Becker Leads Group B at MLF Bass Pro Tournament On Lake Guntersville

May 17, 2023
Major League Fishing (MLF) Archive

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (May 17, 2023) – For the second day in a row, the young talent on the Bass Pro Tour is shining bright. After rookie pro Jacob Wall of New Hope, Alabama, took the lead for Group A on Tuesday, fellow Bass Pro Tour rookie Matt Becker of Ten Mile, Tennessee, followed suit on Wednesday. Becker caught 15 scorable bass Wednesday, with his top five weighing 30 pounds, 9 ounces, to jump out to the early lead for Qualifying Group B at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour  Stage Four tournament at Lake Guntersville. Becker will bring a comfortable 7-pound, 15-ounce advantage into Day 2 of competition on Friday over second-place angler Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, South Carolina, who weighed in five bass totaling 22-10 to end the day in second place.

The 40 anglers in Group B will now have an off day on Thursday, 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 Friday.

“That was the biggest bag of fish that I have ever caught in my life,” Becker said in his post-game interview. “I can’t believe that happened. That was just incredible. The Lord is so good, and he blessed me so much today. He put me to the test this morning – he really tested my patience. I could not get them to bite. I was looking at them on the graph and I could see them there, but they weren’t biting. Then I broke a couple of off… he was just testing me and putting me through it. And then he gave me a half hour towards the end of the day that was absolutely incredible.”

Becker said he struggled for the majority of the day before his exciting afternoon.

“I struggled pretty much all day,” he said. “I caught a limit in the first period for like 13 pounds, and then just very slowly upgraded. And then at 2:45 I caught a 6-pounder, and that’s when the magic started happening.

“I caught a 6-pounder and it got me to like 18 pounds, and then I decided I’m going to pull the trolling motor and go somewhere else. I ran down to this other spot, and it was mayhem for about 5 minutes. That got me up to 30 pounds, and it was absolutely incredible.”

Of the five fish that Becker scored Wednesday, three came on a crankbait and two came on a white hair jig.

“I had a ton of rods on my deck, and threw a bunch of different baits,” Becker said. “The key bait for me today, though, was the hair jig – a ledge staple and one of my favorite ways to catch them. It’s so much fun when they load up on the hair jig. I was throwing it on my Favorite Signature MDJ Hex rod – it’s a pretty big rod for big fish, 7-foot, 8-inch, heavy – with 15-pound Seaguar Invisx Fluorocarbon line and an 8.1:1 gear ratio reel.

“I’m very excited to have the lead, but I know that the work isn’t done,” Becker went on to say. “There is a lot of work left to do on Friday. Hopefully we can make the Knockout Round and go from there.”

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

1st:        Matt Becker, Ten Mile, Tenn., five bass, 30-9
2nd:       Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., five bass, 22-10
3rd:       Shin Fukae, Osaka, Japan, five bass, 22-6
4th:        John Hunter, Shelbyville, Ky., five bass, 21-14
5th:        Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., five bass, 21-4
6th:        David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 20-15
7th:        Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., five bass, 20-15
8th:        Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., five bass, 20-14
9th:        Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 19-14
10th:     Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., three bass, 19-6
11th:     Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, five bass, 19-1
12th:     Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., five bass, 18-9
13th:     Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Ala., five bass, 18-9
14th:     Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., five bass, 18-6
15th:     Alton Jones, Sr., Lorena, Texas, five bass, 17-10
16th:     Brent Chapman, Lake Quivira, Kan., five bass, 17-4
17th:     Matt Lee, Cullman, Ala., five bass, 16-14
18th:     Marty Robinson, Lyman, S.C., five bass, 16-10
19th:     Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky., five bass, 16-1
20th:     James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., five bass, 15-15
21st:      David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn., five bass, 15-15
22nd:    Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, five bass, 15-14
23rd:     Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., five bass, 15-11
24th:     Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., five bass, 15-8
25th:     Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., five bass, 15-2
26th:     Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., five bass, 14-11
27th:     Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., five bass, 14-5
28th:     Boyd Duckett, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 13-10
29th:     Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., three bass, 13-5
30th:     Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., five bass, 12-14
31st:      Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 12-11
32nd:    Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 12-8
33rd:     Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., five bass, 11-9
34th:     Gary Klein, Mingus, Texas, five bass, 11-9
35th:     Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark., five bass, 11-2
36th:     John Murray, Spring City, Tenn., five bass, 11-1
37th:     Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., three bass, 10-15
38th:     Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla., five bass, 10-10
39th:     Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., four bass, 10-1
40th:     Tommy Biffle, Wagoner, Okla., three bass, 5-11

Overall, there were 344 scorable bass weighing 993 pounds, 10 ounces caught by the 40 pros Wednesday, which included 16 5-pounders and six 6-pounders.

Becker and pro Brett Hite of Phoenix, Arizona, shared Wednesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, as each weighed in a bass totaling 6-pounds, 13-ounces to split the daily prize. 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.