Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Matt Becker Smacks 30½-Pound Limit to Lead Group B at MLF Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage Four on Lake Guntersville


Ten Mile, Tennessee Pro Catches 30-9 To Lead Big Early for Group B, Group A Anglers to Wrap Qualifying Round Thursday

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (May 17, 2023) – For the second day in a row, the young talent on the Bass Pro Tour is shining bright. After rookie pro Jacob Wall of New Hope, Alabama, took the lead for Group A on Tuesday, fellow Bass Pro Tour rookie Matt Becker of Ten Mile, Tennessee, followed suit on Wednesday. Becker caught 15 scorable bass Wednesday, with his top five weighing 30 pounds, 9 ounces, to jump out to the early lead for Qualifying Group B at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage Four at Lake Guntersville Presented by Bass Cat Boats. Becker will bring a comfortable 7-pound, 15-ounce advantage into Day 2 of competition on Friday over second-place angler Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, South Carolina, who weighed in five bass totaling 22-10 to end the day in second place.

The six-day event, hosted by Marshall County Tourism & Sports, showcases 80 of the top professional anglers in the world, 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 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship.

Link to HD Video – Fish-Catch Highlights of Group B Qualifying Round Day 1 on Lake Guntersville
Link to Photo Gallery of Group B’s Day 1 Qualifying Round Afternoon Highlights

The 40 anglers in Group B will now have an off day on Thursday, 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 Friday.

“That was the biggest bag of fish that I have ever caught in my life,” Becker said in his post-game interview. “I can’t believe that happened. That was just incredible. The Lord is so good, and he blessed me so much today. He put me to the test this morning – he really tested my patience. I could not get them to bite. I was looking at them on the graph and I could see them there, but they weren’t biting. Then I broke a couple of off… he was just testing me and putting me through it. And then he gave me a half hour towards the end of the day that was absolutely incredible.”

Becker said he struggled for the majority of the day before his exciting afternoon.

“I struggled pretty much all day,” he said. “I caught a limit in the first period for like 13 pounds, and then just very slowly upgraded. And then at 2:45 I caught a 6-pounder, and that’s when the magic started happening.

“I caught a 6-pounder and it got me to like 18 pounds, and then I decided I’m going to pull the trolling motor and go somewhere else. I ran down to this other spot, and it was mayhem for about 5 minutes. That got me up to 30 pounds, and it was absolutely incredible.”

Of the five fish that Becker scored Wednesday, three came on a crankbait and two came on a white hair jig.

“I had a ton of rods on my deck, and threw a bunch of different baits,” Becker said. “The key bait for me today, though, was the hair jig – a ledge staple and one of my favorite ways to catch them. It’s so much fun when they load up on the hair jig. I was throwing it on my Favorite Signature MDJ Hex rod – it’s a pretty big rod for big fish, 7-foot, 8-inch, heavy – with 15-pound Seaguar Invisx Fluorocarbon line and an 8.1:1 gear ratio reel.

“I’m very excited to have the lead, but I know that the work isn’t done,” Becker went on to say. “There is a lot of work left to do on Friday. Hopefully we can make the Knockout Round and go from there.”

The standings for the 40 pros in Group B after Day 1 on Lake Guntersville are:

1st:        Matt Becker, Ten Mile, Tenn., five bass, 30-9
2nd:       Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., five bass, 22-10
3rd:       Shin Fukae, Osaka, Japan, five bass, 22-6
4th:        John Hunter, Shelbyville, Ky., five bass, 21-14
5th:        Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., five bass, 21-4
6th:        David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 20-15
7th:        Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., five bass, 20-15
8th:        Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., five bass, 20-14
9th:        Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 19-14
10th:     Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., three bass, 19-6
11th:     Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, five bass, 19-1
12th:     Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., five bass, 18-9
13th:     Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Ala., five bass, 18-9
14th:     Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., five bass, 18-6
15th:     Alton Jones, Sr., Lorena, Texas, five bass, 17-10
16th:     Brent Chapman, Lake Quivira, Kan., five bass, 17-4
17th:     Matt Lee, Cullman, Ala., five bass, 16-14
18th:     Marty Robinson, Lyman, S.C., five bass, 16-10
19th:     Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky., five bass, 16-1
20th:     James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., five bass, 15-15
21st:      David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn., five bass, 15-15
22nd:    Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, five bass, 15-14
23rd:     Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., five bass, 15-11
24th:     Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., five bass, 15-8
25th:     Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., five bass, 15-2
26th:     Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., five bass, 14-11
27th:     Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., five bass, 14-5
28th:     Boyd Duckett, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 13-10
29th:     Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., three bass, 13-5
30th:     Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., five bass, 12-14
31st:      Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 12-11
32nd:    Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 12-8
33rd:     Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., five bass, 11-9
34th:     Gary Klein, Mingus, Texas, five bass, 11-9
35th:     Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., five bass, 11-2
36th:     John Murray, Spring City, Tenn., five bass, 11-1
37th:     Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., three bass, 10-15
38th:     Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla., five bass, 10-10
39th:     Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., four bass, 10-1
40th:     Tommy Biffle, Wagoner, Okla., three bass, 5-11

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

Overall, there were 344 scorable bass weighing 993 pounds, 10 ounces caught by the 40 pros Wednesday, which included 16 5-pounders and six 6-pounders.

Becker and pro Brett Hite of Phoenix, Arizona, shared Wednesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, as each weighed in a bass totaling 6-pounds, 13-ounces to split the daily prize. 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 Tuesday and Thursday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Wednesday and Friday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the top 20 anglers from each group advance to Saturday’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 Sunday’s 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.

Anglers will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. CT each day from the Guntersville Civitan Park, located at 1130 Sunset Drive in Guntersville. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the launch locations, 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.

As part of the event, on Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21 the MLF Fan Experience will be taking place at Civitan Park in Guntersville from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. MLF will welcome fans of all ages to celebrate fishing and the outdoors with concerts in the park, hosted by Explore Lake Guntersville, featuring JUICE on Saturday and Jackson Chase on Sunday. Food and drinks will be available from local food trucks and fans can check out the latest gear and offerings from MLF and MLF sponsors including Toyota, Favorite Fishing, Kubota, U.S. Air Force, and The Fallen Outdoors. On Sunday, fans can hang out and watch the pros live on the MLF NOW! big screen during the MLF Watch Party. 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 Toro Stage Four at Lake Guntersville Presented by Bass Cat Boats will feature pros competing 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. 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 Lay Lake in Birmingham, Alabama.  

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. CT. MLF NOW!®  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

Television coverage of the Toro Stage Four at Lake Guntersville Presented by Bass Cat Boats will air as two, two-hour episodes starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 14 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, 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.

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