Fox Rent A Car Stage Three Presented by Mercury
Photo: MLF Pro Angler, Anthony Gagliardi
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Major League Fishing (MLF) and the Bass Pro Tour,
featuring the top anglers in professional bass fishing, is set to visit Columbia, South Carolina, and Lake Murray next week, April 2-7, for the third regular-season event of the 2023 season – the Fox Rent A Car Stage Three at Lake Murray Presented by Mercury.
The six-day tournament, hosted by Capital City/Lake Murray Country, will showcase 80 of the top professional anglers in the world, including bass-fishing superstars like Kevin VanDam, REDCREST 2023 Champion Bryan Thrift, Jacob Wheeler, Jordan Lee, and local favorite Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, South Carolina. 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.
"Lake Murray Country is excited to welcome Major League Fishing's Bass Pro Tour to Lake Murray,” stated Miriam Atria, President and CEO of Capital City/Lake Murray Country. “This event and tournament trail is so popular with bass fishing audiences, and our regional tourism office always loves the community support and television exposure this event provides for our region. Lake Murray is an amazing fishery that offers the professional anglers a competitive experience along with great catches."
The Jewel of South Carolina has hosted prior MLF Cup events and numerous events with FLW and MLF over the years, but the Bass Pro Tour’s arrival for Stage Three marks the tour’s first trip to the famed lake.
Lake Murray’s most recent professional event was a Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit tournament in 2021. That event, also in April, was won by Bass Pro Tour rookie Matt Becker. Second place in that event was Anthony Gagliardi, who also won the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup on his home waters.
Gagliardi says that historically, the first week of April is dead center in the bass spawn.
“There will be fish spawning, but still plenty of fish that are in the prespawn mode and feeding heavily,” Gagliardi said. “It should be a fun event and there will be various ways to catch fish. The lake is in good shape and full of 3- to 5-pound fish.”
While the lake is known for the blueback herring and the nomadic bass that chase them in open water, Gagliardi believes the event’s timing will make them less of a factor.
“It’s awful early for them to be on the bluebacks,” Gagliardi said. “Anything could happen if we get a milder winter and warmer spring, but I believe most of the bass will be on the bank. You should be able to target the prespawn fish or also try to catch spawners.”
Anglers will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. ET each day from Dreher Island State Park, located at 3677 State Park Road in Prosperity. 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 MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
On Championship Friday, April 7, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. MLF will welcome fans of all ages to visit Dreher Island State Park and celebrate the top 10 and crown the Fox Rent A Car Stage Three at Lake Murray Champion at the Watch Party and Trophy Presentation. 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.
The Fox Rent A Car Stage Three at Lake Murray Presented by Mercury will feature pros competing using the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, with each angler’s five (5) 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 MLF 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 Sunday and Tuesday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Monday and Wednesday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the top 20 anglers from each group advance to Thursday’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 Friday’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 MLF NOW!® 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. ET. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the Fox Rent A Car Stage Three at Lake Murray Presented by Mercury will air as two, two-hour episodes starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 7 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, with re-airings on the 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.
For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the Bass Pro Tour, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
About Major League Fishing
Major League Fishing (MLF) is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, producing more than 250 events annually at some of the most prestigious fisheries in the world, while broadcasting to America’s living rooms on CBS, the Discovery Channel, the Outdoor Channel, CBS Sports Network, the World Fishing Network and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, the MLF roster of bass anglers includes the world’s top pros and more than 30,000 competitors in all 50 states and 13 countries. Since its founding in 2011, MLF has advanced the sport of competitive fishing through its premier television broadcasts and livestreams and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for bass through research, education, fisheries enhancement and fish care.
Major League Fishing – WE ARE Bass Fishing™
About Capital City/Lake Murray Country
CCLMC is the official source for all things Lake Murray Country. Find information on attractions, dining, hotels, outdoor recreation, fishing, golf, and events to plan your next trip. Explore The Top Southern Destinations of Columbia, Richland, Lexington, Newberry, and Saluda. For more information about CCLMC visit LakeMurrayCountry.com or call 803-781-5940 | 1-866-SC-Jewel.
For more Information about Lake Murray events or Major League Fishing please contact:
Capital City/Lake Murray Country
Media Contact: Micah Decker, VP of Marketing
Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board
Major League Fishing
Media Contact: Joe Opager, Director of Communications
218-434-0748 | firstname.lastname@example.org