Drew Gill Wins Tackle Warehouse Invitational Stop 1 Presented by Power-Pole MOVE at Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Illinois Pro Catches 26-Pound, 3-Ounce Final Day Limit to Vault to Top of Leaderboard and Earn $80,000 First Place Prize

BROOKELAND, Texas (Feb. 11, 2024) – Drew Gill has been on a heater for a while, and it was only a matter of time before the LiveScope whizz closed out a high-level win. Today, after sacking up 26 pounds, 3 ounces on Championship Sunday, Gill took home the title at Stop 1 Presented by Power-Pole MOVE on Sam Rayburn Reservoir with a 69-6 total.

Gill topped fellow electronics master Jake Lawrence (second, 67-15), and had enough to overcome local Marshall Hughes’ (third, 67-4) mega-bag on Day 2, which put him more than 6 pounds ahead of the pack initially. For the win, Gill pocketed $80,000, and locked up his 2025 REDCREST qualification early.

Though still a fledgling circuit, Gill is now the youngest to win an Invitationals event, setting the mark to beat at 21 years, 8 months. Historically speaking, when you factor in FLW Tour stats, Gill slots in between Stetson Blaylock’s win at Lake Norman in 2009 (21 years, 7 months) and Jacob Wheeler’s 2012 Forrest Wood Cup title (21 years, 10 months).

The consensus favorite for Fishing Clash Angler of the Year in the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals, Gill has started the season about as good as you can. Just last week, he finished third in the Bass Pro Tour season opener on Toledo Bend, and, for good measure, the 21-year-old also finished 19th in the Abu Garcia College Fishing National Championship with partner Evan Fields back in January.

Nothing is a really a long time coming when you’re 21, but getting over the hump for the W was a big deal for Gill.

“Any year you can do consistently well and have a lot of Top 10s is a win in itself,” said Gill. “Goal No. 1 every year is always Angler of the Year. Goal No. 1 is not to win an event. However, that is a very close goal No. 2, and to be able to accomplish that in the first event of the Invitationals season after having a third at Toledo last week, I could not be more stoked for how fishing is going right now.”

Love it or hate it, any list of the best anglers with forward-facing sonar has Gill on it, and he rode his signature strength to victory this week. Seeming to always find enough fish for a quality bag (and to trigger enough fish to bite), he stayed ahead of a lot of other anglers trying to do similar things.

A big part of that was recognizing that he needed to leave winter behind and get closer to the bank. Luckily, that might be where his LiveScope skills shine the most – when it comes to shallow ‘Scoping, Gill is near or at the top of the list.

“The first day of the tournament, I was trying to replicate what I found in practice,” he explained. “I was catching them at the fronts of main-lake pockets and drains – the very main lake. I noticed they were going down and eating my Damiki (rig) off the bottom, and I didn’t think that was going to work all week.

“Day 2, I was throwing a Damiki and a Neko, and fishing more drains than the fronts of creeks,” Gill added. “Today, I was fishing midway back of just about every pocket I fished. These were short main-lake pockets and not big main creeks; those were unmanageable and there weren’t enough fish for me to fish a major creek. If five fish roll up into an area that’s a mile long, I’m not going to find them. If they roll up into a place that’s 400 yards long, your odds of running into those five big ones is pretty high.”

For his jighead minnow, Gill used a 3/16-ounce head and a 4-inch bait. For his Neko, he used a 6-inch Big Bite Baits Shaking Squirrel Worm, a 1/8-ounce weight and a No. 1 Roboworm Rebarb Hook.

On the last two days, when Gill honed his approach, he was fishing specifically for bass that were low in the water column and not too far from classic later-winter and prespawn things.

“I was fishing some transition areas, basically – places that were adjacent to a contour or a drain, and I had to have some sort of cover in conjunction with that that would lead them along an edge,” Gill said. “Something that would lead them swimming one direction or another and keep them on a path that I could predict. I was running edges of grass, edges of rock, edges where sand dropped off a couple feet; places where bass should travel along, and the few good ones I was around, I could run right into them.

“Almost every big one I caught this week ate it off the bottom,” he said. “I was in about 7 to 14 feet of water most of them time, and generally they would be 2 or 3 feet above the bottom. Not suspended, but hovering almost, like a maglev train. They’d follow it down … ‘bonk, zzzzzzzzz.’”

The last few years have seen a lot of young anglers excel on big stages. Some of it is collegiate fishing, some of it is skill with electronics, some of it is networking. A lot of it is time on the water with forward-facing sonar, which may have taught us more about bass behavior than every magazine ever printed. Gill is the perfect storm, a passionate young angler who has learned as much about bass in the last few years as many will learn in a lifetime.

