 from the day before, DeFoe was still able to mint a new record with 91 bass caught during his Shotgun and Elimination rounds.
MLF NOW! live stream analyst Marty Stone summed up the week perfectly in the waning moments of the broadcast: "It wouldn't be a day at Table Rock if we didn't break a record."
It has become the story during the Shotgun and Elimination Rounds, and both the Knockout and Championship Round records are likely to fall in the next two days if the weather cooperates.
The fishing today slowed down for many in the field, but it was still excellent. It seems Table Rock Lake has set the bar high and even 951 scoreable bass seems like a downturn, which sounds absurd.
It was the first day that the field brought in less than 1,000 bass. That's how good Table Rock has been this week.
Jones Jr. and Browning Make Moves
Overall, the Top 20 remained largely the same from the start of the day to when competition wrapped up this afternoon. Dustin Connell and Chris Lane were the only two anglers to fall out of the Top 20 (19th to 27th, and 20th to 31st respectively), with Alton Jones Jr. and Stephen Browning replacing them.
Both Jones and Browning had stellar days, Browning boating a day's-best 37 bass and Jones racking up the most weight on SCORETRACKER® today. His 67-5 ounces catapulted him up 20 spots as he rose from 26th to fifth place in Group B.
One of the keys to Jones' success was the quality of fish he caught. While he still counted 31 scoreable bass, his weight total was helped by six bass over three pounds, including a 5-2 bass that earned him the Berkley Big Bass of the Day award.
"I'm on an early bite, and most of my weight has been coming before 10 a.m.," Jones said. "The sun also helped, so I don't know the changing weather for tomorrow is going to affect me."
Browning's stout day boosted him from 23rd to 14th and advanced him to Tuesday's Knockout Round.
"I started the day strong and was able to ride the momentum throughout the day," Browning recounted. "I was fishing the same areas as I did in the Shotgun Round, but I made two bait changes, and it worked. We'll see what the weather does tomorrow. It could take 30, 40, 50, or 70-pounds to make the Top 10; you never know with the way this place is fishing."
Evers Falls Short, Clausen Holds On
The ever-dangerous Edwin Evers slowly crept up the leaderboard from starting the day in 25th. He threatened for the final advancing spot and briefly held 20th place with one hour to go. In the end, he finished just short and is the first angler on the outside looking in, at 21st.
Clausen started the day in 16th and briefly fell below the cutline before rallying up a few spots. Catches in the final moments by Jordan Lee and Greg Hackney lowered his placement to 20th, but he was able to hang on.
Weather Changes Loom
The Branson area has been very welcoming to the Bass Pro Tour, but the weather has been in a state of constant change this week. The evening is under a flash flood warning and Tuesday calls for a 100-percent chance of precipitation with possible lightning to go with a predicted 20 mph wind in the afternoon.
Group A had an eye-popping 15 anglers yesterday with over 100-pounds, and Group B posted slightly less today with 11 hitting the century mark. The 20th place was considerably different between the groups. In Group A, Randall Tharp's 94-12 total put him in the final qualifying spot while Luke Clausen wrapped up 20th with 83-06 in Group B.
The Top 20 anglers from each of the Elimination Rounds advanced to the 40-angler Knockout Round to be held Tuesday - weights will be zeroed, making the Knockout a one-day scramble.
The Top 10 anglers in the Knockout Round will advance to the Championship Round on Wednesday, May 22.
Elimination Round 2 daily awards were:
* The Berkley Big Bass of the Day was a 5-2 largemouth caught by Alton Jones Jr.
* Jones also earned the Phoenix Boats Daily Leader award with 67-0
* Browning was the Berkley Catch Count winner with 37 bass