Bass Pro Tour Set to Launch Fifth Season Next Week at B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Presented by Grundéns

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. (Feb. 8, 2023) – Major League Fishing (MLF), the world’s largest tournament fishing organization, is set to open the fifth season of the Bass Pro Tour, the top level of professional bass fishing, next week on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes – the B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One on the Kissimmee Chain Presented by Grundéns.

The six-day event, hosted by the Kissimmee Sports Commission, will showcase 80 of the top professional anglers in the world, including bass-fishing superstars like Kevin VanDam, Ott DeFoe, Jacob Wheeler, Jordan Lee, and REDCREST Champions Edwin Evers and Dustin Connell. They’ll be competing for a purse of more than $805,000, including a top payout of $100,000 and valuable Angler of the Year (AOY) points in hopes of qualifying for the General Tire Heavy Hitters All-Star event and REDCREST, the Bass Pro Tour championship.

This event marks the third time that the MLF Bass Pro Tour will hold an event on the Kissimmee Chain – the most visited venue in the circuit’s history. The first ever Bass Pro Tour event was held on the Kissimmee Chain in January of 2019, with a return to Kissimmee in June of 2020 for the inaugural General Tire Heavy Hitters event. The same angler – Alabama’s Jordan Lee – has won both times the Bass Pro Tour has visited the Kissimmee Chain.

“I’m no Florida fishing wizard, but I understand that the lakes are always changing from year to year, and you have to be willing to adapt and fish the conditions,” said Lee. “Some years, the best bite is on Toho and others, it’s in Kissimmee. Cypress can also be good, any of them or the others in the chain could be the winning area. It varies based on the vegetation and to be successful, you need to narrow it down to the right one in two days of practice.”

Lee believes the timing of this event in mid-February is ideal for both the fishing and weather.

“This time of year in Florida is all about the cold fronts and that will be the biggest deciding factor in how good the fishing is,” he said. “You’ll always catch big fish in Florida, but a nice warming trend will push more fish shallow because they want to spawn.”

Traditional Florida fishing tactics should play in this event, according to Lee. He listed flipping, pitching, vibrating jigs, and prop baits as likely producers.

“There will also be some sight fishing going on,” Lee said. “The biggest key here is being in the right area with the best-looking grass. That’s true everywhere in the country, but even more important in Florida, where the fish tend to be more sensitive to having the cleanest water.”

On the Bass Pro Tour, pros compete using the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, with each angler’s five (5) heaviest bass per day tallied as their day’s weight. Anglers strive to catch their heaviest five fish each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the live scoring SCORETRACKER® leaderboard. The tournament will be filmed for broadcast on the Discovery Channel in July.

Anglers will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. ET from Big Toho Marina, located at 69 Lakeview Drive in Kissimmee. 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 Saturday, Feb. 18, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. MLF will welcome fans of all ages to come in to celebrate the top 10 and crown the Stage 1 Champion at the Trophy Presentation. The final 10 Championship Round Bass Pro Tour anglers will be on hand at the trophy celebration to meet and greet fans, sign autographs, and take selfies.

The B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Presented by Grundéns will feature anglers competing with a 1-pound, 6-ounce 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 2023 MLF 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, fishing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and REDCREST 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship, held March 13-17, 2024, on a fishery to be announced.  

The 40 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day qualifying round on Monday and Wednesday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Tuesday and Thursday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the top 20 anglers from each group advance to Friday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed, and the remaining 40 anglers compete to finish in the top 10 to advance to the Championship Round. In the final day Championship Round, weight carries over from the Knockout Round and the angler with the heaviest two-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action live on all six days of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 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 at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Presented by Grundéns will air as two, two-hour episodes starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, July 15 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with re-airings on the Outdoor Channel.

Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, Ark Fishing, ATG + Wrangler, B&W Trailer Hitches, Bally Bet, Bass Cat Boats, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, Daiwa, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Ferguson, Fox Rent A Car, General Tire, Grundéns, Humminbird, Lowrance, Minn Kota, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Power-Pole, Rapala, Star tron, T-H Marine, TORO, Toyota, U.S. Air Force, Yellowstone Bourbon, Yo-Zuri and Zoom Baits.

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.