Lucas Catches 181 Pounds at MLF Bass Pro Tour Tournament at Cayuga Lake

August 8, 2022
Major League Fishing (MLF) Archive

UNION SPRINGS, N.Y. (Aug. 8, 2022) – Justin Lucas of Guntersville, Alabama, caught 16 scorable bass weighing 54 pounds even to earn the Group A Qualifying Round win Monday at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Stage Six Tournament on Cayuga Lake in Union Springs, New York. Lucas’ two-day Qualifying Round catch of 51 bass totaling 181 pounds, 1 ounce – the fourth-largest two-day total ever weighed in Bass Pro Tour history – earned him the win by a 16-pound, 7-ounce margin over Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tennessee, who caught a two-day total of 56 bass weighing 164-10 to end the round in second place. Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma, caught a two-day total of 33 bass weighing 124-3 to finish the round in third, while Waco, Texas, pro Alton Jones, Jr., ended the round in fourth place with a two-day total of 37 bass, good for 123-2. Rounding out the top five was Dustin Connell of Clanton, Alabama, who caught 30 bass for 118-11 to advance in fifth place.

Lucas, who started the day atop the leaderboard, lost the lead in Period 1 to a red-hot Wheeler, but regained the lead with a strong Period 2 and held it throughout the third and final period.

“Man, that was a tough day. That was not nearly as easy as Saturday, for sure,” Lucas said in his post-game interview. “Somehow, I ended up with 54 pounds today, but it felt a lot tougher. It felt like I was taking on King Kong today in Wheeler. He is so dominant, lately, and when he caught 41 pounds in the first period I was just like ‘here we go’. This is going to be the day he’s going to smack them and knock me out of first.

“But, we were able to go into the second period and catch some nice fish, and thankfully Jacob seemed to struggle. That dude is so dangerous, so I’m very thankful to get him this time in the Qualifying Round. I definitely expect to see him again in the Championship Round.”

Like Saturday, Lucas caught all largemouth on Monday, relying on a drop-shot and a Neko rig.

“I’ve got to give all the credit to my Fantasista X rods from Abu Garcia, with a (Abu Garcia) Zenon spinning reel. I’ve been drop-shotting and Neko-rigging with that combo all week, and it is just unbelievably sensitive. Crazy sensitive – I can feel the lightest bites in the windiest of conditions out here.

“I don’t really know what I’m going to do in the Championship Round yet, but you’ve got to make it there first and I am very, very thankful to have made it,” Lucas went on to say. “That was, hands down, the goal coming into this tournament. This qualifies me into REDCREST next spring, which is amazing, and now I’ve got a chance to win this tournament, too.”

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 Lucas, 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.

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

1st:          Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., 51 bass, 181-1 (ADVANCES TO CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND)
2nd:         Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., 56 bass, 164-10
3th:         Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 33 bass, 124-3
4th:         Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, 37 bass, 123-2
5rd:         Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 30 bass, 118-11
6th:         Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 35 bass, 107-0
7th:         Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., 36 bass, 105-5
8th:         Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, 35 bass, 105-3
9th:         Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss., 36 bass, 105-0
10th:       Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., 33 bass, 102-5
11th:       Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., 35 bass, 98-2
12th:       Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., 26 bass, 84-7
13th:       Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., 25 bass, 82-13
14th:       Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., 24 bass, 82-6
15th:       David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn., 22 bass, 81-12
16th:       Roy Hawk, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 22 bass, 81-7
17th:       Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., 23 bass, 78-13
18th:       Matt Lee, Cullman, Ala., 25 bass, 78-6
19th:       Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., 26 bass, 75-1
20th:       Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 24 bass, 73-3

A complete list of results can be found at

Overall, there were 391 scorable bass weighing 1,221 pounds, 12 ounces caught by the 40 pros Monday, which included 57 four-pounders and seven five-pounders.

Hot Springs, Arkansas’ Dylan Hays caught a 5-pound, 14-ounce largemouth bass on a drop-shot rig in Period 2 to earn the day’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award. 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.