Mitchell Wins Knockout Round on the St. Lawrence River

August 20, 2022
MLF Pro Circuit Archive

MASSENA, N.Y. (Aug. 20, 2022) – After an absolute slugfest at the tournament on the St. Lawrence River, with 13 out of 18 anglers weighing in bags over 20 pounds, pro Kurt Mitchell of Milford, Delaware, brought a five-bass limit to the stage Saturday weighing 24 pounds, 8 ounces – the largest bag of the event – to win the Knockout Round and advance to the final day of competition at the Major League Fishing (MLF) TITLE  – the Pro Circuit Championship – in Massena, New York. The final 10 anglers are now set, and competition will resume Sunday morning with the Championship Round, where weights are zeroed, and the winner will be determined by the heaviest five-bass limit of the final round.

The Championship Round on Sunday will feature Group A winner Spencer Shuffield of Hot Springs, Arkansas, Group B winner Nick Hatfield of Greeneville, Tennessee, and the top eight anglers from the Knockout Round, competing in a final-day shootout for a top prize of up to $235,000. The six-day event features the top 48 pros in the 2022 Pro Circuit standings, along with last year’s reigning TITLE champion and reigning Angler of the Year – all competing for a purse of more than $800,000.

The top eight pros from Saturday’s Knockout Round that will compete in Sunday’s Championship Round on the St. Lawrence River are:

1st:           Kurt Mitchell, Milford, Del., five bass, 24-8
2nd:          Jacob Wall, New Hope, Ala., five bass, 22-4
3rd:          Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, five bass, 21-10
4th:           Martin Villa, Charlottesville, Va., five bass, 21-5
5th:           Matt Becker, Finleyville, Pa., five bass, 21-5
6th:           Bobby lane, Lakeland, Fla., five bass, 21-2
7th:           Kyle Cortiana, Broken Arrow, Okla., five bass, 21-1
8th:           Josh Bragg, Fayetteville, Ga., five bass, 21-0

They’ll be joined by Qualifying Round winners:

Group A: Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark.
Group B: Nick Hatfield, Greeneville, Tenn.

“We had perfect conditions today and the St. Lawrence River is continuing to kick them out,” Mitchell said in his post-game interview. “I caught two 5½-pound smallmouth today and that’s never happened before. This place is just phenomenal.”

Mitchell said he figured 21 pounds would get him into the Championship Round, but his day didn’t start off at all like he’d planned.

“I thought I had a good game-plan going into today,” Mitchell said. “I hit four or five different areas where I thought I’d catch some good fish, but everything I caught was small. Disappointed, I ran to a buoy where I had caught three good ones on the first day, but they weren’t there anymore.

“I was getting really frustrated and decided to just try to figure out where those fish went. I started searching the shoal where the buoy was, and I found some depressions in that shoal where the fish were holed up. That’s where I caught almost all my fish today. I had about 21 pounds by noon, which is when I started feeling good about making it into the Championship Round.”

While most of the field is running upwards of 90 miles each day, Mitchell said he only has a 55-mile run to his primary area, which he hopes will play to his advantage with the weather that’s forecasted for Sunday’s Championship Round.

“I still have a long run to make, but if the weather comes in like it’s forecasted, the waves can only get so big where I’m going, so I should have a distinct advantage. These guys running all the way to the mouth of the lake are going to have to combat some large waves if they decide to make that run.”

Mitchell said he caught all his fish drop-shotting a swimbait and although he struggled to catch a 3-pounder on Thursday, once he topped 23 pounds in the Knockout Round, he began catching 3-pounders constantly.

“Today was just one of those days – I even caught a 5½-pound kicker accidentally at the end of the day,” Mitchell laughed. “I was running around looking for new areas and I cast over to what looked like a little tiny pebble on my Garmin (Livescope) and reeled in a 5½-pounder.

“Things may change up a little bit tomorrow with the weather coming in, but I’m happy with what’s going on so far and am looking forward to Sunday,” Mitchell finished.

Rounding out the top 20 finishers were:

11th:        Jon Canada, Helena, Ala., five bass, 20-11, $11,000
12th:        Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 20-9, $11,000
13th:        Jared McMillan, Clewiston, Fla., five bass, 20-9, $11,000
14th:        Justin Cooper, Zwolle, La., five bass, 20-6, $11,000
15th:        Jacopo Gallelli, Florence, Italy, five bass, 20-0, $11,000
16th:        Joey Cifuentes, Clinton, Ark., five bass, 19-10, $11,000
17th:        Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 18-3, $11,000
18th:        Evan Barnes, Dardanelle, Ark., five bass, 18-2, $11,000
19th:        Casey Scanlon, Eldon, Mo., five bass, 17-7, $11,000
20th:        John Hunter, Shelbyville, Ky., five bass, 16-6, $11,000

A complete list of results can be found at

Overall, there were 90 bass weighing 366 pounds, 2 ounces caught by the 18 pros on Saturday, all with five-bass limits.

Pro Dakota Ebare of Brookeland, Texas was also presented the Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship and Community Leadership Award during the weigh-in on Saturday. The award recognizes a TITLE qualifier, nominated by his peers, who displays an overall commitment to sportsmanship and community leadership, on and off the water, through ethical behavior, integrity, class, selflessness, conservation, volunteerism and kindness to others. Ebare’s nomination cited his genuine concern for the nation’s fisheries and his reflection of a true sportsman and leader who is always willing to lend a hand to those in need.