Stephen Browning Leads Day One of MLF BPT Lake D’Arbonne

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MONROE-WEST MONROE, La. (Feb. 5, 2022) – Chilly temperatures in the mid-20s greeted the 40 Bass Pro Tour anglers in Group A competing on Lake D’Arbonne Saturday morning. It was a cold, tough day on

MLF BPT Group A Day One Lake D’Arbonne Leader Stephen Browning – photo courtesy Major League Fishing

the water for most, but a few 5-, 6- and 7-pound D’Arbonne largemouth still made their national debuts on the MLF NOW! livestream.

After the final bass had been tallied, Hot Springs, Arkansas, pro “The Puma” Stephen Browning caught six bass weighing 21 pounds, 2 ounces, to grab the early lead for Group A on Day 1 of the B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One Presented by Power-Pole in Monroe-West Monroe, Louisiana.

The six-day event, hosted by Discover Monroe-West Monroe, 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 being filmed for broadcast later this fall on the Discovery Channel.

Browning will bring a 3-pound, 4-ounce, lead into Monday’s second day of competition for Group A. In second place on the SCORETRACKER® leaderboard is Favorite Fishing pro Mark Daniels Jr. of Tuskegee, Alabama, who caught eight bass totaling 17-14. Shelby, North Carolina’s Bryan Thrift, sits in third place with eight bass weighing 17-1. Rounding out the top five are pro Cody Meyer of Star, Idaho , who caught four bass for 14-9 and Bass Pro Tour newcomer Jeremy Lawyer of Sarcoxie, Missouri, who weighed in four bass totaling 13 pounds even.

The 40 anglers in Group A will now have an off day from competition Sunday, while the 40 anglers competing in Group B will begin their first day of competition. Group A will resume competition on Monday.

Browning had a tough morning, catching only one bass for 2½ pounds in the first period. He added two more in the second period, then three in the third period – including a 6-pound, 4-ounce brute and a solid 4-pound, 4-ounce scorable bass – to catapult to the top of the leaderboard.

“It’s been a good day – you can’t complain when you’re in the lead against this crew of anglers,” Browning said. “I’m up in the D’Arbonne Bayou area of Lake D’Arbonne, fishing shallow flats – future spawning areas for these fish. It was tough, but I’ve got confidence in my bait, confidence in my equipment and confidence in my area. That is a big key to success in these grinder-tournaments.”

Browning said that he targeted standing timber and trees – specifically cypress trees that were still alive with green leaves – in 4 to 6 feet of water.

“If I fished any shallower than that, I didn’t get bit,” Browning said. “My key bait was a 3/8-ounce black and blue jig, with a 7-foot, 4-inch St. Croix Legend Elite and a Lew’s Tournament Pro 8:3:1 reel, with 20-pound Gamma Fluorocarbon Edge line. It’s a combination that I’ve got a lot of confidence in, and we put it to work today.

“Overall, it’s a good start to the 2022 season and that is a big deal,” Browning went on to say. “Momentum is very important – we saw what Michael Neal did last week at Sam Rayburn. I had a good day, and now I am looking forward to the challenge of Day 2. I don’t want to go to the Knockout Round on Caney – I want to go straight to Bussey Brake.”

The top 20 pros in Group A after Day 1 on Lake D’Arbonne are:

1st:          Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., six bass, 21-2
2nd:         Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., eight bass, 17-14
3rd:         Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., eight bass, 17-1
4th:         Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, four bass, 14-9
5th:         Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., four bass, 13-0
6th:         Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, five bass, 11-7
7th:         Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., two bass, 11-6
8th:         Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., four bass, 10-13
9th:         Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., three bass, 10-6
10th:       Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., four bass, 9-10
11th:       Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., four bass, 9-8
12th:       Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., three bass, 9-5
13th:       Gary Klein, Mingus, Texas, two bass, 8-12
14th:       Shinichi Fukae, Osaka, Japan, three bass, 8-10
15th:       Alton Jones Jr., Waco, Texas, three bass, 7-15
16th:       Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., three bass, 7-8
17th:       Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., four bass, 6-15
18th:       Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., three bass, 6-13
19th:       Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., two bass, 6-2
20th:       Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., two bass, 5-9

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

Overall, there were 101 scorable bass weighing 269 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 37 pros on Saturday.

Cody Meyer earned the first $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award of the season Saturday, weighing a 7-pound, 8-ounce largemouth that bit his squarebill crankbait during Period 3 to earn the 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 Lake D’Arbonne 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 Tuesday’s Knockout Round on Caney Creek Reservoir, while the winner of each group advances directly to Wednesday’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 on Bussey Brake. In the final day Championship Round, weights are zeroed and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

In the four-day opening Qualifying Rounds, anglers will launch at 8:30 a.m. from the Lake D’Arbonne State Park, located at 3628 Evergreen Road in Farmerville, Louisiana. The Knockout Round will launch Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. from the Caney Creek Hooks Marina, located at 400 Spillway Road in Chatham, Louisiana. Thursday’s final day Championship Round on Bussey Brake will launch at 8:30 a.m. from Bonner Ferry Road, five miles northwest of Bastrop off of Hwy 593.

Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the respective launch ramps, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all takeoff and takeout ceremonies and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

As part of the event, fans will also have the opportunity to come out take part in the Major League Fishing Festival, part of the North Delta Boat & Outdoor Show at the Monroe Civic on Sun. Feb. 6, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival is a chance for fishing fans to meet pro anglers, register for the “Pick ‘Til You Win” game with a top prize of a 2022 Toyota Tundra or a 70-inch 4K UHD Smart TV, visit the MLF Kids Zone and the fishing pond, meet characters from the PAW Patrol courtesy of Kid Casters, and enjoy live concerts from local musicians each day. For more information on the Major League Fishing Festival and the North Delta Boat & Outdoor Show, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One Presented by Power-Pole features anglers competing with a 1-pound, 8-ounce minimum weight requirement on Lake D’Arbonne, and a 2-pound minimum weight requirement on Caney Creek and Bussey Brake 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 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. MLF NOW!®  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

Television coverage of the B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One Presented by Power-Pole will premiere at 7 a.m. ET, Sept. 3 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, John Deere Gator UTVs, 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.

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