TULSA, Okla. (March 26, 2022) – Berkley pro Jordan Lee of Cullman, Alabama, caught 11 scorable bass weighing 33 pounds, 2 ounces to win the Knockout Round (Group B) on Day 4 of the Major League Fishing (MLF) REDCREST 2022 presented by Costa Sunglasses, the Bass Pro Tour championship, on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees.
Joining Lee in Sunday’s Championship Round of competition in the top five are pros Michael Neal of Dayton, Dustin Connell of Clanton, Alabama, Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Florida, and Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tennessee. The five-day event, hosted by Tulsa Regional Tourism, features anglers competing for a total purse of $730,000, including a top cash prize of $300,000 to the winner.
“I’m feeling really good about the day and was super happy to have a good morning bite,” Lee said. “I was able to catch them in the same places as the other day, doing the same thing.”
Lee has been catching fish with various jerkbaits while watching his forward-facing sonar but did find a shallower bite late in the day.
“I used five or six different jerkbaits and my Lowrance ActiveTarget was key,” he said. “I don’t have unlimited spots, but everywhere I thought I could catch them today, I did. I eased up shallow later in the day and caught some on a jig and that was more fun than anything, but I don’t think I’ll be able to catch enough doing that to win.”
Tennessee pro Michael Neal ended the day with 12 for 31-9 but likely could have caught much more. After feeling that he had caught enough to safely advance, he left his main area and searched for more water.
“I laid off those fish about 30 minutes into the second period,” Neal said. “The winning fish are there, and the only questions are if they will stay and if they cooperate tomorrow. I’ll be around the fish to win; I just don’t know what I’ll have to catch since I don’t know if everyone else let off their fish.”
Reigning REDCREST Champion Dustin Connell was the third angler with over 30 pounds on the day, with 10 for 31-5. He did it in the way he loves to fish, with a jerkbait and Lowrance ActiveTarget.
“It was a good day, and I caught them my favorite way,” Connell said. “I got a little pattern going but feel like I’m going to have to run new water if I have a chance to win. I have some places, but I don’t think it’s enough to beat these guys with what I have now.”
Connell is going all-in on the jerkbait tomorrow.
“I may crank a little in the morning, but I’ll have four jerkbait rods on the deck for the rest of the day,” he said.
The top five pros from Group B that made the cut and will advance to Championship Sunday on Grand Lake are:
1st: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., 11 bass, 33-2
2nd: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 12 bass, 31-9
3rd: Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 10 bass, 31-5
4th: Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., nine bass, 27-13
5th: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., seven bass, 26-11
The five pros eliminated from competition Saturday are:
6th: Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., eight bass, 21-8, $10,000
7th: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., two bass, 5-13, $10,000
8th: Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., two bass, 4-9, $10,000
9th: Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., one bass, 4-2, $10,000
10th: Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., zero bass, 0-0, $10,000
Full results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.