Stewart Leads Invitational Tournament at West Point Lake

March 1, 2024
Major League Fishing (MLF)

LAGRANGE, Ga. (March 1, 2024) – According to the locals, Day 1 of the MLF Invitational Tournament on West Point Lake went about as planned. For Dubach, Louisiana, pro Tyler Stewart, it went a lot better than he’d planned. With 21 pounds, 5 ounces, Stewart is squarely in the lead as the only pro to crack the 20-pound barrier. Still, the event is far from over – keeping up the pace figures to be a challenge at West Point and the rest of the Top 10 is packed pretty tight. 

Stewart brought a five-bass limit to the scale Friday weighing 21 pounds, 5 ounces, to take the early lead on Day 1, holding a 2-pound, 2-ounce lead over pro Derik Hudson of Concord, Virginia, who sacked 19-3 to end the day in second. Albertville, Alabama, pro Alex Davis sits in third with 18-13 and Troy Stokes of Trenton, Michigan, is fourth with 17-3. Behind them are a handful of 14- and 15-pound bags, and 12 pounds goes all the way down to 40th – which is really strong for West Point Lake, though there’s obviously very limited recent tournament history to compare to.

The full field of 150 anglers will conclude the two-day opening round on Saturday, with only the top 30 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advancing to Championship Sunday. The three-day tournament features a roster of 150 anglers competing for a top prize of up to $115,000 and an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2025.

Weighing three largemouth over 4 pounds, Stewart turned around a miserable practice in a big way. 

“My roommates are gonna call me sandbagger so bad,” Stewart joked. “I told them yesterday that if I have 10 pounds, I’ll be pretty happy. I don’t know if they just bit really good in the rain (today), but it was a lot better than I was expecting.

“It was just one of those days where you couldn’t make a wrong decision,” he added. “I had a terrible practice and just went out with a clear mind and put my head down. I ran into a couple good areas with some big fish and got them in the boat.” 

The smallest lake on the schedule, there’s not much you can do to get away from other anglers. That could be cause for concern as the week goes on as pressure might get to the fishing in a big way. Still, Stewart hopes he can replicate what worked on Day 1 (maybe not to 20 pounds again, but to some degree). 

“There’s a lot of fish in the areas I’m fishing; I think they could definitely replenish, because fish are moving in and out of those areas,” he said. “I got a lot of bites today that I didn’t hook, fish just slapping the bait and stuff, so I know there’s more fish in the area.”

Worst case scenario, Stewart thinks he’s got some backup spotted bass figured out. 

“This afternoon, I went and targeted some spotted bass,” he said. “I caught four or five and some 2-pounders I had to throw back. My game plan tomorrow is to go and try to catch a few big ones, and if I have to go catch some spots, I don’t know that I will, but I feel like I can.”

The top 20 pros after Day 1 on West Point Lake are:

1st:          Tyler Stewart, Dubach, La., five bass, 21-5
2nd:        Derik Hudson, Concord, Va., five bass, 19-3
3rd:        Alex Davis, Albertville, Ala., five bass, 18-13
4th:         Troy Stokes, Trenton, Mich., five bass, 17-3
5th:         Brad Jelinek, Lincoln, Mo., five bass, 15-15
6th:         Brock Reinkemeyer, Warsaw, Mo., five bass, 15-8
7th:         Charlie Williams, LaGrange, Ga., five bass, 15-6
8th:         Keith Carson, DeBary, Fla., five bass, 15-3
9th:         Colby Miller, Elmer, La., five bass, 14-15
10th:      Jake Lawrence, Buchanan, Tenn., five bass, 14-13
11th:      Alec Morrison, Peru, N.Y., five bass, 14-10
11th:      Darrell Ivey Jr., Lebanon, Mo., five bass, 14-10
13th:      Jaden Parrish, Liberty, Texas, five bass, 14-5
14th:      Brian Gay, LaGrange, Ga., five bass, 13-12
15th:      Matt Baty, Bainbridge, Ga., five bass, 13-8
16th:      Kelly Jordon, Flint, Texas, five bass, 13-7
17th:      Taylor Parker, Lake View, Ala., five bass, 13-6
17th:      Kyle Cortiana, Broken Arrow, Okla., five bass, 13-6
17th:      Drew Gill, Mount Carmel, Ill, five bass, 13-6
20th:      Ryan Armstrong, Robinson, Ill., five bass, 13-5

Complete results for the entire field can be found at

Baty earned Friday’s $1,000 Big Bass award with a largemouth bass that weighed in at 6 pounds, 9 ounces.

Overall, there were 662 bass weighing 1,420 pounds, 13 ounces caught by 143 pros Friday. The catch included 117 five-bass limits.