Neal Leads Group B at MLF Bass Pro Tour Tournament at Cayuga Lake

August 7, 2022
Major League Fishing (MLF) Archive

UNION SPRINGS, N.Y. (Aug. 7, 2022) – The fishing wasn’t quite as fast and furious as it was for Group A competitors on Saturday, but it was still a fantastic day on the water for Group B anglers as they opened their two-day Qualifying Round Sunday at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Fox Stage Six tournament on Cayuga Lake. Pro Michael Neal of Dayton, Tennessee , who just last week clinched his second straight Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Angler of the Year (AOY) title, kept his momentum train rolling, catching 21 scorable bass weighing 83 pounds, 3 ounces, to take the lead in Group B after their first day of competition.

Mark Daniels, Jr., of Tuskegee, Alabama, sits in second place, 7 pounds, 13 ounces back of Neal with 22 scorable bass totaling 75-6. Pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, California, finished the day in third place with 25 bass for 72-8, while Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Arkansas , caught 20 bass totaling 71-13 to end the day in fourth place. Lorena, Texas pro Alton Jones rounds out the top five, as he caught 25 bass weighing 71-4.

The 40 anglers in Group B will now have an off day on Monday, while the 40 anglers competing in Group A will complete their two-day Qualifying Round of competition. Group B will conclude their Qualifying Round on Tuesday.

The six-day tournament showcases 80 professional anglers 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 and the MOTV app, and also filmed for television broadcast later this fall on the Discovery Channel.

“I’m super happy with how the day went,” Neal said in his post-game interview. “I caught a ton of fish roaming on the very outside break of the lake. The fish don’t have anything else to relate to out past there, besides bait, and I think that is the big key to where I’ve been fishing at –a ton of baitfish in the area. I’m looking for the bass that are chasing those balls of bait around on the edge of that drop.”

Neal credited his Lowrance ActiveTarget Live Sonar as being critical to his success. He caught his fish drop-shotting a pearl-colored Big Bite Baits Scentsation Swim Minnow, using a No. 1 Gamakatsu hook with a 3/8-ounce Denali Kovert tungsten weight. He threw the drop-shot rig on a 7-foot, 6-inch Denali Kovert rod with 8-pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon line.

“I feel like I’m definitely on the right pattern, catching both species of largemouth and smallmouth,” Neal said. “I expected to catch mostly smallmouth but was surprised at how many largemouth there were out here.

“It seems like everybody has found the same fish and it’s only going to get tougher and tougher because of the fishing pressure,” Neal went on to say. “Winning the Qualifying Round and getting that automatic berth into the Championship Round is a big deal this week, more so than normal. I’m trying to focus on getting to that point, but it is not going to be an easy task. I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”

The top 20 pros in Group B after Day 1 of their Qualifying Round on Cayuga Lake are:

1st:          Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 21 bass, 83-3
2nd:         Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 22 bass, 75-6
3rd:         Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 25 bass, 72-8
4th:         Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., 20 bass, 71-13
5th:         Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, 25 bass, 71-4
6th:         Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 19 bass, 63-3
7th:         Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 16 bass, 58-5
8th:         Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., 19 bass, 57-11
9th:         James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., 17. bass, 55-14
10th:       Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., 16 bass, 52-10
11th:       Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, 15 bass, 47-1
12th:       Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., 13 bass, 45-9
13th:       Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., 14 bass, 43-15
14th:       Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., 13 bass, 43-6
15th:       James Watson, Lampe, Mo., 14 bass, 43-2
16th:       Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., 15 bass, 41-4
17th:       Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., 14 bass, 41-1
18th:       Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 11 bass, 40-12
19th:       Shinichi Fukae, Osaka, Japan, 12 bass, 38-10
20th:       Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., 13 bass, 36-13

A complete list of results can be found at

Overall, there were 493 scorable bass weighing 1,585 pounds, 15 ounces caught by the 40 pros Sunday.

Pro Timmy Horton of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, earned Sunday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award after catching a 6-pound, 9-ounce largemouth in Period 1 that was the largest of the day. 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.