Thursday, July 25, 2024

One Fish for $100K – MLF’s General Tire Heavy Hitters All-Star Event Set to Compete on Kissimmee Chain Next Week

Date:

Pro Chris Lane, who won when the Bass Pro Tour last visited the Kissimmee Chain in 2023, will be among the 30 competitors competing at General Tire Heavy Hitters next week in Kissimmee. (Photo by Phoenix Moore)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (May 9, 2024) – One lucky angler is going to catch one bass on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes next week and walk away $100,000 richer.

Major League Fishing (MLF), the world’s largest tournament fishing organization, is set to return to Kissimmee, Florida, May 18-23, for the fifth-annual General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

Hosted by Experience Kissimmee, the All-Star tournament will showcase the 30 pros that qualified from the 2023 Bass Pro Tour season competing in a no-entry-fee tournament for a top prize of $100,000 to the winner. Anglers will also be awarded Big Bass Bonuses during the competition, that pay up to $100,000 for catching the single biggest bass.

To qualify for General Tire Heavy Hitters, the weight of an angler’s single-largest bass from each event of the seven 2023 Bass Pro Tour events was recorded. The 30 anglers with the heaviest total from those seven bass qualified to compete in this event.

“We are pleased to welcome back Major League Fishing Heavy Hitters to Lake Toho and the Kissimmee area,” said Tyler Weyant, Director of Sports Development for the Kissimmee Sports Commission. “We’re honored to host this prestigious event once again, building on the success of our collaboration back in June 2020. To all participants, families, and friends joining us for the tournament, I encourage you to take full advantage of your time here in Kissimmee. Explore local shops, savor the flavors of our diverse restaurants, and immerse yourselves in the culture of our city. Your support not only enhances your experience but also contributes to the vitality of our community.”

This event marks the fourth time that the MLF Bass Pro Tour will hold an event on the Kissimmee Chain – extending Kissimmee’s record as the most-visited venue on the Bass Pro Tour. 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.

When the Bass Pro Tour last visited the venue to open the season in 2023, Power-Pole pro Chris Lane used his encyclopedic knowledge of Lake Kissimmee and understanding of Florida bass to coax bites from the heavily pressured fishery and catch enough bass to take home the big red trophy and $100,000 payday.

“The Kissimmee Chain is a big bass factory – we’re going to catch them all over the place,” said Lane, who grew up fishing the chain with his grandfather, father and brothers. “I think it’ll take an 8-plus-pounder every day to win the big bass award. It’s a great time of the year to be fishing there, I am ready to go and can’t wait to get back out there again.”

Lane said that he expects the majority of fish to be in their postspawn patterns, but he wouldn’t be at all surprised if there still were some fish found on beds.

“You just never know down there. Two years ago, at Lake Okeechobee, they flooded the banks in May,” Lane said. “Now obviously that’s a little different story than here, but it goes to show that you never know what the fish are going to be doing until you get there. I can definitely see guys catching some spawners.

“All four lakes – Hatchineha, Cypress, Toho and Kissimmee – are good, and any cast on the chain could be a giant,” Lane continued. “I think guys are going to spread out, and we’re going to see some substantial weights. I’ll be interested to see how much forward-facing sonar plays next week. It will probably be a factor.”

Lane said that he’ll have his signature baits tied on and expects to use them all heavily – the River2Sea Lane Changer, Bass Pro Shops XPS Chaos Shad, Bass Pro Shops XPS Crawdigy Craw, and the bait that he won on in 2023 – the Bass Pro Shops Stik-O Worm.   
 
“The key is going to be not going more than an hour without a bite,” Lane said. “If you get in a lull there, you’re in trouble. In a five-fish format, you can weather those lulls, but in the Bass Pro Tour format, you need to keep stacking them on the SCORETRACKER. It’s going to be important to keep the momentum up for as long as you can.”

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 park, 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 MLFNOW! live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

On Days 1 and 2 of the event, Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. MLF will welcome fans of all ages to visit Big Toho Marina located at 69 Lakeview Drive in Kissimmee, to watch the pros live on the MLFNOW! big screen, enjoy free food, enter to win hourly giveaways and cheer on their favorite pros. The first 50 kids 14 and under will receive a free rod and reel from Pure Fishing each day. Heavy Hitters competitors will cross the stage at 4:30 p.m. following lines out and will be available to meet and greet fans, sign autographs and take selfies.

The General Tire Heavy Hitters at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Presented by Bass Pro Shops features the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, in which anglers catch as much weight as they can each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the SCORETRACKER® leaderboard. A bass must meet the 2-pound minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable in the Qualifying and Knockout Rounds, but for the final day Championship Round a bass must weigh at least 3 pounds to be deemed scorable.

The 15 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day qualifying round on Saturday and Monday – the 15 anglers in Group B on Sunday and Tuesday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the top eight anglers from both groups advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round weights are zeroed, and the remaining 16 anglers compete to finish in the top 10 to advance to the Championship Round. In Thursday’s final-day Championship Round, weights are zeroed, and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

In addition to the tournament, Big Bass Bonuses are awarded in each round of competition with payouts of $10,000, $30,000 and $100,000 awarded to the single biggest fish in the Group A & B Qualifying, Knockout and Championship rounds.

The 30 anglers that will be competing in General Tire Heavy Hitters at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Presented by Bass Pro Shops are:

Group A:
Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J.
Matt Becker, Ten Mile, Tenn.
Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala.
Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn.
Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn.
David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va.
Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas
Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif.
Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla.
Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas
Marty Robinson, Lyman, S.C.
Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala.
Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark.
Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C.
Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn.

Group B:
Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas
Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C.
Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark.
Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala.
Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala.
Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C.
Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C.
Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan
Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala.
Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark.
Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La.
Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas
Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla.
Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich.
Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala.

The MLFNOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee 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. MLFNOW!®  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com, the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app, and Rumble.

Television coverage of the General Tire Heavy Hitters 2024 Presented by Bass Pro Shops will be showcased across six two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, Aug. 10 and running each Saturday through Sept. 14 on Discovery. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, with re-airings on the Outdoor Channel.

Proud sponsors of General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops include: Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Barbasol, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, BUBBA, Fishing Clash, General Tire, Kubota, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak Fishing, NITRO, Onyx, Plano, Power-Pole, REDCON1, Star brite, Toyota, U.S. Air Force and YETI.

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, XInstagram and  YouTube.



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