By MLF Communications Staff
Lewis Smith Lake in Alabama will host the second event of the 2021 MLF Pro Circuit campaign this week. Competition takes place today through Sunday with a total purse of more than $900,000 up for grabs.
The event will mark the fifth time the Pro Circuit has visited Lewis Smith Lake. The last was in April 2018, when North Carolina's David Williams took advantage of the shad spawn around the docks, taking home the trophy with a four-day total of 64-09.
Prior to that, in March 2015, Pennsylvania pro Dave Lefebre sacked up 65-05 over four days, with a unique technique – targeting fish chasing blueback herring with a wakebait – to capture the win. Lefebre also holds the record for the heaviest winning weight in a Pro Circuit event on Smith Lake.
“I was able to fish on Smith Lake a lot last year due to COVID-19 – it is phenomenal through the winter months and anglers are able to get a lot of bites," said Bass Pro Tour angler Matt Lee, a Cullman native. "The fishing is ideal right now and will be through the next month or so. It’s setting up nice and we haven’t had any crazy amounts of rain or flooding, so I think guys are going to be able to catch them just about any way they want to.”
Although Smith Lake is a highland reservoir and known for its deep, clear water, with depths up to 250 feet, with spring around the corner the fish are starting to move up to shallower water.
“It’s in that pre-spawn phase right now – right in between moons, when fish are moving up – so this should be a really good tournament,” Lee said. “The dirtier water back in the creeks is always a factor on Smith Lake. However, with the number of boats in the field, there’s not as much of it, so it can fish small under that type of pressure and it might be tricky to count on that to hold up for four days.
“I predict it will take 17 pounds a day to win the event and 15 pounds the first three days should guarantee a spot in the top 10 on the final day."
Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. CT each day from Smith Lake Park (403 County Road 386 in Cullman). Weigh-ins will also be held at the park today and Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m. Due to COVID-19 precautions, attendance is limited to competing anglers, family, essential staff and media covering the event. Fans are encouraged to follow the action online through the MLF NOW! livestream and coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The full field of 163 anglers compete in the two-day opening round on today and Friday. The top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advance to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continue competition on Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
Fans can catch live on-the-water action all day Saturday and Sunday on MLF NOW! beginning at 7:30 a.m. CT at MajorLeagueFishing.com. The tournament will be featured in a two-hour television show that will premiere on the Outdoor Channel on Sunday, July 18 from 7 to 9 a.m. ET and re-air on the Sportsman Channel this fall.
The 2021 season culminates with the Pro Circuit TITLE, where the top 48 pros in the points standings plus, 2020 TITLE champion Rusty Salewske and 2020 Angler of the Year Ron Nelson will compete for as much as $235,000. The 2021 TITLE will be held on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisc. from Aug. 17-22.