BROOKELAND, Texas (Jan. 27, 2022) – Pro Josh Butler of Hayden, Alabama , weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 15 ounces Thursday to grab the early lead after Day 1 of the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Guaranteed Rate Stop 1 at Sam Rayburn Reservoir Presented by Ark Fishing. Pros Jeff Bridges of Prosper, Texas and Keith Carson of DeBary, Florida ended the day tied for second place, just 5 ounces behind Butler, after each bringing a 19-10 limit to the scale.
In its 27th season, the Pro Circuit features a roster of 158 of the world’s best bass-fishing professionals competing across six regular-season events, each with a top award of up to $135,000. The tournament marks the first of six regular-season Pro Circuit events and offers competitors a total purse of more than $850,000.
“Today started out great,” said Butler. “I went to my first spot this morning and had a school fire up right off the bat and caught a quick limit of 11-12 pounds within the first hour. After that I just went out deep looking for some bigger fish, anywhere from 15 to 25 feet, and just bounced around. I probably hit 30 places throughout the day, got lucky and caught a few big ones.”
A great start indeed for the second-year pro who is fishing his first tournament on the Sam Rayburn Reservoir.
“I came over here the first of January and fished three days of pre-practice, and obviously the two days of practice this week, but this was my first day to compete on Rayburn.”
Butler said getting off to a really good start on the first day of the first event was his primary focus going into the 2022 season.
“The worst thing you can do is put yourself behind on the first day of the year,” said Butler. “I won’t say I was just wanting to survive this tournament; I mean I felt like I could go catch 12 to 13 pounds but getting off to a really strong start on the first day means a lot. Now I just need to try to keep the momentum going and see if I can put it together for tomorrow as well.
“I feel very blessed,” continued Butler. “I got lucky today and caught two big ones. I think I can go catch 10-12 more tomorrow, but we’ll see. It’s Rayburn, so the big ones definitely live here.”
The top 10 pros after Day 1 on the Sam Rayburn Reservoir are:
1st: Josh Butler of Hayden, Ala., five bass, 19-15
2nd: Jeff Bridges of Prosper, Texas, five bass, 19-10
2nd: Keith Carson of DeBary, Fla., five bass, 19-10
4th: Matt Becker of Finleyville, Pa., five bass, 18-8
5th: Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 18-7
6th: Barron Adams of Mineral Bluff, Ga., five bass, 17-12
7th: Dakota Ebare of Brookeland, Texas, five bass, 17-10
8th: Laramy Strickland of Bushnell, Fla., five bass, 16-10
9th: Jacob Wall of New Hope, Ala., five bass, 16-5
10th: Dylan Hays of Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 16-2
For a full list of results visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Bridges won the day’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass award after bringing a bass weighing 10 pounds, 6 ounces to the scale.
Overall, there were 702 bass weighing 1,664 pounds caught by 156 pros Thursday. The catch included 120 five-bass limits.
The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Guaranteed Rate Stop 1 at Sam Rayburn Reservoir Presented by Ark Fishing is hosted by the Jasper County Development District.
In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of 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, where weights are zeroed, and the winner is determined by the heaviest weight from the final day of competition.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2022 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE Presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where they will compete for up to $235,000. The 2022 TITLE will be on the St. Lawrence River in Massena, New York on Aug. 16-21, and is hosted by the Town of Massena.
Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. CT each day from the Umphrey Family Pavilion, located at 5438 RR 255 in Brookeland. Texas. Weigh-ins will also be held at the park daily at 3 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend the event or follow the live on-the-water action all four days of competition online on MLF NOW! beginning at 7:30 a.m. CT at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Guaranteed Rate Stop 1 at Sam Rayburn Reservoir Presented by Ark Fishing will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the CBS Sports Network on Saturday, July 2 from 7 to 9 a.m. ET.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Fuel Me, Gary Yamamoto Baits, General Tire, Lew’s, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.