“When you spend as many hours watching fish behave in their natural environment as I have, you’re destined to learn a lot about fish behavior, and you’re going to be really good at reading their movements,” said Gill.  “I’ve spent a lot of time watching fish, not listening to fishermen or the logic built up in bass fishing lore. I’ve just gone out and watched fish behave, around their food, with the cover they relate to, with the contours they use. When you understand that much about fish, they become pretty predictable.”

The top 30 pros at the Tackle Warehouse Stop 1 Presented by Power-Pole MOVE at Sam Rayburn Reservoir finished:

1st          Drew Gill, Mount Carmel, Ill., 15 bass, 69-6, $80,000
2nd:       Jake Lawrence, Buchanan, Tenn., 15 bass, 67-15, $50,000
3rd:       Marshall Hughes, Hemphill, Texas, 15 bass, 67-4, $20,000
4th:        Cal Lane, Guntersville, Ala., 15 bass, 65-5, $18,000
5th:        Keith Poche, Cecil, Ala., 15 bass, 64-15, $17,000
6th:        Nick Hatfield, Greeneville, Tenn., 15 bass, 62-7, $17,000
7th:        Mark Condron, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 15 bass, 59-3, $15,000
8th:        Nick LeBrun, Bossier City, La., 15 bass, 58-9, $14,000
9th:        Alec Morrison, Peru, N.Y., 15 bass, 58-0, $13,000
10th:     Ramie Colson, Jr., Cadiz, Ky., 15 bass, 58-0, $12,000
11th:     Dillon Harrell, New Caney, Texas, 15 bass, 57-7, $10,000
12th:     Jordan Wiggins, Cullman, Ala., 15 bass, 54-13, $10,000
13th:     Jaden Parrish, Liberty, Texas, 15 bass, 54-9, $10,000
14th:     Andrew Nordbye, Guntersville, Ala., 15 bass, 54-8, $10,000
15th:     Brody Campbell, Oxford, Ohio, 15 bass, 53-13, $10,000
16th:     Matt Becker, Ten Mile, Tenn., 15 bass, 53-12, $10,000
17th:     Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 15 bass, 52-15, $10,000
18th:     Ty Faber, Pagosa Springs, Colo., 15 bass, 52-10, $10,000
19th:     Brock Reinkemeyer, Warsaw, Mo., 15 bass, 52-7, $10,000
20th:     Lane Olson, Forest Grove, Ore., 15 bass, 51-7, $10,000
21st:      Cole Breeden, Lebanon, Tenn., 15 bass, 51-3, $10,000
22nd:    Terry Fisher, Decatur, Ala., 15 bass, 51-3, $10,000
23rd:     Britt Myers, Jr., Lake Wylie, S.C., 15 bass, 50-4, $10,000
24th:     Kelly Jordon, Flint, Texas, 15 bass, 50-2, $10,000
25th:     Jacob Walker, Springville, Ala., 15 bass, 48-7, $10,000
26th:     Michael Harlin, Sunrise Beach, Mo., 15 bass, 48-1, $10,000
27th:     Rick Harris, Kingsland, Texas, 15 bass, 47-14, $10,000
28th:     Mitchell Robinson, Landrum, S.C., 15 bass, 47-9, $10,000
29th:     Kyle Hall, Granbury, Texas, 15 bass, 46-10, $10,000
30th:     Clayton Batts, Butler, Ga., 15 bass, 45-10, $10,000

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

Overall, there were 150 bass weighing 535 pounds, 3 ounces caught by the final 30 pros Sunday. All 30 final day competitors weighed in a five-bass limit.

The three-day tournament, hosted by the Jasper County Development District, featured a roster of 150 anglers competing for a top prize of up to $115,000. The next Tackle Warehouse Invitational event will take place March 1-3 at the Tackle Warehouse Invitational Stop 2 on West Point Lake in LaGrange, Georgia.

In Tackle Warehouse Invitational competition, the full field of 150 anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Friday and Saturday in a five-fish, weigh-in format. Only the top 30 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advanced to the final round on Championship Sunday. The winner of the Tackle Warehouse Invitational Stop 1 Presented by Power-Pole MOVE at Sam Rayburn Reservoir was be determined by the heaviest three-day cumulative weight and now receives an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2025 on Lake Guntersville in Huntsville, Alabama.

Television coverage of the MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitationals Stop 1 Presented by Power-Pole at Sam Rayburn Reservoir will air as a two-hour episode, premiering at 9 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Oct. 5 on CBS Sports Network.

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitationals include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, Fishing Clash, General Tire, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak Fishing, Onyx, Phoenix Boats, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota and YETI.

For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular Tackle Warehouse Invitational updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the MLF5 social media outlets at FacebookInstagram 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, Discovery Channel, Outdoor Channel, CBS Sports Network, 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.