Dayton’s Michael Neal Takes Second at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit in Maryland

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MLF Pro Michael Neal getting it done on the Potomac River (MLF / Jody White)

MARBURY, Md.  (June 20, 2021) – Rookie Jacopo Gallelli of Florence, Italy, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 20 pounds even to win the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Federal Ammunition Stop 5 Presented by Lucas Oil at the Potomac River.

Gallelli’s four-day total of 20 bass weighing 65 pounds, 3 ounces earned him the win by a 2-pound, 5-ounce margin over pro Michael Neal of Dayton, Tennessee, and the top prize of $100,000, making him the first European to ever win a professional bass-fishing event in the United States.

Gallelli fished one area in Potomac Creek all four days of the competition – an area that produced the biggest limit of the tournament on Championship Sunday – where he moved back and forth, running to the top, then drifting down with the wind.

“It’s kind of amazing – It’s been such a long road and I’ve had so many things happen this season that just weren’t going my way, so to end up here with this win is absolutely amazing,” said Gallelli. “This trophy means way more than the money for me. I’ve invested my entire life trying to achieve this level of fishing in my career, and I am finally here. I came 5,000 miles across the ocean to make this day happen.

“It’s been such a sacrifice and the sacrifice has continually grown,” continued Gallelli. “If I go back home, I cannot keep competing. I’ve missed my son’s birthday, Christmas, New Years, Easter and now it sounds like I probably cannot go back to Italy until the beginning of the fall. But I will be coming back with something great. It’s not about the money – it’s about coming home with one of these [trophies].

“The only thing that would have made this a better Father’s Day celebration is if I were able to hold this trophy with my son,” continued an emotional Gallelli. “I dedicate this win to my son, Lapo – Ciao Lapo.”

Gallelli is the first European to ever win a high-level tournament in the U.S.

“Believe it or not, this is the very first event I have ever won in the United States,” said Gallelli. “I’ve had a lot of good results on the lower-level circuits, but never a win, so finally I’ve made my win happen when it really counts. This is as good as it can be. I feel like I am watching from outside my body right now. It’s just unbelievable.”

Gallelli went up against some of the biggest names in tournament bass-fishing on Championship Sunday, making the victory even more important for the rookie angler.

“I know I just beat some of the best in the sport, but honestly it’s not only my skill – it’s the support that I’ve had from everyone,” said Gallelli. “Thousands of people were cheering for me today from Italy and Europe, cheering like there was no future and I was about to win a soccer championship. I don’t even have the courage to open my phone. It’s been ringing and lighting up non-stop – everyone is calling and sending messages.

“This win is not big because of me,” continued Gallelli. “It’s big because 40 years ago someone launched a bass-fishing tournament in Italy and one young kid started dreaming. I’d like to thank those pioneers of bass fishing in Europe for bringing this idea of fishing to Europe and to Italy.

“This is a win not only for me but for the entire European bass-fishing movement. It’s incredible.”

The top 10 pros at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Federal Ammunition Stop 5 on the Potomac River finished:

1st:           Jacopo Gallelli of Florence, Italy, 20 bass, 65-3, $100,000
2nd:          Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn., 20 bass, 62-14, $30,000
3rd:          Cody Meyer of Star, Idaho, 20 bass, 62-11, $25,700
4th:           Ricky Robinson of Greenback, Tenn., 20 bass, 60-14, $20,000
5th:           Adrian Avena of Vineland, N.J., 20 bass, 60-1, $19,500
6th:           Justin Cooper of Zwolle, La., 20 bass, 59-12, $18,000
7th:           Lawson Hibdon of Versailles, Mo., 20 bass, 59-5, $17,000
8th:           Shin Fukae of Osaka, Japan, 20 bass, 59-4, $16,000
9th:           Terry Bolton of Benton, Ky., 20 bass, 58-3, $15,000
10th:        Josh Bragg of Jacksonville, Ala., 20 bass, 56-3, $14,000

Full results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 50 bass weighing 149 pounds, 8 ounces caught by the final 10 pros Sunday. All of the final 10 pros brought a five-bass limit to the scales.

The four top performers who now qualify to compete in the MLF Bass Pro Tour Stage Six Presented by Googan Baits at Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, New York, Aug. 5-10, are Jacopo Gallelli, Ricky Robinson, Justin Cooper and Lawson Hibdon.

The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Federal Ammunition Stop 5 Presented by Lucas Oil at the Potomac River event will feature a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the Outdoor Channel on Sunday, August 29 from 7 to 9 a.m. ET and re-air on the Sportsman Channel this fall.

The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Federal Ammunition Stop 5 Presented by Lucas Oil at the Potomac River is hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners.

In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advanced to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continued 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.

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 Facebook , TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

About MLF BIG5
MLF BIG5 is part of MLF, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization. It provides anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money across five tournament circuits featuring a five-biggest-fish format. Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with offices in Benton, Kentucky, MLF and its partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Zimbabwe.

MLF tournaments are broadcast on Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, World Fishing Network, MyOutdoorTV, Discovery and CBS Sports while MLF Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros to the world’s most avid bass anglers.

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