OSAGE BEACH, Missouri (May 2, 2022) – It was a spectacular ending on the SCORETRACKER® on Monday afternoon, as several pros battled it out for the automatic spot in the championship round on Thursday. With less than five minutes remaining on the day of competition, pro Jesse Wiggins of Addison, Alabama grabbed a big mouth to take first place, giving him 13 scoring bass hitting 34 pounds even to take the win. Monday during the Group A qualifying round at the MLF Bass Pro Tour Bass Boat Technologies Stage 4 on the Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Bass Cat in Osage Beach, Missouri.
Link to hi-res photo of Group A qualifying winner Jesse Wiggins
Link to the video of the highlights of the second qualifying day of group A
Wiggins’ two-day catch of 24 scoring basses totaling 63 pounds, 4 ounces, earned him the qualifying round victory by a mere 11 ounces margin over General Tire pro Alton Jones, Jr. of Waco, Texas, who caught a two-day total of 23 scoring basses 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 basses weighing 57-11 to finish the round in third, while Berkley pro Jordan Lee of Cullman, Alabama finished the round in fourth. with a two-day total of 19 basses for 57-8. Rounding out the top five was day one leader and Gainesville, Fla. pro Shaw Grigsby, who caught a two-day total of 20 basses for 56-3 to advance to fifth.
There was a flurry of movement along the Toro Cut Line as well as the day ended, with Cullman, Alabama pro Matt Lee catching two big mouths with minutes to spare, to sneak into the Top 20 and end the day in 17and place. Bass Pro Shops pro Timmy Horton of Muscle Shoals, Alabama also caught two basses in the final minutes to advance to 18and place, but Toyota pro Terry Scroggins of San Mateo, Fla., made the biggest moves of the third period, including a 5-pound, 3-ounce kicker at the end of the day, to go from 36and place up to 13and and advance to Wednesday’s knockout round.
The top 20 anglers in Group A will now have a day off on Tuesday, while the 40 anglers competing in qualifying Group B will complete their two-day qualifying round. The Knockout Round, with 38 anglers competing to finish in the top eight, takes place on Wednesday. Thursday’s championship round will feature Wiggins, Tuesday’s Group B winner, and the top eight anglers from the knockout round who will face off in a shootout on the final day for the $100,000 top prize.
“We’re in the championship round after back-to-back top 10s – I can’t believe it,” Wiggins said. “Especially after the day I’ve had – I’ve lost a 3 ½ lbs and several 2 lbs right here on the boat. It’s just crazy. Behind those cables around the docks you never know what’s going to happen. I’m used to it, so I’m not panicking, and it worked today – we pulled off a miracle here at the end.
It’s the second time the Alabama pro has won the qualifying round for his group, though the first time was in 2019 on Smith Lake, before the automatic spot was offered to anglers.
“I saved that best stretch for the end of the day,” Wiggins said. “I caught tons of 14-inch bucks in practice and I knew if one of those big ones slipped here it could get interesting. This is also where I caught them on the first day. I let them settle all day today, no one touched them, and came back at the end of the day and caught three good ones.
Wiggins said the latter part of the day gave him great confidence that he would be able to get back to all his other areas during the championship round as he believes there are others coming.
“I caught all my fish on a St. Croix Legend Elite 7 foot 1 inch spinning rod, medium heavy with extra fast action with 30 pound Seaguar Smackdown braided line in stealth gray and Seaguar red tag of 12 lbs. Fluorocarbon Line,” Wiggins said. “It’s bigger, but the water is dirty and these fish are spawning so you can get away with a bigger line.”
Wiggins said he threw in a homemade 3/16 ounce shaker head, but the key was the Jackall 6.8 Flick Shake Worm.
“I bit the Flick Shake at about 5 inches, but it’s got this little tail on it – something about that tail is driving them crazy,” Wiggins said. “The water is dirty and I wanted a thicker profile with a short worm, a bit like a stick worm type bait, but that tail makes all the difference.
“If you think being on the cut line is stressful, it’s stressful,” added Wiggins. “I didn’t show it because I had one thing in mind, to put that leadhead in front of another bass, but lordy pity. All my lines are broken, no leaders, all my worms are cut in half, I have millions of flick shake worms lying around, but we are in the championship now and we have 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, features 80 of the world’s top professional bass anglers competing for an $805,000 purse. , including a cash first prize of $100,000 to the winner. The tournament is streamed live daily on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MOTV app, and also filmed for broadcast later this fall on the Discovery Channel.
The top 20 pros from Qualifying Group A who now advance to Wednesday’s knockout round on the Lake of the Ozarks are:
1st: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Alabama, 24 bass, 63-4
2n/a: Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, 23 bass, 62-9
3rd: Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, 17 bass, 57-11
4and: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Alabama, 19 bass, 57-8
5and: Shaw Grigsby, Gainesville, Fla., 20 bass, 56-3
6and: Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 15 bass, 49-9
7and: Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, 17 bass, 47-5
8and: Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Alabama, 12 bass, 43-1
9and: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 13 bass, 41-1
tenand: Chris Lane, Guntersville, Alabama, 13 bass, 40-5
11and: Shin Fukae, Thomson, Georgia and Osaka, Japan, 13 bass, 40-4
12and: Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., 13 bass, 38-3
13and: Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., 12 bass, 38-1
14and: Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., 14 bass, 37-11
15and: Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla., 12 bass, 37-11
16and: Anthony, Gagliardi, 14 bass, 36-14
17and: Matt Lee, Cullman, Alabama, 14 bass, 36-13
18and: Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 11 bass, 36-12
19and: Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, 13 bass, 34-13
20and: Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., 11 bass, 34-11
A full list of results is available at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 229 scoring bass weighing 667 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 38 pros on Monday, including 23 four-pounders, seven five-pounders and one six-pounder.
Chris Lane of Gunterville, Alabama caught a 6-pound, 1-ounce bigmouth in period 2, throwing a River2Sea Whopper Plopper into a pocket to win the $1,000 Berkley Big Bass prize of the day. Berkley awards $1,000 to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass each day and a bonus of $3,000 to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass in the tournament.
The 40 anglers in Group A took part in their two-day qualifying round on Saturday and Monday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Sunday and Tuesday. At the end of each two-day qualifying round, anglers who finish 2nd through 20th in both groups qualify for Wednesday’s knockout round, while the winner of each group advances directly to the championship round. of Thursday. In the Knockout Round, the weights go to zero and the remaining 38 anglers compete to finish in the top 8 and qualify for the Championship Round. On the final day of the championship, the weights go to zero and the highest total in one day wins the top prize of $100,000.