GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – Major League Fishing and the Bass Pro Tour, showcasing the top anglers in the sport of professional bass fishing, is set to visit Guntersville, Alabama, and Lake Guntersville next week, May 16-21, for the fourth regular-season event of the 2023 Bass Pro Tour season – Toro Stage Four at Lake Guntersville Presented by Bass Cat Boats.
The six-day tournament, hosted by Marshall County Tourism & Sports, will feature a field of 80 professional anglers, including bass-fishing superstars like Kevin VanDam, REDCREST 2023 Champion Bryan Thrift, reigning back-to-back Bally Bet Angler of the Year (AOY) Jacob Wheeler, Jordan Lee, and Guntersville’s own Boyd Duckett, Randy Howell, Chris Lane, Justin Lucas, Fletcher Shryock and Jacob Wall. They’ll be competing for a purse of more than $805,000, including a top payout of $100,000 and valuable Angler of the Year (AOY) points in hopes of qualifying for the General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and REDCREST 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship.
Although Lake Guntersville has hosted hundreds of professional level bass tournaments over the years, this event will mark the first time that the Bass Pro Tour has visited Alabama’s largest lake.
“We are extremely excited here in Marshall County to be hosting the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour at Lake Guntersville and Civitan Park,” said Katy Norton, President of Marshall County Tourism & Sports. “Lake Guntersville’s natural beauty provides the best venue for bass fishing in the country, and the economic impact that this event will provide is fantastic for our local community. We’re thrilled to showcase the best fishing and all that our area has to offer to a national audience.”
“There were some down years between 2016-19, but it’s been getting better every year,” said local pro Randy Howell. “The grass is healthy and there have been some really good spawns. The lake is full of 2- to 4-pound fish right now. It’s as good as it’s been in 10 years or longer.”
With the lake fishing well and the event held during an excellent time of year, Howell expects big things from his adopted home lake.
“Boy, the fish are going to be biting,” Howell said. “What’s good about this time of year is you will be able to catch them however you want to, there will be some fish shallow and some out deeper already. It will be an event where everything seems to be working.”
Anglers will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. CT each day from the Guntersville Civitan Park, located at 1130 Sunset Drive in Guntersville. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the launch locations, beginning at 4 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all launch and takeout events and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLFNOW! live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
As part of the event, on Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21, the MLF Fan Experience will be taking place at Civitan Park in Guntersville from 1-6 p.m. MLF will welcome fans of all ages to celebrate fishing and the outdoors with concerts in the park, hosted by Explore Lake Guntersville, featuring JUICE on Saturday and Jackson Chase on Sunday. Food and drinks will be available from local food trucks and fans can check out the latest gear and offerings from MLF and MLF sponsors including Toyota, Favorite Fishing, Kubota, U.S. Air Force, and The Fallen Outdoors. On Sunday, fans can hang out and watch the pros live on the MLFNOW! big screen during the MLF Watch Party. The final 10 Championship Round Bass Pro Tour anglers will be on hand at the trophy celebration to meet and greet fans, sign autographs, and take selfies.
Toro Stage Four at Lake Guntersville Presented by Bass Cat Boats will feature pros competing using the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, with each angler’s five heaviest bass per day tallied as their day’s weight. Anglers strive to catch their heaviest five fish each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the live scoring SCORETRACKER® leaderboard.
Minimum weights are determined individually for each competition waters that the Bass Pro Tour visits, based on the productivity, bass population and anticipated average size of fish in each fishery.
The 2023 Bass Pro Tour features a field of 80 of the top professional anglers in the world competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, fishing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and REDCREST 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship, held March 13-17, 2024, on Lay Lake in Birmingham, Alabama.
The 40 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day qualifying round on Tuesday and Thursday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Wednesday and Friday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the Top 20 anglers from each group advance to Saturday’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 Sunday’s 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.
The MLFNOW! broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action live on all six days of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT. MLFNOW! will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of Toro Stage Four at Lake Guntersville Presented by Bass Cat Boats will air as two, two-hour episodes starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 14 on Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, with re-airings on Outdoor Channel.
Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, Ark Fishing, ATG + Wrangler, B&W Trailer Hitches, Bally Bet, Bass Cat Boats, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, Daiwa, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Ferguson, Fox Rent A Car, General Tire, Grundéns, Humminbird, Lowrance, Minn Kota, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Power-Pole, Rapala, Star tron, T-H Marine, TORO, Toyota, U.S. Air Force, Yellowstone Bourbon, Yo-Zuri and Zoom Baits.