40 Anglers Advance to Thursday’s Knockout Round at the MLF Bass Pro Tour on Lake Murray

April 5, 2023

Reading Time: 5 minutes

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 40 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Sunday and Tuesday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Monday and Wednesday. Now that each two-day qualifying round is complete, the top 20 anglers from each group advance to Thursday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed, and the remaining 40 anglers compete to finish in the top 10 to advance to the Championship Round. In Friday’s final day Championship Round, weight carries over from the Knockout Round and the angler with the heaviest two-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

Group A (Results from April 4, 2023): Favorite Fishing pro Jonathon VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, caught six scorable bass, with his best five weighing 19 pounds, 14 ounces to earn the win Tuesday during the Group A Qualifying Round at the MLF Bass Pro Tour.

VanDam’s two-day Qualifying Round catch of 10 bass totaling 41-12 earned him the win by a 2-pound, 8-ounce margin over General Tire pro Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, South Carolina, who caught a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 39-4 to finish in second place. Pro Dakota Ebare of Brookeland, Texas, caught a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 38-10 to finish the round in third, while Leesburg, Ohio’s Cole Floyd, ended the round in fourth place with a two-day total of 10 bass for 38-2. Rounding out the top five was rookie Matt Becker of Ten Mile, Tennessee, who caught 10 bass weighing 36-12 to advance in fifth place.

“I’m doing my best to set myself up for the Knockout Round,” VanDam continued. “I found a couple of more groups of fish, and a couple of them with some really big ones around. Hopefully the weather will help a little bit and they’ll get to chewing.”

Group A top 20 pros advancing are:
1st:          Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 10 bass, 41-12
2nd:         Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., 10 bass, 39-4
3rd:         Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 10 bass, 38-10
4th:         Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, 10 bass, 38-2
5th:         Matt Becker, Ten Mile, Tenn., 10 bass, 36-12
6th:         Gary Klein, Mingus, Texas, 10 bass, 36-9
7th:         Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., 10 bass, 35-15
8th:         Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 10 bass, 35-14
9th:         Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 10 bass, 35-4
10th:       John Hunter, Shelbyville, Ky., 10 bass, 34-11
11th:       Marty Robinson, Lyman, S.C., 10 bass, 33-14
12th:       Brent Chapman, Lake Quivira, Kan., 10 bass, 33-8
13th:       Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., 10 bass, 33-5
14th:       Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., 10 bass, 33-1
15th:       John Murray, Spring City, Tenn., 10 bass, 32-13
16th:       Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, 10 bass, 32-11
17th:       Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., 10 bass, 32-3
18th:       Alton Jones, Sr., Lorena, Texas, 10 bass, 32-0
19th:       Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla., 10 bass, 31-14
20th:       Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., 10 bass, 31-13


Group B (Results from April 5, 2023): Pro Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part, Louisiana, had the best Qualifying Round – 10 bass weighing 41 pounds, 15 ounces, to win Group B and advance along with the top 20 finishers into Thursday’s Knockout Round.

Googan Baits pro Dustin Connell of Clanton, Alabama, who held the lead early in Period 1 before backing off his fish, caught a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 39-8 to end the Qualifying Round in second place. Day 1 leader, rookie Nick LeBrun of Bossier City, Louisiana, caught 10 bass weighing 39-2 to finish the round in third. Both held the lead for periods of time Wednesday, but both were eventually overtaken by Crochet.

“Man, it feels a lot better being inside the cut then it does being outside the cut, when time runs out,” Crochet said in his post-game interview. “It was a perfect day, today. I started out early and caught a couple of fish, and it went down pretty good. Just chunk after chunk, and I caught the weight that I needed to move onto the Knockout Round.”

Group B top 20 pros advancing are:
1st:          Cliff Crochet, Pierre Part, La., 10 bass, 41-15
2nd:         Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 10 bass, 39-8
3rd:         Nick LeBrun, Bossier City, La., 10 bass, 39-2
4th:         Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., 10 bass, 38-5
5th:         Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan, 10 bass, 37-9
6th:         Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, 10 bass, 37-5
7th:         Dave Lefebre, Erie, Pa., 10 bass, 36-3
8th:         Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 36-3
9th:         Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 35-3
10th:       Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 35-0
11th:       Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., 10 bass, 34-7
12th:       Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 34-4
13th:       Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 33-13
14th:       Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., 10 bass, 33-12
15th:       Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., 10 bass, 33-12
16th:       James Watson, Lampe, Mo, 10 bass, 33-6
17th:       Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 10 bass, 33-3
18th:       Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, 10 bass, 33-1
19th:       Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., 10 bass, 32-12
20th:       Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 10 bass, 32-5

A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Anglers will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. ET each day from Dreher Island State Park, located at 3677 State Park Road in Prosperity. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the launch locations, 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 MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Championship Friday: Trophy Presentation and Meet & Greet

On Championship Friday, April 7, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. MLF will welcome fans of all ages to visit Dreher Island State Park and celebrate the top 10 and crown the Fox Rent A Car Stage Three at Lake Murray Champion at the Watch Party and Trophy Presentation. The final 10 Championship Round Bass Pro Tour anglers will be on hand at the trophy celebration to meet and greet fans, sign autographs, and take selfies.

Watch the Action Live

The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action live everydat of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. MLF NOW!®  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

Television coverage of the Fox Rent A Car Stage Three at Lake Murray Presented by Mercury will air as two, two-hour episodes starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 7 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, with re-airings on the Outdoor Channel.

About Major League Fishing
Major League Fishing (MLF) is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, producing more than 250 events annually at some of the most prestigious fisheries in the world, while broadcasting to America’s living rooms on CBS, the Discovery Channel, the Outdoor Channel, CBS Sports Network, the World Fishing Network and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, the MLF roster of bass anglers includes the world’s top pros and more than 30,000 competitors in all 50 states and 13 countries. Since its founding in 2011, MLF has advanced the sport of competitive fishing through its premier television broadcasts and livestreams and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for bass through research, education, fisheries enhancement and fish care. Major League Fishing – WE ARE Bass Fishing™

About Capital City/Lake Murray Country
CCLMC is the official source for all things Lake Murray Country. Find information on attractions, dining, hotels, outdoor recreation, fishing, golf, and events to plan your next trip. Explore The Top Southern Destinations of Columbia, Richland, Lexington, Newberry, and Saluda. For more information about CCLMC visit LakeMurrayCountry.com or call 803-781-5940 | 1-866-SC-Jewel.