Osage Beach Readies for MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitationals Phoenix Stop 4 on Lake of the Ozarks

Field of 150 Professional Anglers to Compete for Top Prize of up to $115,000 and Qualification into REDCREST 2024

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (April 26, 2023) – Major League Fishing (MLF), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, is set to return to Osage Beach, Missouri, next week, May 4-6, for the MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational Phoenix Stop 4 at Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Mystik Lubricants. The Invitationals feature a roster of 150 professional anglers competing for a top prize of up to $115,000 and an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2024 – the Bass Pro Tour championship – for the chance to win up to $300,000.

Hosted by the Tri-County Lodging Association, the tournament marks the fourth of six Tackle Warehouse Invitational events in 2023, offering competitors a total season purse of more than $3.9 million. In addition to the top payout of $115,000, the field is also competing for valuable points to win the coveted Invitational Angler of the Year (AOY) title. The top eight pros in the Tackle Warehouse Invitational AOY standings at the end of the season will receive an invitation to compete on the Bass Pro Tour in 2024.

“The Lake of the Ozarks is thrilled to welcome the Tackle Warehouse Invitational anglers, staff and fans to the lake,” said Lagina Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the Tri-County Lodging Association. “We are very appreciative of our long-standing partnership with Major League Fishing and know the anglers love fishing in our little piece of paradise!”

Lake of the Ozarks is a very familiar destination for MLF and the majority of pro anglers in this tournament, as the fishery has played host to numerous MLF tournaments over the years, across all levels of competition. In the last professional MLF tournament to take place on the fishery, the Bass Pro Tour Bass Boat Technologies Stage Four on Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Bass Cat in 2022, pro Jesse Wiggins targeted the plentiful boat docks with a homemade shaky-head rig to take home the top payout of $100,000. Fellow Bass Pro Tour angler James Watson of Lampe, Missouri, made it to the Knockout Round of that event, and said that he expects next week’s event to be very similar.

“It’s going to be a really good tournament – you’re going to need to catch at least 20 pounds a day to compete,” Watson said. “There should be mostly spawning and postspawn fish – there might still be a few straggler prespawn fish coming up – but there is going to be a lot of sight-fishing, a good topwater bite and lots of wacky rigs and shaky-head-type deals going on.”

Watson said that the lake is so good that it makes it hard to predict just how the winner will be fishing.

“I think the key to doing well is probably going to be sight fishing,” Watson said. “If a guy can find three or four exceptional fish on the bed during practice and have them marked for when the tournament starts, that is going to be important. Another X-Factor might be a giant glide bait or a big swimbait.

“Forward-facing sonar isn’t my style, but it will play,” Watson continued. “The lake is so wide open right now. From dam to dam, any water color, pitching a jig, throwing a spinnerbait or a squarebill up the river, the fish live from dam to dam. It’s one of the reasons why it’s such a great fishery.”

Although he will not be competing in this event, Watson said he’d be throwing numerous different baits each day.

“I’d be sight-fishing some sort of tube, and I’d have a floating worm tied on,” Watson said. “Definitely a (River2Sea) Whopper Plopper, a (River2Sea) Worldwide Buzzbait, and a Zara Spook will catch them. And if I was going up the river, I’d be throwing a ½-ounce Strike King spinnerbait with double-willow blades, and a (Strike King) Thunder Cricket.

“Like I said before, you’re going to need to catch at least 20 pounds a day to have a chance at this one,” Watson went on to say. “I predict the winner has 60 to 62 pounds over the three days.”

In MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational competition, the full field of 150 anglers compete in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday in a five-fish, weigh-in format. Only the top 50 pros, based on their two-day cumulative weight, will advance to the final round on Championship Saturday, where they will compete for the grand prize of up to $115,000, including the lucrative $35,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus for qualified anglers.

The winner of the MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational Phoenix Stop 4 at Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Mystik Lubricants will be determined by the heaviest three-day cumulative weight and will receive an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2024. In addition, the season-long Invitational AOY will also earn a berth into REDCREST 2024.

Anglers will launch each day at 6:30 a.m. CT, Thursday through Saturday, from the Grand Glaize Beach Boat Ramp (Public Beach No. 2) at Lake of the Ozarks State Park, located at 711 Public Beach Road in Osage Beach, Missouri. Weigh-ins will also be held at the boat ramp daily beginning at 2:30 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend the event or follow the live on-the-water action all three days of competition online on MLF NOW! beginning at 7 a.m. CT at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational Phoenix Stop 4 at Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Mystik Lubricants will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the CBS Sports Network on Saturday, October 21st.

Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitationals include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Fox Rent a Car, General Tire, Grundéns, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Mystik Lubricants, Onyx, Phoenix Boats, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Wiley X and YETI.

For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals on the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.