Alton Jones Leads Day One of Group B Qualifying of 2022 MLF BPT at Lake Fork

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QUITMAN, Texas (Feb. 20, 2022) – It was the Alton Jones, Sr., show for the start of Group B’s Qualifying Round at  the Toro Stage Two on Lake Fork Presented by Grundéns in Quitman, Texas. The affable Lorena,

MLF BPT Lake Fork Group B Qualifying Day One Leader Alton Jones – photo courtesy Major League Fishing

Texas, pro caught the most bass, the biggest bass, and the most weight, Sunday to grab the early lead for Group B. Jones caught 18 bass weighing 80 pounds, 7 ounces to pace the 40-angler field.

Fellow Texan Dakota Ebare of Brookeland, fishing in just his second career Bass Pro Tour event, sits in second place, 14 pounds, 15 ounces back of Jones with 17 bass totaling 65-8. Pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tennessee, finished the day in third place with 17 bass for 61-5, while Shelby, North Carolina’s Bryan Thrift caught 10 bass totaling 42-13 to end the day in fourth place. Costa pro Casey Ashley of Donalds, South Carolina, rounds out the top five, as he caught 11 bass weighing 40 pounds, 15 ounces.

The 40 anglers in Group B will now have an off day on Monday, while the 40 anglers competing in Group A will complete their two-day Qualifying Round of competition. Group B will conclude their Qualifying Round on Tuesday.

The six-day event, hosted by the Lake Fork Area Chamber of Commerce, the Wood County EDC, the Sabine River Authority and the Rains County Tourism Board, showcases 80 of the top professional 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.

“Whew, what a great day today was, and my hats are off to the guys who got close to me,” Jones said as time expired. “Today couldn’t have been better – it was much better than my practice – and the rest of the field still kept up. I still can’t believe I caught an 11-2 today.”

Jones is satisfied with what he discovered Sunday and thinks his pattern will hold no matter what the weather does later in the event. Wednesday’s Knockout Round and Thursday’s Championship Round are forecasted to be substantially colder.

“I expanded my area and feel like I can still catch fish here if the weather gets bad,” Jones said. “I’m going to keep mixing it up, fishing slowly and fast, because I know how the fish are positioned and know what to look for, even if they move around in here.”

The top 20 pros in Group B after Day 1 on Lake Fork are:

1st:          Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, 18 bass, 80-7
2nd:         Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 17 bass, 65-8
3rd:         Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 17 bass, 61-5
4th:         Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 10 bass, 42-13
5th:         Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., 11 bass, 40-15
6th:         Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 11 bass, 38-4
7th:         Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., 11 bass, 33-6
8th:         Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., eight bass, 31-8
9th:         Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., seven bass, 30-14
10th:       Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., nine bass, 30-5
11th:       Roy Hawk, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., six bass, 29-11
12th:       Dave Lefebre, Erie, Pa., five bass, 29-2
13th:       Alton Jones Jr., Waco, Texas, eight bass, 28-15
14th:       Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., seven bass, 25-0
15th:       Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., six bass, 24-13
16th:       Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., six bass, 23-10
17th:       Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., six bass, 23-9
18th:       Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla., six bass, 22-12
19th:       Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., five bass, 19-5
20th:       Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., seven bass, 19-1

A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, on Sunday, there were 241 scorable bass weighing 904 pounds, 5 ounces caught by 39 pros.

Jones also caught the third-largest bass in MLF Bass Pro Tour history Sunday, weighing 11 pounds, 2 ounces, 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 compete 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 Oak Ridge Marina, located at 2949 TX-154 in Quitman, Texas. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the Marina, beginning at 4:30 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.

The Toro Stage Two on Lake Fork Presented by Grundéns will feature 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 Toro Stage Two on Lake Fork Presented by Grundéns will premiere at 7 a.m. ET, Sept. 17 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, TwitterInstagram, and  YouTube.

About Major League Fishing
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.