Lawyer Wins Group A Qualifying Round Tournament on the Kissimmee Chain

February 15, 2023
Major League Fishing (MLF)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2023) – Jeremy Lawyer of Sarcoxie, Missouri, paced the Group A field weighing in five bass totaling 15 pounds, 14 ounces to win the Qualifying Round, Wednesday, for the group at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Stage One tournament on the Kissimmee Chain. Lawyer’s two-day total of 35-7 earned him the win by a 1-pound, 13-ounce margin over second place angler Jeff Sprague of Wills Point, Texas, who held onto the second place position with a two-day total of 10 scorable bass weighing 33-10.

The top 20 advancing anglers from Group A will now have an off day from the competition Thursday, while the 40 anglers competing in Qualifying Group B will complete their two-day Qualifying Round. The top 20 anglers from each group advance to Friday’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 the 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. 

“Well, goal number one for this tournament has been accomplished – I’ve made the Knockout Round,” Lawyer said in his postgame interview. “Unfortunately, you don’t really get anything except a pat on the back and some bragging rights, but that’s okay and we’ll take it for now.

“What happened today was very confusing,” Lawyer continued. “Nothing that I thought was going to happen went down, except for my very first starting spot. But, the Knockout Round is a new day and I’m excited that I’ll be there and hope that I can get the right bites.”

Lawyer targeted offshore hydrilla with a vibrating jig and a swim jig for most of the day. He also added a couple of scorable bass on a ribbon-tail worm, but the vibrating jig was the key bait for him, Wednesday.

“I capitalized on some hydrilla and eelgrass mixed out deep,” Lawyer said. “I’d wind around a vibrating jig, then turn around and throw a Zoom Speed Worm around pads and up shallow, trying to catch some spawning fish. It was kind of a 1-2 punch. I didn’t get a lot of bites but what I did get was pretty good quality. Overall, it was a pretty solid day and I’m looking forward to the Knockout Round.

The top 20 pros from Group A that now advance to Friday’s Knockout Round on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes are:

1st:          Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., 10 bass, 35-7
2nd:         Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, 10 bass, 33-10
3rd:         Shinichi Fukae, Osaka, Japan, nine bass, 33-9
4th:         Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., 10 bass, 33-4
5th:         Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., 10 bass, 32-11
6th:         Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., 10 bass, 32-7
7th:         Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., 10 bass, 31-0
8th:         Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., 10 bass, 30-15
9th:         Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, 10 bass, 30-6
10th:       Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., eight bass, 30-5
11th:       Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., 10 bass, 29-13
12th:       John Murray, Spring City, Tenn., 10 bass, 29-6
13th:       Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., nine bass, 29-5
14th:       Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 10 bass, 28-6
15th:       Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., nine bass, 28-1
16th:       Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., 10 bass, 25-15
17th:       Josh Butler, Hayden, Ala., 10 bass, 25-4
18th:       Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., nine bass, 24-14
19th:       Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., 10 bass, 24-9
20th:       Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 24-6

Overall, there were 270 scorable bass weighing 635 pounds, 9 ounces caught by the 40 pros Wednesday.

Pro Mitch Crane of Columbus, Mississippi, earned Wednesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award with a stocky largemouth weighing 7 pounds, 4 ounces that he caught in Period 1 on a swimjig. Berkley awards $1,000 to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass each day, and a $1,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass of the tournament.