ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. – Pro Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tennessee, caught 30 scorable bass totaling 73 pounds, 4 ounces to win the two-day Qualifying Group B round Monday at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour CarParts.com Stage Seven Presented by Covercraft at Lake St. Clair in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.
Strader’s two-day total of 64 bass weighing 166 pounds, 8 ounces earned him the round win by a 36-pound, 1-ounce margin and advances him directly into Wednesday’s final-day Championship Round of competition. The six-day tournament, hosted by Macomb County, St. Clair Shores and the Detroit Sports Commission, showcases the 80 top pro-bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a purse of $805,000, including a top cash prize of $100,000 to the winner.
While Lake St. Clair is widely known as a world-class smallmouth bass fishery, Strader has done his damage this week targeting solely largemouth.
“Finally! I’m so happy to win one. Golly bum, that is so hard to do,” Strader said in his post-game interview. “I tell you what’s even harder, though – I went against the grain and did it with the wrong species. What a great two days of fishing it has been.”
Like Day 1, Strader spent most of his day fishing shallow, alternating between a Z-Man Evergreen Jack Hammer ChatterBait paired with a Zoom Z-Swim and a Neko-rigged Zoom Zlinky.
“I don’t know what’s up with that spot – just more and more fish keep getting on it,” Strader continued. “I know it’s probably going to get played out, but I’m looking forward to getting back out there on Wednesday and seeing how this shakes out.”
Pro Fred “Boom Boom” Roumbanis of Russellville, Arkansas, caught a two-day total of 45 bass weighing 130-7 to end the round in second place. Favorite Fishing pro Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma, finished the round in third place with a two-day total of 41 bass weighing 122-6. Alton Jones Jr. of Waco, Texas, weighed in 37 scorable bass over two days totaling 115-14 to end the round in fourth, while local favorite Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, who qualified for this event via the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, rounded out the top five finishers with a two-day total of 39 bass weighing 107-2.
The remaining 38 anglers – 19 from Group A and 19 from Group B – will now compete Tuesday in the Knockout Round, where weights are zeroed, and the anglers compete to finish in the top eight to advance to Championship Wednesday. Wednesday’s Championship Round will feature Group A winner Michael Neal, Group B winner Wesley Strader, and the top eight anglers from the Knockout Round competing in a final-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000.
The top 20 pros in Qualifying Group B that now advance to Tuesday’s Knockout Round on Lake St. Clair are:
1st: Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., 64 bass, 166-8 – ADVANCES TO CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
2nd: Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., 45 bass, 130-7
3rd: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 41 bass, 122-6
4th: Alton Jones Jr., Waco, Texas, 37 bass, 115-14
5th: Scott Dobson, Clarkston, Mich., 39 bass, 107-2
6th: Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 27 bass, 93-5
7th: David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 30 bass, 91-10
8th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 32 bass, 91-5
9th: Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., 32 bass, 90-13
10th: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., 32 bass, 90-10
11th: Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., 29 bass, 86-8
12th: Jason Lambert, Michie, Tenn., 27 bass, 76-15
13th: Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., 25 bass, 73-15
14th: Matt Lee, Cullman, Ala., 26 bass, 73-11
15th: Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, 23 bass, 70-1
16th: Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 25 bass, 67-11
17th: Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., 24 bass, 66-10
18th: Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., 25 bass, 66-9
19th: Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., 22 bass, 61-5
20th: Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., 16 bass, 58-3
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 457 bass weighing 1,366 pounds, 2 ounces caught by 38 pros on Monday.
Birge won the $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award Monday with a 5-pound, 10-ounce smallmouth bass that he caught on a crankbait during Period 2. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler who weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.
The 40 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Lake St. Clair on Friday and Sunday – the 39 anglers in Group B on Saturday and Monday. Now that each two-day qualifying round is complete, the anglers that finish in 2nd through 20th place from both groups advance to Tuesday’s Knockout Round, while the winner of each group advances directly to Wednesday’s Championship Round. In tomorrow’s Knockout Round, weights are zeroed and the remaining 38 anglers compete to finish in the top 8 to advance to the Championship Round. In Wednesday’s final-day Championship Round, weights are zeroed and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.
Anglers will take off from the 9-Mile Ramp, located in St. Clair Shores, at 8 a.m. ET each day of competition. With strong winds being forecast for Tuesday, Bass Pro Tour Tournament Director Aaron Beshears has decided to allow Knockout Round competitors to trailer their boats. Anglers must remain at the 9-Mile Boat Ramp until 8 a.m. and then will be allowed to depart to the desired launch ramp of their choosing.
The General Tire Takeout ceremonies will also be held at the Launch Ramp, beginning at 5 p.m. each day. Fans are welcome to attend all takeoff and takeout ceremonies and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The CarParts.com Stage Seven at Lake St. Clair Presented by Covercraft features anglers competing with a 2-pound minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable. Minimum weights are determined individually for each competition waters that the Bass Pro Tour visits, based on the productivity, bass population and anticipated average size of fish in each fishery.
The Bass Pro Tour features a field of 76 of the top professional anglers in the world – joined at each event by 4 pros that qualify from the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit – competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, competing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2022 championship.
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 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the CarParts.com Stage Seven at Lake St. Clair Presented by Covercraft will premiere at 7 a.m. ET, Nov. 13 on the Discovery Channel. 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 the Bass Pro Tour, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.