Shuffield Wins Group A Qualifying Round at MLF Pro Circuit Tournament on the St. Lawrence River

August 18, 2022
MLF Pro Circuit

MASSENA, N.Y. (Aug. 18, 2022) – Although the bite was a little harder to come by Thursday for Group A anglers, pro Spencer Shuffield of Hot Springs, Arkansas, made it seem like a breeze, bringing a five-bass limit to the stage weighing 23 pounds, 3 ounces to win the automatic Championship Round berth at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Tackle Warehouse TITLE – the Pro Circuit Championship – Tournament on the St. Lawrence River in Massena, New York. Shuffield’s two-day total of 44-8 earned him the win by a 1-pound, 7-ounce margin over Berkley pro Joey “Cowboy” Cifuentes of Clinton, Arkansas, who led Day 1, and punched Shuffield’s ticket straight through to Sunday’s Championship Round finale. Cifuentes’ two-day total of 43-1 finished the Group A Qualifying Round in second place.

The top 10 anglers from Group A will now have an off-day Friday, while the 25 anglers in Group B will complete their two-day Qualifying Round of competition. The Knockout Round, featuring 18 anglers competing to finish in the top eight, will take place on Saturday. Sunday’s Championship Round will feature Shuffield, Friday’s Group B winner and the top eight anglers from the Knockout Round, competing in a one-day shootout to catch the heaviest five-bass limit for the top prize of up to $235,000.

The six-day event, hosted by the Town of Massena, showcases 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. Shuffield said he struggled early in the day and was sitting without a bass at 10 a.m.

“I had a slow start today, then lost a big bass at the end that could have put me up around 25 to 26 pounds, so I’m thrilled to be sitting in the top spot at the end of the day,” said the Arkansas pro in his post-game interview. “This place has got a ton of large smallmouth right now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a 27- or 28-pound bag before the week is over.

“I don’t know if the one I lost was quite 6 pounds, but she for sure was a heavy 5-pounder. It might be a blessing from God that I lost that fish though. These smallmouth are very aggressive and tend to bite again, so there’s a good chance I can catch her again on Sunday. She’s on a very small spot and there were 5 or 6 fish there with her, so hopefully I can land at least one of those big ones in the Championship Round.”

Shuffield said the area he’s fishing is featureless and doesn’t look like anything special, but he found it on the second day of practice, using his electronics.

“My Garmin Livescope is key because it shows the contour lines so well. There’s nothing there, but I found a good, sharp grass edge with a narrow channel running through it and the bass are really holding up in there. I caught several smallmouth really quick once I pulled over there today, and I found two more places in that area that may be even better.”

All of Shuffield’s bass were caught fishing a drop-shot rig and he said he couldn’t be more thrilled about earning the straight shot through to the Championship Round.

“It feels great to be guaranteed to fish for the win, especially since I laid off them a bit and still managed to finish on top. I’ve already narrowed down an area where I’m going to live or die on Sunday, so laying off those fish for two days and then hitting them again should be a great advantage.

“I plan to go straight back to that spot on Sunday, and I’ve got several other areas that are producing a big bite, so I feel really good going into the Championship Round,” Shuffield went on to say.

The top 10 pros from Qualifying Group A that now advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round on the St. Lawrence River are:

1st:           Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 44-8 – ADVANCES TO CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
2nd:          Joey Cifuentes, Clinton, Ark., 10 bass, 43-1
3rd:          Justin Cooper, Zwolle, La., 10 bass, 42-15
4th:           Jacopo Gallelli, Florence, Italy, 10 bass, 41-9
5th:           Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 10 bass, 41-6
6th:           Kurt Mitchell, Milford, Del., 10 bass, 40-10
7th:           Kyle Cortiana, Broken Arrow, Okla., 10 bass, 40-5
8th:           Josh Bragg, Fayetteville, Ga., 10 bass, 40-1
9th:           Matt Becker, Finleyville, Pa., 10 bass, 37-7
10th:        Evan Barnes, Dardanelle, Ark., 10 bass, 37-6

Finishing in 11th through 25th in the Group A Qualifying Round were:

11th:        Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., 10 bass, 37-5
12th:        Jimmy Washam, Stantonville, Tenn., 10 bass, 36-13
13th:        Andrew Loberg, Rocklin, Calif., 10 bass, 36-12
14th:        Alex Davis, Albertville, Ala., 10 bass, 36-7
15th:        Jason Reyes, Huffman, Texas, 10 bass, 34-7
16th:        Tom Monsoor, La Crosse, Wis., 10 bass, 33-6
17th:        David Walker, Huntingdon, Tenn., 10 bass, 32-8
18th:        Jim Moynagh, Shakopee, Minn., 10 bass, 32-6
19th:        Brian Latimer, Belton, S.C., 10 bass, 31-11
20th:        Braxton Setzer, Wetumpka, Ala., 10 bass, 30-14
21st:        Blake Hall, Rogersville, Ala., eight bass, 30-11
22nd:       Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., 10 bass, 29-8
23rd:       Derrick Snavely, Piney Flats, Tenn., 10 bass, 27-12
24th:        Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., five bass, 16-5
25th:        Barron Adams, Mineral Bluff, Ga., five bass, 16-0

A complete list of results can be found at

Overall, there were 115 bass weighing 412 pounds even caught by the 25 pros on Thursday, with 23 five-bass limits.

Pro Alex Davis of Albertville, Alabama’s 6-pound, 3-ounce bass caught Tuesday earned him the $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award. Berkley awards $1,000 to the angler in each group that weighs the biggest bass over their two-day Qualification Round.