Major League Fishing announced today that it's added a unique event called "Heavy Hitters" to the 2020 Bass Pro Tour schedule. The tournament, which will offer a purse of nearly $750,000, will take place May 16-20 at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Florida.
To qualify for Heavy Hitters, the weight of an angler’s single largest bass from each of the first five events on the BPT will be recorded. For example, if an angler’s heaviest fish in Stage One is 7 pounds; in Stage Two, 5 pounds; in Stage Three, 9 pounds; in Stage Four, 8 pounds; and in Stage Five, 6 pounds, that angler’s qualifying weight will be 35 pounds. The 30 anglers from the 80-angler field of the Bass Pro Tour with the highest cumulative weight across five stages earn a spot to compete in Heavy Hitters.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to experiment with formats so we can discover new ways to present the sport of competitive bass fishing,” said MLF president and CEO Jim Wilburn. “As a young, angler-centric league, MLF strives to take notice of what’s happening in our industry and invent entertaining events that both teach trusted techniques from the best anglers in the world and invite new fans to the sport.”
The five-day tournament format will parallel the Redcrest Championship, featuring a 30-angler Shotgun Round (day 1) and a 30-angler Elimination Round (day 2). The top 20 anglers at the end of those two days qualify into a Knockout Round (days 3 and 4). The top 5 anglers from each of days 3 and 4 will qualify into the 10-angler Championship Round (day 5).
Scorable bass will vary each round. Shotgun and Elimination Rounds will score 1 pound or higher, with the minimum weight rising to 2 pounds for the Knockout Round and 3 pounds for the Championship Round.
The full field of 30 anglers will receive a minimum payout of $6,000 and the tournament winner will earn $100,000. In addition to the championship purse, anglers will have the opportunity to earn a daily bonus for their biggest bass of the day based on the following graduating scale: day 1, $25,000; day 2, $25,000; day 3, $50,000; day 4, $50,000; day 5, $100,000. The five-day payout totals $745,000.
MLF will live-stream Heavy Hitters from Kissimmee, Fla. and produce original programming for Discovery Network as a part of the Bass Pro Tour television lineup.
With the addition of Heavy Hitters, Stage Five of the Bass Pro Tour will move to Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees, April 24-29, launching from the Wolf Creek Boat Ramp in Grove, Okla.
The 2020 Bass Pro Tour begins on Lake Eufaula (Ala.) on February 7 and ends on Lake Champlain (Vt.) in late July. Each Stage of the Bass Pro Tour is broadcast live on the Major League Fishing app, MyOutdoorTV (MOTV), and majorleaguefishing.com, totaling more than 325 hours of original programming. Highlights from each Stage of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour will air on Discovery Network beginning in July 2020 and Sportsman Channel in early 2021.