February 12, 2020 (Eufaula, Ala.) Team Toyota pro Jacob Wheeler won the Bass Pro Tour B&W Hitches Stage One presented by Power-Pole with 24 bass weighing in at 68 pounds, the highest one-day total for the week. MLF Rookie Bryan Thrift led the field handsomely early in Period 1 with five catches in the first 30 minutes of competition. Ott DeFoe landed scorable bass on a steady pace all day long, including holding the lead at the of Periods 1 and 2. Ultimately Wheeler secured a solid lead with an 11-fish run as the clock wound down.
With cameras rolling on MLFNOW! at the end of Period 3, Jacob Wheeler paused to take in the reality that he had won.
“Unbelievable,” he exclaimed. “To start off this 2020 Bass Pro Tour season with a win here on Lake Eufaula; it’s unbelievable. I owe it to everyone who supports me, especially my wife, Alicia.”
Wheeler, winner of Qualifying Round Group B and Thrift, winner of Qualifying Round Group A, each earned a Championship Round berth skipping the Knockout Round on Tuesday. A new Bass Pro Tour rule for 2020, there was some uncertainty on how a day off would fair for the advanced anglers. Thrift and Wheeler coming in first and second on Championship Round suggests that a day off is nothing to worry about.
“Second place feels like a win to me,” Thrift said. “My hat’s off to Jacob, and I have no complaints about my week. It’s a great feeling to finish well in my first Major League Fishing event.”
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Ott DeFoe rode a strong morning bite to a commanding lead in the second period. He caught the Berkley Big Bass of the Day, weighing in at six pounds 15 ounces, within 90 minutes of Period 1. As the sun passed overhead, Thrift assumed a seemingly comfortable lead before Wheeler took control for good with an impressive flurry of fish catches:11 in one hour, 24 for the day.
“I caught two right away and then the first spot dried up,” DeFoe said. “They weren’t set up the same as they were yesterday, and I couldn’t get them fired up.”
The Phoenix Boats Daily Leader award went to Jacob Wheeler with 68 pounds.
The B&W Hitches Stage One presented by Power-Pole Championship Round finished as follows:
Place Angler Total Weight Total Fish Largest Fish Winnings
1 Jacob Wheeler 68-00 24 4-10 $100,000
2 Bryan Thrift 40-11 13 5-11 $42,000
3 Ott DeFoe 34-09 10 6-15 $30,000
4 Alton Jones, Jr. 26-12 9 4-08 $24,000
5 Dustin Connell 24-00 6 5-11 $18,000
6 Brent Chapman 20-10 8 3-12 $16,800
7 Takahiro Omori 16-04 5 4-08 $15,600
8 Brett Hite 9-13 3 3-11 $14,400
9 Jordan Lee 5-10 2 3-08 $13,200
10 Adrian Avena 4-03 2 2-03 $12,000
For complete results from the entire week, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com, Bass Pro Tour, Results.
The Bass Pro Tour continues next week, February 21-26, with Favorite Fishing Stage Two presented by Bass Cat on Lake Okeechobee (Fla.). Each day begins with launch 7:15 a.m. local time before lines-in at 8:00 a.m. Period 1 ends at 10:30 a.m. Period 2 spans 10:45 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. Period 3 begins at 1:30 p.m. and lasts until day’s end at 4:00 p.m. The General Tire Takeout show airs approximately 4:15 – 5:15 p.m. as anglers return to the ramp and interact with fans.
Fans around the world can catch all the action every day of competition on MLFNOW! livestream on MajorLeagueFishing.com or download the MLF App for your Apple or GooglePlay device or on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV).
About the Bass Pro Tour:
The Bass Pro Tour began in 2019 and features 80 of the best professional anglers in the world, including Kevin VanDam, Edwin Evers, Aaron Martens, Mike Iaconelli, Jordan Lee, and Skeet Reese. Each stage includes six days of competition using the Major League Fishing, catch-weigh-and-immediately-release format, where every bass over a variable minimum weight, which is two pounds on Lake Eufaula for Stage One, toward a cumulative weight total for the day. Variable minimum weights are determined by fishery akin to a golf course handicap. The field of 80 anglers is divided into two groups of 40 to compete on days one and two respectively for the Shotgun Round. On days three and four, the Elimination Round culls the field based on a combined 2-day total weight from each angler’s Shotgun and Elimination Round. The top 20 anglers from each group in the Elimination Round (40 total) advance to the Knockout Round on day five, which determines who will compete on that final day, the Championship Round, for the Stage title and $100,000.
Each of Eight Stages of the Bass Pro Tour have the following payout schedule: 1st $100,000; 2nd $42,000; 3rd $30,000; 4th$24,000; 5th $18,000; 6th $16,800; 7th $15,600; 8th $14,400; 9th $13,200; 10th $12,000; 11th – 40th $6,000; Big Bass Daily $1,000; Big Bass Overall $1,000.
In addition to the economic impact on a host community, Major League Fishing showcases the region through their award-winning, live and linear programming. Each Stage of the Bass Pro Tour is broadcast live on the Major League Fishing app, MyOutdoorTV (MOTV), and majorleaguefishing.com, totaling more than 325 hours of original programming. Fans can follow the fast-paced nature of the MLF format as it unfolds on the live leaderboard through “SCORETRACKER® updates.” Highlights from each Stage of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour will air on Discovery Network beginning in July 2020 and Sportsman Channel in early 2021.