Wall Wins Qualifying Round at MLF Bass Pro Tour Tournament on Guntersville

May 18, 2023
Major League Fishing (MLF) Archive

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (May 18, 2023) – Bass Pro Tour Rookie Jacob Wall of New Hope, Alabama, launched his boat Thursday morning with a 2-pound, 12-ounce lead, and he never looked back. Wall boated 12 scorable bass Thursday, with his best five weighing 21 pounds, 5 ounces, to easily win the Qualifying Round for Group A at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Stage Four tournament at Lake Guntersville.

Wall’s two-day total of 10 bass weighing 47 pounds, 13 ounces earned him the win by a 5-pound, 9-ounce margin over Addison, Alabama pro Jesse Wiggins, who finished the round in second place with a two-day catch of 10 bass totaling 42-4. Pro Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma, boated a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 41-9 to end the round in third place, while Adrian Avena of Vineland, New Jersey , finished in fourth place with a two-day total of 10 bass for 39-13. General Tire Heavy Hitters Champion Alton Jones, Jr., of Waco, Texas, rounded out the top five with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 39-10.

The top 20 anglers advancing from Group A will now have an off day from competition Friday, while the 40 anglers competing in Group B will complete their two-day Qualifying Round. The top 20 anglers from each group advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed, and the remaining 40 anglers compete to finish in the top 10 to advance to the Championship Round. In Sunday’s final day Championship Round, weight carries over from the Knockout Round and the angler with the heaviest two-day total wins the top prize of $100,000. 

“What an awesome day,” Wall said in his post-game interview. “Winning today isn’t giving me anything extra or any sort of advantage, but it is an awesome feeling to be atop this phenomenal group of 40 anglers after two days of fishing on such a world-famous fishery. I have put in a lot of time out here over the last 4½ years since I moved here, and to be here on top amongst not only these really great names, but a lot of phenomenal local anglers – Ryan Salzman, Josh Butler, Chris Lane – a bunch of really big names. And to be on top right now – I’m just. so happy, and so thankful.”

Like Day 1, Wall spent the day targeting fish offshore early with a Nichols Lures Ben Parker Magnum Spoon. He said he pretty much stopped fishing at noon each day, spending the rest of his time scouting locations for the next day of competition.

“I did it again, today, on the spoons,” Wall said. “That has definitely been the key bait for me over the last couple of days, and hopefully they will be for the next couple of days going into the Knockout and Championship rounds.

“I’m throwing two different sizes,” Wall continued. “I’m throwing a big spoon on a little bit bigger, 8-foot Phenix M1 rod, and throwing the little bit smaller spoon on a 7-foot 8-inch medium-heavy Phenix M1. That rod is so versatile – I throw the spoons on it, but I also use it for a lot of other offshore baits this time of the year in the summer. The spoon has definitely been the deal for me this week, though.

“I’ve learned some cool stuff over the last couple of days that has me excited to go out and lay the hammer down on them Saturday in the Knockout Round, because I’ve been holding back the last two days around 11:30 to noon because I didn’t want to burn up too many fish,” Wall went on to say. “I’m excited to get back out there and see what I can catch.”

The top 20 pros from Group A that now advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round on Lake Guntersville are:

1st:        Jacob Wall, New Hope, Ala., 10 bass, 47-13
2nd:       Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., 10 bass, 42-4
3rd:       Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 10 bass, 41-9
4th:        Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., 10 bass, 39-13
5th:        Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, 10 bass, 39-10
6th:        Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 38-11
7th:        Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 36-8
8th:        Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 36-4
9th:        Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan, 10 bass, 36-3
10th:     Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., nine bass, 35-11
11th:     Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., 10 bass, 35-8
12th:     Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 10 bass, 35-0
13th:     Kelly Jordon, Flint, Texas, 10 bass, 33-13
14th:     Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala., nine bass, 33-9
15th:     James Watson, Lampe, Mo., 10 bass, 33-7
16th:     Josh Butler, Hayden, Ala., 10 bass, 33-5
17th:     Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., 10 bass, 32-14
18th:     Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., 10 bass, 32-13
19th:     Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, 10 bass, 32-9
20th:     Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 32-1

Eliminated from competition are:

21st:      Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, 10 bass, 31-12
22nd:    Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., 10 bass, 31-8
23rd:     Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 10 bass, 31-8
24th:     Nick LeBrun, Bossier City, La., nine bass, 30-14
25th:     Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 30-5
26th:     Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss., 10 bass, 29-13
27th:     Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 29-4
28th:     Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 10 bass, 29-0
29th:     Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 28-15
30th:     Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala., nine bass, 28-4
31st:      Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., 10 bass, 28-4
32nd:    Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., 10 bass, 28-3
33rd:     Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., 10 bass, 27-7
34th:     Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 10 bass, 27-6
35th:     Cliff Crochet, Pierre Part, La., eight bass, 26-1
36th:     Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., 10 bass, 25-0
37th:     Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., eight bass, 23-10
38th:     Russ Lane, Prattville, Ala., six bass, 21-5
39th:     Dave Lefebre, Erie, Pa., eight bass, 20-3
40th:     Roy Hawk, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., six bass, 15-15

Overall, there were 311 scorable bass weighing 929 pounds, 9 ounces caught by the 40 pros Thursday, which included 11 5-pounders and one 6-pounder.