Sunday, April 14, 2024

North Carolina’s Todd Walters Leaps Ahead to Lead Day 2 at Tackle Warehouse Invitational Stop 2 at West Point Lake

Date:

North Carolina pro brings 5-ounce lead into final day of competition

LAGRANGE, Ga. (March 2, 2024) – Weighing 18 pounds, 15 ounces on Day 2, Todd Walters of Kernersville, North Carolina, rocketed up from 32nd place to take the lead Saturday at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Tackle Warehouse Invitational Stop 2 Presented by Suzuki on West Point Lake. With a total of 31 pounds, 10 ounces, Walters is 5 ounces ahead of Concord, Virginia’s Derik Hudson and 11 ounces ahead of Day 1 leader Tyler Stewart of Dubach, Louisiana, entering Championship Sunday. Less than 4 pounds separates first place from ninth, so the final day of the event promises to be thrilling.

The three-day tournament, hosted by Visit LaGrange , featured a roster of 150 anglers competing for a top prize of up to $115,000 and an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2025. The field is now trimmed to 30 and the winner will be determined on Championship Sunday by heaviest three-day cumulative weight.

Link to Photo Gallery of Day 2 Afternoon Highlights
Link to Video of Fish-Catch Highlights of Day 2 on West Point Lake

Dock talk entering the event suggested that big largemouth would be key for the top performers, though perhaps difficult to find consistently. That has proven to be the case through the first two days, with each of the top four pros in the hunt thanks to one strong day keyed by big largemouth.

On Day 1, Walters weighed two largemouth and three spotted bass for 12-11. Today, he blasted up the leaderboard with four largemouth and one spot.

“I dedicated myself to staying shallow,” he said of Day 2.  “I was trying to fish brushpiles and crank and throw moving baits and stuff. But dead slick calm like today, there was only one way to catch them. You could see them in the trees and the brushpiles and stuff, just targeting them with LiveScope, and you could throw different stuff to them. I could see them go down for it — a lot of them are going down for it, but not a lot of them are getting it.”

Fishing shallow wood for the most part, Walters did most of his damage on a homemade jig, a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver and a Neko rig. According to the North Carolina pro, a big key is fishing in the right water clarity, which has changed a lot since practice, as the lake is clearing in some places and further muddying in others.

“I think I’ve got something figured out, but the water clarity is changing throughout the lake,” he said. “So, I’m trying to stay in the right water clarity. It seems like the fish are more active, more aggressive, feeding better in the right stuff. It’s right in between — if it’s too clear, they won’t commit to the bait. They’ll go down to it, but they won’t commit. If it’s the right clarity, they’ll go down to it, and 50 percent of them will bite.”

Though Walters is one of many in the field who had never been to West Point prior to this week, he likened it to some of the lakes along the Yadkin River in North Carolina. He’s optimistic about his ability to stay steady tomorrow, which has been tricky for the leaders so far.

“They’re around; I just have to get them to bite,” he said. “I might have to switch up and do more finesse stuff tomorrow. I noticed late in the day they were reacting to the Neko better. I just need to do what I’ve been doing. I need to just fish and trust my instincts. That’s been the biggest thing, not relying on a specific spot or a specific lure, just knowing that I’m around the right group of fish and figuring out through the day how to catch them.”

The top 30 pros advancing to the final day of competition on West Point Lake are:

