Local Favorite Jacob Wall Takes Day 1 Lead at MLF Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage Four on Lake Guntersville

New Hope, Alabama Rookie Catches 26-8 To Lead Early for Group A, 40 Anglers in Group B to Begin Competition Tomorrow

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (May 16, 2023) – Bass Pro Tour Rookie Jacob Wall of New Hope, Alabama, boated 16 scorable bass Tuesday, with his best five weighing 26 pounds, 8 ounces, to take the early lead in Qualifying Group A on Day 1 of the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage Four at Lake Guntersville Presented by Bass Cat Boats.

Wall will bring a 2-pound, 12-ounce, lead into Thursday’s second day of competition for Group A. In second place on the SCORETRACKER® leaderboard is Addison, Alabama pro Jesse Wiggins, who caught five bass weighing 23-12. New Jersey pro Adrian Avena sits in third place, 3 pounds, 5 ounces back of Wall with five bass weighing 23-3.

The six-day event, hosted by Marshall County Tourism & Sports, showcases 80 of the top professional anglers in the world, competing for a purse of more than $805,000, including a top payout of $100,000 and valuable Angler of the Year (AOY) points in hopes of qualifying for the General Tire Heavy Hitters All-Star event and REDCREST 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship.

The 40 anglers in Group A will now have an off day from competition on Wednesday, while the 40 anglers competing in Group B will begin their first day of competition. Group A will resume competition on Thursday.

“What a great way to start the tournament. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to fish for Stage 4,” Wall said in his post-game interview. “Today was just a super fun day. I live about 25 minutes from where I’m sitting in the boat, and I had some of my best friends following me around this morning, and they got to witness me catch right up to 24¾ pounds, which was super cool. It was just one of those days where every decision that I made was the right one.”

Wall spent his morning targeting bass out deep with a Nichols Lures Magnum Spoon.  In the afternoon he caught a couple of upgrades on a big glide bait.

“Those last 2 or 3 big ones I caught, I ran to a community hole – a spot that every local, and every pro in this tournament probably knows about it because it’s so obvious – and figured I would experiment with some baits and try some different stuff out,” Wall said. “I picked up a big swimbait and I couldn’t believe it. I caught a 5-something, and then an almost-5, and then another good one on it. And then I didn’t make another cast in there. I didn’t want to educate those fish any more than I already had with those three casts.  I only made about five or six casts total with that swimbait and they acted like they had never seen it before.

“Those fish that I caught late this afternoon were 15 to 20 miles away from where I caught my fish this morning, so it was just one of those days,” Wall went on to say. “I’m looking forward to getting back out here in two days to hopefully catch enough to make the Knockout round, so then I can go out there and crush on them again and make the Championship Round. That’s ultimately the goal – to be fishing that final day and have a shot at the title this week on Lake Guntersville.”

The standings for the 40 pros in Group A after Day 1 on Lake Guntersville are:

1st:        Jacob Wall, New Hope, Ala., five bass, 26-8
2nd:       Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., five bass, 23-12
3rd:       Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., five bass, 23-3
4th:        Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 21-7
5th:        Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., five bass, 21-0
6th:        Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan, five bass, 19-12
7th:        Russ Lane, Prattville, Ala., five bass, 19-6
8th:        Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, five bass, 19-5
9th:        Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., five bass, 18-13
10th:     Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., five bass, 18-5
11th:     Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 18-1
12th:     Kelly Jordon, Flint, Texas, five bass, 18-1
13th:     Cliff Crochet, Pierre Part, La., five bass, 17-12
14th:     Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., five bass, 17-3
15th:     Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 16-15
16th:     Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, five bass, 16-13
17th:     Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., five bass, 16-12
18th:     Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., five bass, 16-5
19th:     Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss., five bass, 16-4
20th:     Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., five bass, 16-2
21st:      Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, five bass, 15-14
22nd:    Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 15-8
23rd:     Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 15-4
24th:     Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 14-15
25th:     Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., five bass, 14-14
26th:     James Watson, Lampe, Mo., five bass, 14-3
27th:     Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., five bass, 14-1
28th:     Josh Butler, Hayden, Ala., five bass, 14-0
29th:     Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., five bass, 14-0
30th:     Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., five bass, 13-14
31st:      Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., five bass, 13-7
32nd:    Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., five bass, 13-5
33rd:     Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., five bass, 13-4
34th:     Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., five bass, 12-7
35th:     Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 11-13
36th:     Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 11-4
37th:     Dave Lefebre, Erie, Pa., five bass, 11-0
38th:     Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., four bass, 10-12
39th:     Nick Lebrun, Bossier City, La., four bass, 10-11
40th:     Roy Hawk, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., three bass, 7-0

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

Overall, there were 351 scorable bass weighing 1,018 pounds, 11 ounces caught by the 40 pros Tuesday, which included eight 5-pounders and two 6-pounders.

Berkley pro Adrian Avena earned the daily $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award Tuesday with a 6-pound, 3-ounce largemouth bass that bit in Period 2. 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 40 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day qualifying round on Tuesday and Thursday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Wednesday and Friday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the top 20 anglers from each group advance to Saturday’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 Sunday’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.

Anglers will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. CT each day from the Guntersville Civitan Park, located at 1130 Sunset Drive in Guntersville. 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.

As part of the event, on Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21 the MLF Fan Experience will be taking place at Civitan Park in Guntersville from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. MLF will welcome fans of all ages to celebrate fishing and the outdoors with concerts in the park, hosted by Explore Lake Guntersville, featuring JUICE on Saturday and Jackson Chase on Sunday. Food and drinks will be available from local food trucks and fans can check out the latest gear and offerings from MLF and MLF sponsors including Toyota, Favorite Fishing, Kubota, U.S. Air Force, and The Fallen Outdoors. On Sunday, fans can hang out and watch the pros live on the MLF NOW! big screen during the MLF Watch Party. 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 Toro Stage Four at Lake Guntersville Presented by Bass Cat Boats will feature pros competing using the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, with each angler’s five (5) heaviest bass per day tallied as their day’s weight. Anglers strive to catch their heaviest five fish each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the live scoring SCORETRACKER® leaderboard. 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 2023 MLF 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, fishing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and REDCREST 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship, held March 13-17, 2024, on Lay Lake in Birmingham, Alabama.

The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action live 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 Toro Stage Four at Lake Guntersville Presented by Bass Cat Boats will air as two, two-hour episodes starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 14 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, with re-airings on the Outdoor Channel.

Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, Ark Fishing, ATG + Wrangler, B&W Trailer Hitches, Bally Bet, Bass Cat Boats, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, Daiwa, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Ferguson, Fox Rent A Car, General Tire, Grundéns, Humminbird, Lowrance, Minn Kota, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Power-Pole, Rapala, Star tron, T-H Marine, TORO, Toyota, U.S. Air Force, Yellowstone Bourbon, Yo-Zuri and Zoom Baits.

For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the Bass Pro Tour, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and  YouTube.