Pro angler Jesse Wiggins of Addison, Alabama is leading the pack in the Major League Fishing’s Bass Boat Technologies Stage Four on Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Bass Cat.
Wiggins secure his place in the championship round by catching 13 largemouth bass, weighing 34 pounds during the Group A Qualifying Round Monday.
Wiggins’ two-day catch of 24 scorable bass, all totaling 63 pounds, earned him the Qualifying Round win by a mere 11-ounce margin over General Tire pro Alton Jones, Jr. of Waco, Texas who caught a two-day total of 23 scorable bass to finish the round in second place.
The top 20 anglers from Group A will now have an off day from competition Tuesday, while the 40 anglers competing in Qualifying Group B will complete their two-day Qualifying Round.
The Knockout Round, featuring 38 anglers competing to finish in the top eight, will take place Wednesday.
Thursday’s Championship Round will feature Wiggins, Tuesday’s Group B winner and the top eight anglers from the Knockout Round competing in a final-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000.
OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (May 2, 2022) – It was a dramatic finish on the SCORETRACKER® Monday afternoon, as several pros battled it out for the automatic berth to the Championship Round on Thursday. With less than five minutes left in the competition day, pro Jesse Wiggins of Addison, Alabama caught a largemouth to take over the top spot, giving him 13 scorable bass weighing 34 pounds even to earn the win Monday during the Group A Qualifying Round at the MLF Bass Pro Tour Bass Boat Technologies Stage Four on Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Bass Cat in Osage Beach, Missouri.
Wiggins’ two-day catch of 24 scorable bass totaling 63 pounds, 4 ounces, earned him the Qualifying Round win by a mere 11-ounce margin over General Tire pro Alton Jones, Jr. of Waco, Texas who caught a two-day total of 23 scorable bass weighing 62-9 to finish the round in second place. Garmin pro Alton Jones, Sr. of Lorena, Texas caught a two-day total of 17 bass weighing 57-11 to finish the round in third, while Berkley pro Jordan Lee of Cullman, Alabama, ended the round in fourth place with a two-day total of 19 bass for 57-8. Rounding out the top five was Day One leader and Gainesville, Florida pro Shaw Grigsby, who caught a two-day total of 20 bass for 56-3 to advance in fifth place.
There was a flurry of movement along the Toro Cut Line as well as the day wrapped up, with Cullman, Alabama pro Matt Lee catching two largemouth with minutes to spare, to squeeze into the Top 20 and end the day in 17th place. Bass Pro Shops pro Timmy Horton of Muscle Shoals, Alabama also caught two bass within the final minutes to slide up into 18th place, but Toyota pro Terry Scroggins of San Mateo, Florida made the biggest moves in period three, including a 5-pound, 3-ounce kicker at the end of the day, to jump from 36th place up to 13th and move on to Wednesday’s Knockout Round.
The top 20 anglers from Group A will now have an off day from competition Tuesday, while the 40 anglers competing in Qualifying Group B will complete their two-day Qualifying Round. The Knockout Round, featuring 38 anglers competing to finish in the top eight, will take place Wednesday. Thursday’s Championship Round will feature Wiggins, Tuesday’s Group B winner and the top eight anglers from the Knockout Round competing in a final-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000.
“We’re in the Championship Round after back-to-back top 10’s – I can’t believe it,” Wiggins said. “Especially after the day I’ve had – I lost a 3 ½-pounder and multiple 2-pounders right here at the boat. It’s just been crazy. Getting behind these cables around the docks, you just never know what’s going to happen. I’m used to it though, so I don’t panic, and it worked today – we pulled off a miracle here at the end.”
This marks the Alabama pro’s second time to win the Qualifying Round for his group, although the first time was in 2019 on Smith Lake, before the automatic berth was offered to anglers.
“I saved this best stretch for the end of the day,” Wiggins said. “I caught tons of 14-inch bucks during practice and I knew if any of those big ones slid up in here, it could get interesting. It’s where I caught them on Day One as well. I let them set up all day today, nobody touched it, and I came back at the end of the day and caught three good ones.”
Wiggins said the last stretch of the day gave him great confidence that he’ll be able to go back through all his other areas during the Championship Round because he believes there are more of those big ones coming.
“I caught all my fish on a 7-foot, 1-inch St. Croix Legend Elite Casting Rod, medium-heavy with extra-fast action with Seaguar 30-pound Smackdown Braided Line in Stealth Gray and a 12-pound Seaguar Red Label Fluorocarbon Line,” Wiggins said. “It’s bigger, but the water’s dirty and these fish are spawning so you can get away with bigger line.”
Wiggins said he threw a homemade 3/16-ounce shaky head, but the key was the Jackall 6.8 Flick Shake Worm.
“I bit the Flick Shake off to about 5 inches, but it’s got that little tail on it – something about that tail just drives them crazy,” Wiggins said. “The water’s dirty and I wanted a thicker profile with a short worm, kind of like a stick worm-style bait, but that tail makes all the difference.
“If you think being on the cutline is stressful – that right there is stressful,” Wiggins added. “I wasn’t showing it because I had one thing in mind, to get that jighead in front of another bass, but lordy mercy. All my lines are broke, no leaders, all my worms are cut in half, I got millions of Flick Shake worms laying around, but we are in the Championship now and we got two days to get everything rigged and ready.”
The six-day tournament, hosted by Central Missouri’s Tri-County Lodging Association, the Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Council and BassingBob.com, showcases 80 of the top pro bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a purse of $805,000, including a top cash prize of $100,000 to the winner. The tournament is livestreamed each day at MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MOTV app, and also filmed for broadcast later this fall on the Discovery Channel.
The top 20 pros in Qualifying Group A that now advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round on Lake of the Ozarks are:
1st: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., 24 bass, 63-4
2nd: Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, 23 bass, 62-9
3rd: Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, 17 bass, 57-11
4th: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., 19 bass, 57-8
5th: Shaw Grigsby, Gainesville, Fla., 20 bass, 56-3
6th: Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 15 bass, 49-9
7th: Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, 17 bass, 47-5
8th: Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., 12 bass, 43-1
9th: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 13 bass, 41-1
10th: Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., 13 bass, 40-5
11th: Shin Fukae, Thomson, Ga. and Osaka, Japan, 13 bass, 40-4
12th: Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., 13 bass, 38-3
13th: Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., 12 bass, 38-1
14th: Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., 14 bass, 37-11
15th: Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla., 12 bass, 37-11
16th: Anthony, Gagliardi, 14 bass, 36-14
17th: Matt Lee, Cullman, Ala., 14 bass, 36-13
18th: Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., 11 bass, 36-12
19th: Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, 13 bass, 34-13
20th: Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., 11 bass, 34-11
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 229 scorable bass weighing 667 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 38 pros Monday, which included 23 four-pounders, seven five-pounders and one six-pounder.
Gunterville, Alabama’s Chris Lane caught a 6-pound, 1-ounce largemouth in Period 2, throwing a River2Sea Whopper Plopper in a pocket to earn the day’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 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.
Anglers will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. from the Grand Glaize Marina Recreation Area, located at 711 Public Beach Road in Osage Beach. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the Marina, beginning at 4 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.
On Championship Thursday, May 5, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. 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 Bass Boat Technologies Stage Four on Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Bass Cat. 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 Bass Boat Technologies Stage Four on Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Bass Cat features 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 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 Bass Boat Technologies Stage Four on Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Bass Cat will premiere as two two-hour episodes at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Oct. 15 and Saturday, Oct. 22 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, Bally Bet, 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.