By MLF Communications Staff
Major League Fishing (MLF) is set to open the 2021 Bass Pro Tour season this weekend at Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas. The six-day competition gets underway Sunday and runs through March 26.
Although Sam Rayburn has played host to numerous MLF BIG5 (previously FLW) tournaments over the years, 2021 will mark the first time that the BPT has visited the venue. The event will be fished using MLF’s catch, weigh, immediate-release format, in which the anglers try to catch as much weight as they can, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the ScoreTracker leaderboard.
The total purse for the event is more than $805,000, with $100,000 going to the winner.
“I’m really excited about starting the season off at Sam Rayburn,” said pro Kelly Jordon, a 25-year veteran from Flint, Texas. “With all of the huge bass Texas is kicking out so far this year, I know we will be in the right place to catch some big ones. My goal is to win the season-opener at Sam Rayburn, although I know that 79 other anglers will be there with a similar goal in mind. I can’t wait.”
“I really love Rayburn,” Florida pro Shaw Grigsby told MajorLeagueFishing.com reporter Dave Landahl. “What’s not to love? It holds big bass, and lots of them. It’s loaded with hydrilla and other vegetation, and really fits my fishing style from Florida. It’s one of those textbook lakes, something you’d read about in a magazine. You can figure fish out and you’re able to pattern them.
Grigsby expects to use an assortment of soft plastics like Rage Bugs, Rage Lizards, Caffeine Shads, small tubes, an Ocho, and even a dropshot at Rayburn. Add a mixed bag of Strike King Thunder Crickets, Red Eye Shads, and a KVD jerkbait, and the veteran believes that he has a well-rounded toolbox for east Texas in early March.
“I’ll be looking for big ones to sight-fish with my trolling motor on high, and I’ll use the moving baits to pick off bass as I’m looking for the giants,” he says. “I’ll probably be throwing that Thunder Cricket the most for my moving bait.
"We could see the record big fish for the Bass Pro Tour caught here,” Grigsby added. “It’s rare to be there this time of year and not see a 10- to 13-pound bass on a bed. I’m excited to be at one of the best lakes in the country at the best time of the year for really big bass.”
The 2021 Bass Pro Tour features a field of 76 of the top professional anglers in the world – joined at each event by four pros who qualify from the Pro Circuit – competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, vying for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2022 championship.
The four anglers from the Pro Circuit that will join the Bass Pro Tour to compete at Rayburn are Ron Nelson, Spencer Shuffield, Grae Buck and Matt Becker. Those anglers qualified via their No. 1 through No. 4 finishes in the 2020 Pro Circuit Angler of the Year standings.
In accordance with COVID-19 protocols, attendance is limited to competing anglers, essential staff and media covering the event only. Fans are encouraged to follow the event online through the MLF NOW! livestream and ScoreTracker coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Television coverage of the tournament will be showcased across two two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, Aug. 28 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.
The MLF NOW! broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action on all six days of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MLF NOW! will be live-streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com. and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.