Neal Wins Group B MLF Bass Pro Tour Tournament at Cayuga Lake Presented

August 9, 2022
Major League Fishing (MLF) Archive

UNION SPRINGS, N.Y. (Aug. 9, 2022) – Pro Michael Neal of Dayton, Tennessee, who led Group B after the first day of competition, added another 14 scorable bass weighing 56 pounds, 8 ounces to finish the charge and earn the Group B Qualifying Round win Tuesday at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Stage Six tournament on Cayuga Lake in Union Springs, New York. Neal’s two-day total of 35 bass weighing 139 pounds, 11 ounces, earned him the win by an 11-pound, 12-ounce margin and advanced the Tennessee pro directly to Thursday’s final-day Championship Round.

Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Arkansas, caught a two-day total of 37 bass weighing 127-15 to end the round in second place. Lorena, Texas, angler Alton Jones caught 39 scorable bass weighing 116-15 to finish the round in third. Both Davis and Jones held the lead for periods of time Tuesday, but both were eventually overtaken by a Neal flurry.

The remaining 38 anglers – 19 from each group – now advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round, where weights are zeroed, and the anglers compete to finish in the top eight to advance to the Championship Round on Thursday. The Championship Round will feature Group A winner Justin Lucas, Group B winner Michael Neal, and the top eight finishers from the Knockout Round competing in a final-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000. 

“I really didn’t want to catch as many as I had to today, especially at the end of the day. But I kept feeling like everyone else was catching too many for me to totally let up and go practice,” Neal said in his post-game interview. “I wish I could have. Sometimes it works out where you can, and sometimes you can’t. The good news is that I don’t think there is much else in this section of the lake for me to find, so it might have been a good thing that I didn’t have any time to go look and spread myself out even further.”

On Day 1 of the competition Sunday, Neal caught both species – 10 largemouth and 11 smallmouth – to jump out to the early lead. On Tuesday, Neal caught only smallmouth.

“Coming out of practice, I thought the majority of the fish that I caught during this event would be smallmouth, but after the first day of the tournament it was basically half and half,” Neal said. “I definitely didn’t expect it to be all smallmouth today. It’s always fun to catch them, though, and the last time I did that and won a round with big smallmouth was when I won last year at Lake St. Clair. So hopefully we can keep that momentum rolling, now that we’ve won the round maybe we can move on and win the Championship Round, too.

The biggest key for me today was downsizing my line,” Neal continued. “On Sunday I was using 8-pound (test) Sunline Shooter (line), but today I used 7-pound. I just feel like with as much pressure as these fish are getting, any advantage is important and I feel like the smaller diameter of that line makes a big difference.

“I think the Championship Round is going to be pretty difficult – these fish are getting a ton of pressure on the places where they’re really schooled up, and where they’re not there is hardly any singles or anything. I’m going to regroup, get a good gameplan together tomorrow, hopefully, and we’ll see what happens in the Championship Round.”

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

1st:          Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 35 bass, 139-11
2nd:         Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., 37 bass, 127-15
3rd:         Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, 39 bass, 116-15
4th:         Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 29 bass, 100-0
5th:         James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., 31 bass, 96-0
6th:         Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 25 bass, 93-15
7th:         Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 25 bass, 93-13
8th:         Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., 31 bass, 92-14
9th:         Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 25 bass, 92-14
10th:       Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., 29 bass, 92-1
11th:       Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 26 bass, 86-14
12th:       Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., 28 bass, 84-15
13th:       Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, 26 bass, 84-9
14th:       James Watson, Lampe, Mo., 25 bass, 80-3
15th:       Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., 27 bass, 78-10
16th:       Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., 25 bass, 78-6
17th:       Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., 24 bass, 76-9
18th:       Paul Elias, Laurel, Miss., 24 bass, 72-5
19th:       Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., 22 bass, 70-7
20th:       Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., 20 bass, 69-11

A complete list of results can be found at

Overall, there were 363 scorable bass weighing 1,224 pounds, 11 ounces caught by the 40 pros Tuesday.

Pros Cody Meyer of Star, Idaho, and Spring City, Tennessee’s John Murray each earned a share of Tuesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass award, as both caught fish weighing 6 pounds, 2 ounces. Meyer’s largemouth came on a drop-shot rig during Period 2, while Murray’s largemouth came on a deep-diving crankbait during Period 1. 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.