1st:        Todd Walters, Kernersville, N.C., 10 bass, 31-10
2nd:       Derik Hudson, Concord, Va., 10 bass, 31-5
3rd:       Tyler Stewart, Dubach, La., 10 bass, 30-15
4th:        Ethan Greene, Eufaula, Ala., 10 bass, 29-12
5th:        Colby Miller, Elmer, La., 10 bass, 29-5
6th:        Troy Stokes, Trenton, Mich., 10 bass, 29-1
7th:        Drew Gill, Mount Carmel, Ill., 10 bass, 28-15
8th:        Ken Thompson, Roaring Springs, Penn., 10 bass, 28-14
9th:        Jake Lawrence, Buchanan, Tenn., 10 bass, 28-6
10th:      Taylor Parker, Lake View, Ala., 10 bass, 27-12
11th:      Alex Davis, Albertville, Ala., 10 bass, 27-7
12th:      Keith Carson, DeBary, Fla., 10 bass, 27-0
13th:      Cameron Mattison, Benton, La., 10 bass, 27-0
14th:      Alec Morrison, Peru, N.Y., 10 bass, 26-14
15th:      Cole Breeden, Lebanon, Mo., 10 bass, 26-13
16th:      Brody Campbell, Oxford, Ohio, 10 bass, 26-12
17th:      Jack Daniel Williams, Kingsport, Tenn., 10 bass, 26-11
18th:      Chris Blair, Newnan, Ga., 10 bass, 26-8
19th:      Brock Reinkemeyer, Warsaw, Mo., 10 bass, 26-8
20th:      Kelly Jordon, Flint, Texas, 10 bass, 26-4
21st:      Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., 10 bass, 25-10
22nd:     Kyle Cortiana, Broken Arrow, Okla., 10 bass, 25-8
23rd:     Brian Gay, LaGrange, Ga., 10 bass, 25-7
24th:     Spike Stoker, Cisco, Texas, 10 bass, 25-4
25th:     Marshall Hughes, Hemphill, Texas, 10 bass, 25-2
26th:     Brett Carnright, Plattsburgh, N.Y., 10 bass, 25-1
27th:     Charlie Williams, LaGrange, Ga., 10 bass, 24-15
28th:     Michael Harlin, Sunrise Beach, Mo., 10 bass, 24-13
29th:     Bobby Padgett, LaGrange, Ga., 10 bass, 24-12
30th:     Brad Jelinek, Lincoln, Mo., 10 bass, 24-10

Complete results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Jeff Harper of Fleming Island, Florida, earned Saturday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass award with a largemouth bass that weighed in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces.

Overall, there were 637 bass weighing 1,361 pounds even caught by 136 pros Saturday. The catch included 109 five-bass limits.

In Tackle Warehouse Invitational competition, the full field of 150 anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Friday and Saturday in a five-fish, weigh-in format. Only the top 30 pros, based on their two-day cumulative weight, now advance to the final round on Championship Sunday, where they will compete for the grand prize of up to $115,000. The winner of the Tackle Warehouse Invitational Stop 2 at West Point Lake Presented by Suzuki will be determined by the heaviest three-day cumulative weight and will receive an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2025 on Lake Guntersville in Huntsville, Alabama.

The final 30 anglers will launch at 7 a.m. ET Sunday from the Pyne Road Park Mega Ramp, located at 4481 Roanoke Road in LaGrange. Sunday’s Championship weigh-in will also be held at the ramp and will begin at 3 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all launch and weigh-in events and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLFNOW!® live stream and coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The MLFNOW! broadcast team of Chad McKee and Rob Newell will break down the extended action live on Championship Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. ET. MLFNOW! will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

Television coverage of the MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitationals Stop 2 at West Point Lake Presented by Suzuki will air as a two-hour episode, premiering at 9 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Oct. 12 on CBS Sports Network.

Tackle Warehouse Invitationals anglers will compete throughout the 2024 season for the prestigious Fishing Clash Angler of the Year award and its $50,000 payday. After  Stop 1 Presented by Power-Pole MOVE on Sam Rayburn, pro Drew Gill  of Mount Carmel, Illinois, is in the lead.

Fishing Clash – an interactive 3D fishing simulation game that’s played by more than 80 million people worldwide – is the official AOY sponsor of the Bass Pro Tour, Tackle Warehouse Invitationals, Toyota Series and Phoenix Bass Fishing League. You can download Fishing Clash for free in the App Store and on Google Play or log on to  www.fishingclash.game for more information.

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitationals include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, Fishing Clash, FX Custom Rods, General Tire, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak Fishing, Onyx, Phoenix Boats, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Suzuki Marine, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota and YETI.

For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com . For regular Tackle Warehouse Invitational updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the MLF5 social media outlets at FacebookInstagram  and YouTube.



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