Alabama pro Mark Daniels, Jr., Catches 20 Scorable Smallmouth Weighing 79-12 Win Qualifying Round for Group

In the biggest Qualifying Round comeback in Bass Pro Tour history, Tuskegee, Alabama, pro Mark Daniels, Jr., boated 20 scorable bass weighing 79 pounds, 12 ounces, to overtake Day 1 leader Arizona’s Josh Bertrand and win the Group A Qualifying Round Monday at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Bally Bet Stage Seven at Mille Lacs Lake Presented by Minn Kota in Onamia, Minnesota.

Daniels started the day in seventh place, with a 42-pound, 15-ounce deficit to leader Bertrand. Bertrand struggled, only catching eight keepers on the day for 25 pounds, while Daniels slowly rallied throughout the day, eventually overtaking Bertrand in the third period and coasting to the win by an 11-pound, 13-ounce margin. Daniels ended the two-day Qualifying Round with a two-day total of 32 bass for 123-10, while Bertrand finished second with 35 bass weighing 111-13.

The top 20 anglers from Group A will now have an off day from competition Tuesday, while the 40 anglers competing in Qualifying Group B will complete their two-day Qualifying Round. The Knockout Round, featuring 38 anglers competing to finish in the top eight, will take place Wednesday. Thursday’s Championship Round will feature Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuesday’s Group B winner, and the top eight anglers from the Knockout Round competing in a final-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000.

“Man, what a crazy, crazy day,” Daniels said in his post-game interview. “I went out this morning knowing I needed to catch a few bass to ensure I made the Knockout Round. I caught a few early – a couple of really big ones – and those five-pounders can really add up quick. Next thing you know, I’m 30 pounds back. But I’m still thinking no, that’s still quite a bit.

“So I keep plucking, just fishing around, and boom, I catch two or three more. Now I’m at 25. I keep fishing around and it’s just going down. 25. 17. 15. 11. Once I heard 15, I was like, ‘that’s only three or four bites, if they don’t start catching them pretty quick, I can probably make something happen.’ And that’s what happened. I just circled through areas where I knew fish were living and tried to maximize my fishing time. And man, I caught some big ones today.”

Daniels caught his bass mainly on a drop-shot rig, but he also added a few scorable keepers on a swimbait. He credited his Garmin electronics and Favorite Fishing HEX spinning rods as being the keys to his success.

“I was fortunate to win the round, and I couldn’t be any happier,” Daniels went on to say. “I just kept it simple, panning around, looking at my electronics, and making precise casts to targets. It was such fun day, and hopefully we can drag in some more like we did today on Championship Thursday.”

Bertrand, despite his Day 2 struggles, remained optimistic about his chances in Wednesday’s Knockout Round.

“Overall, it was a really tough day for me, but late in the day I learned a couple of things that can be really valuable for me in the Knockout Round,” Bertrand said. “The biggest thing that I learned is that when it’s calm, these fish definitely seem to get up and cruise the flats.

“In the Knockout Round, I’m going to use the same drop-shot rig with the same (Berkley PowerBait MaxScent) Hit Worm I was using in the deep boulders, but I’m going to a lighter weight,” he continued. “I am switching to a 3/8-ounce weight instead of the ½-ounce. I’m just going to lighten everything up and try to get a little stealthier.”

The top 20 pros in Qualifying Group A that now advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round on Mille Lacs Lake are:

1st:          Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 32 bass, 123-10 – ADVANCES TO CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
2nd:         Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., 35 bass, 111-13
3rd:         Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., 26 bass, 108-6
4th:         Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., 28 bass, 93-12
5th:         Brent Chapman, Lake Quivira, Kan., 30 bass, 86-3
6th:         Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 21 bass, 81-15
7th:         David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn., 22 bass, 81-12
8th:         Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 23 bass, 80-2
9th:         Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 21 bass, 79-4
10th:       Matt Lee, Cullman, Ala., 21 bass, 78-8
11th:       Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., 27 bass, 78-4
12th:       Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 22 bass, 78-1
13th:       Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla., 20 bass, 74-13
14th:       Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 20 bass, 73-11
15th:       Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, 23 bass, 72-5
16th:       Roy Hawk, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 21 bass, 72-5
17th:       Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., 20 bass, 72-0
18th:       Ish Monroe, Oakdale, Calif., 21 bass, 71-3
19th:       Marty Robinson, Lyman, S.C., 20 bass, 70-13
20th:       Boyd Duckett, Guntersville, Ala., 23 bass, 70-11

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

Overall, there were 381 scorable bass weighing 1,295 pounds, 13 ounces caught by the 40 pros Monday.

Pro Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Arkansas, earned Monday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award with a huge smallmouth weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces that he caught in Period 3 on a vibrating jig. Berkley awards $1,000 to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass each day, and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass of the tournament.

The six-day tournament, hosted by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, showcases 80 of the best professional anglers in the world competing for a purse of more than $805,000, including a top payout of $100,000 to the winner. The tournament is livestreamed each day at MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MOTV app, and also filmed for television broadcast later this fall on the Discovery Channel.

The 40 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Saturday and Monday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Sunday and Tuesday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the anglers that finish in 2nd through 20th place from both groups advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round, while the winner of each group advances directly to Thursday’s Championship Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed, and the remaining 38 anglers compete to finish in the top 8 to advance to the Championship Round. In the final day Championship Round, weights are zeroed, and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

Anglers will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. CT from Eddy’s Resort, located at 41334 Shakopee Lake Road in Onamia. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the Resort, 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.

On Championship Thursday, Sept. 15, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. MLF will host a Celebration Event for fans of all ages, inviting fans to come out and celebrate with the professional anglers from the Bass Pro Tour as they crown the champion of the Bally Bet Stage Seven on Mille Lacs Lake Presented by Minn Kota. The first 50 youth anglers 10 and under in attendance will receive a free Pure Fishing Shakespeare Kid’s Rod and Reel combo. 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.

The Bally Bet Stage Seven on Mille Lacs Lake Presented by Minn Kota 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 80 of the top professional anglers in the world competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, competing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and REDCREST IV, the Bass Pro Tour championship, which will be held next March on Lake Norman in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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

Television coverage of the Bally Bet Stage Seven on Mille Lacs Lake Presented by Minn Kota will premiere as a two-hour episode at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Nov. 19 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of tournament competition.

Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Bally Bet, Bass Cat, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Covercraft, Favorite Fishing, Garmin, General Tire, Googan Baits, Grundéns, Guaranteed Rate, Humminbird, Lowrance, Luminox, Mercury, Minn Kota, Mossy Oak, Nitro Performance Boats, Onyx, Plano, Power-Pole, Power Stop, Rapala, Starbrite, Toro, Toyota, Wrangler, Yellowstone Bourbon and Zoom.

For complete details and updated information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at FacebookTwitterInstagram and  YouTube.

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 Tulsa, Oklahoma, with offices 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. In 2019, MLF expanded its portfolio of catch, weigh, and immediately release events to include the sport’s strongest five-biggest-fish format tournament circuits. 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.

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