Connell, Wheeler, Davis and Dudley Also Advance, 10 Anglers Set for Thursday
EUFAULA, Ala. (Feb. 24, 2021) – Pro Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma, weighed in eight bass totaling 25 pounds, 14 ounces Wednesday to win the Knockout Round (Group A) on Day 3 at REDCREST 2021, the Bass Pro Tour championship at Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama. The five-day competition features a field of 40 of the best anglers in the world from the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour competing for a top cash prize of $300,000.
Advancing alongside Birge to Friday’s Championship round are pros Dustin Connell, Jacob Wheeler, Mark Davis and David Dudley.
The full field of anglers competed in the two-day Qualifying Round on Days 1 (Monday) and 2 (Tuesday) of the event. The field was cut to just the top 20 based on two-day total cumulative weight. The remaining 20 anglers were split into two groups for the Knockout Round – 10 (Group A) competed on Day 3 (Wednesday) and 10 (Group B) will compete on Day 4 (Thursday). The top five anglers from each group based on total single-day weight will advance to the Championship Round, the fifth and final day of competition (Friday) where weights are zeroed and the angler that catches the highest total weight on the final day will be crowned the REDCREST 2021 champion.
Birge said that every fish that he has caught so far this week – minus the very last fish of the day today – has come on a white Omega Genesis TI spinnerbait.
“I’ve been doing pretty much the same thing all week, throwing a spinnerbait around brush,” Birge said. “Overall, today went pretty good for me. I caught more today than either of the two previous days, even though the fishing was tougher overall. I ran around and fished brush, pretty much all over the bottom quarter of the lake.
“The event is going to boil down to whether I can get enough bites,” Birge continued. “I know the fish are around, because I can see them. But it’s whether or not they will want to chew. I keep thinking that any day the fish are going to move to the bank and it’s going to off, but it just hasn’t happened yet. It could happen tomorrow, it could happen Friday, but it’s going to be soon.”
Birge has thrown the spinnerbait all week on a 7-foot, 3-inch Favorite Fishing rod with 20-pound-test Yo-Zuri T7 Premium Fluorocarbon line.
The top five pros that made the cut and will advance to Championship Friday on Lake Eufaula are:
1st: Zack Birge of Blanchard, Okla., eight bass, 25-14
2nd: Dustin Connell of Clanton, Ala., six bass, 17-4
3rd: Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn., five bass, 15-2
4th: Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark., three bass, 11-14
5th: David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., four bass, 10-14
The five pros eliminated from competition Wednesday are:
6th: Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., two bass, 7-10
7th: Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Ark., two bass, 5-12
8th: Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., one bass, 3-7
9th: Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., one bass, 3-7
10th: Fred Roumbanis of Russellville, Ark., zero bass
Full results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 31 bass weighing 101 pounds, 4 ounces caught by nine pros on Wednesday
VanDam won Wednesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award with a 5-pound, 6-ounce largemouth that he weighed in during Period 1. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler that weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $7,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.
The 10 anglers that will compete in the Group B Knockout Round on Thursday are:
Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan.
Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tenn.
Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla.
Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C.
Alton Jones Jr. of Waco, Texas
Jordan Lee of Cullman, Ala.
Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn.
Takahiro Omori of Tokyo, Japan
Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla.
Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C.
REDCREST 2021 Presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage, the Bass Pro Tour championship at Lake Eufaula, is hosted by the Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce.
Attendance is limited to competing anglers, essential staff and media covering the event only. Fans are encouraged to follow the event online through the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com
The 2020 Bass Pro Tour featured a field of 80 of the top professional anglers in the world competing in a COVID-shortened five regular-season tournaments around the country. The top 40 anglers in the Angler of the Year (AOY) standings after the five events qualified to compete in Bass Pro Shops REDCREST 2021 presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage.
The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action each day of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com. and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of REDCREST 2021 presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage, the Bass Pro Tour championship, will be showcased across two two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, July 3 on the Discovery Channel. A one-hour special episode of MLF Inside the REDCREST will premiere at 2 p.m. ET, Sunday, July 18 on CBS. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.
For complete details and updated information on REDCREST 2021, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.