MASSENA, N.Y. (July 29, 2021) – A field of 154 bass-fishing professionals from around the world began their four-day competition for a top award of $135,000 at the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Savage Arms Stop 6 at the St. Lawrence River Presented by Abu Garcia Thursday in Massena, New York.

Berkley pro John Cox of DeBary, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit of St. Lawrence River smallmouth totaling 24 pounds, 12 ounces to take the early lead after Day 1. Cox holds a slim 7-ounce lead over pro Joey “Cowboy” Cifuentes of Clinton, Arkanas, who caught five bass weighing 24-5, good for second place.

“I am in absolute shock to be leading this thing,” Cox laughed after weighing in. “I’m not kidding – this was probably the worst practice that I have ever had before. Coming into today I was thinking, ‘If I can somehow catch 18 or 20 (pounds) and maybe catch a couple tomorrow I could get out of here with a check.’ And I would have taken that. I was shooting for 50th place. So to weigh what I did today is just unreal.”

Cox said that he caught just seven fish on the day – all before noon.

“I didn’t catch many, but the ones that I did catch were the right ones,” Cox said. “Tomorrow I’m going to try to do what I did today and just bounce around and hit some new areas. I tried so hard to make those areas that I fished in the Bass Pro Tour event here last month work, but I couldn’t catch anything. They’re not even the same areas anymore – there is grass growing in now and it’s just changed completely. I had to change everything up and treat this place like I’d never fished it before.”

Cox spent the afternoon scouting new areas and trying to find a couple of spots that could possibly carry him through the remainder of the four-day tournament.

“It looks so good when I weigh in 24 pounds, and it was a lot of fun today, but I’ve got nothing for tomorrow,” Cox went on to say. “All I can do is keep trying to find new stuff, but honestly I think I’ll be lucky to catch five again.”

The top 10 pros after Day One the St. Lawrence River are:

1st:        John Cox, DeBary, Fla., five bass, 24-12
2nd:       Joey “Cowboy” Cifuentes, Clinton, Ark., five bass, 24-5
3rd:       Ron Nelson, Berrien Springs, Mich., five bass, 23-7
4th:       Miles Howe, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., five bass, 22-10
5th:       Matthew Stefan, Junction City, Wis., five bass, 22-7
6th:       Alex Davis, Albertville, Ala., five bass, 22-0
6th:       Erik Luzak, Fenelon Falls, Ontario, Canada, five bass, 22-0
8th:       Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 21-8
9th:       Tom Monsoor, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 21-2
10th:     Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 21-0

For a full list of results visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Stefan won Thursday’s $500 Berkley Big Bass award, weighing a 6-pound, 8-ounce smallmouth to earn the day’s award.

Overall, there were 711 bass weighing 2,270 pounds, 12 ounces caught by the 153 pros on Thursday, which included 124 five-bass limits.

The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Savage Arms Stop 6 at the St. Lawrence River Presented by Abu Garcia is hosted by the Town of Massena.

In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of 154 anglers compete in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advance to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continue competition on Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.

Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where they will compete for up to $235,000. The 2021 TITLE will be on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Aug. 17-22, and is hosted by Explore La Crosse.

Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. ET, Thursday through Sunday, from the Massena Intake Boat Launch located at 1415 State Highway 131 in Massena. Weigh-ins will also be held at the boat launch daily at 3 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend the event or follow the action online through the MLF NOW! live stream and coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Savage Arms Stop 6 Presented by Abu Garcia at the St. Lawrence River will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the Outdoor Channel on Sunday, Sept. 1 from 7 to 9 a.m. ET and re-air on the Sportsman Channel this fall. Weigh-ins will be streamed daily and fans can catch live on-the-water action all day Saturday and Sunday, July 31 – Aug. 1 on MLF NOW! beginning at 7 a.m. ET at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the MLF BIG5’s social media outlets at FacebookTwitterInstagram and  YouTube.

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