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Lake life

Area lands MLF wall hanger!

NOTE: When we talked to the MLF folks Wednesday about the final plans for next year’s tournament here, we were given the lakes in the wrong order for the first days. The first FOUR days will be on lake D’Arbonne — the biggest of the lakes. Then Caney, then Bussey for the finals. Sorry about that backlash! Info has been corrected in the article below!

Today was a Wall Hanger of a day for bass fishing enthusiasts in Lake D’Arbonne Country with the announcement that Caney Lake, Lake D’Arbonne and Bussey Brake will be featured as the first competition sites of the 2022 Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour.

Since it’s the first time for an event like this anywhere near us, it also left quite a few questions like “how are they going to fit on our lake?” and “are they going to catch all our fish?”. The answer is chill. And listen. These folks know what they are doing. Major League Fishing is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization.

These tournaments have no traditional weigh-in. Fish are caught, digitally weighed and recorded in the boat by a trained MLF marshall and then immediately released back in the same spot they were caught from. There’s even a penalty should the angler drop the fish in the boat. That shows how important the fishery is to them.

And you can almost “be in the boat” for the whole thing as it is broadcast live on MLF NOW!® and streamed to the Major League Fishing app, MyOutdoorTV (MOTV), and on MajorLeagueFishing.com. Each stage will then air on the Discovery Channel, beginning in July, 2022.

How can I say this: If that don’t make your worm wiggle, then you’re fishing with dead bait.

Wait, there’s more. Next year’s exact payouts have not been finalized yet, but the 2021 payouts go like this: The winner of the event gets $100,000. Yes, that is $100,000. Total payout for the event is around $800,000. Every angler gets a check for fishing. Let that swim around in your livewell for a few minutes!

The event is being hosted by the Monroe-West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau, which did a fantastic job getting this event in our back yard. It will take place Feb. 5-10, 2022.

Here’s how it will work. It’s complicated, but this is MLF’s fourth season, it works like a charm and will be a great event for our area.

The first four fishing days will be on Lake D’Arbonne in Farmerville . Only half of the 80-man field (Group A) will fish on Day 1. The second half of the field (Group B) will fish on Day 2. On Day 3, all of Group A will fish again. On Day 4, all of Group B will fish again. Total cumulative weights will then decide who survives to fish on Day 5.

On Day 5, the competition will move to Caney Lake in Chatham where the top 20 from Group A and the top 20 from Group B (40 total anglers) will fish in what is called the Knockout Round. At the end of that day, only the top ten will remain to fish on championship day. The rest get “knocked out”.

On Day 6, the competition and the Top Ten anglers will move to Bussey Brake in Bastrop to determine the champion. On this day, all competitors will begin anew with ZERO WEIGHT. Whoever catches the most total weight at Bussey will be the champion. And again, all fish caught will be weighed and recorded in the boat, then immediately released. The total weights could be amazing this time of year if the weather cooperates.

Unless somebody retires or has to drop out, the 2022 MLF field is pretty well set already. It includes two Louisiana pros, Cliff Crochet from Pierre Part and Gerald Spohrer from Gonzales. It also includes some more of the top anglers in America like Kevin Van Dam, Jacob Wheeler, Dean Rojas, Skeet Reese, Takahiro Omori, Ish Monroe, Aaron Martens, Randy Howell, Gary Klein, Shaw Grigsby, Ott Defoe and Brent Chapman. There are literally bass fishermen from Florida to California and two from Japan. You can click on the link below to see all of this year’s MFL Pro Bass Anglers:

“We are excited to host Stage One of the 2022 Bass Pro Tour on the beautiful waterways in Northeast Louisiana Sportsman’s Paradise,” said Scott Bruscato, Senior Vice President of Sales for the Monroe-West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We hope to create a memorable experience for all of the anglers and wish them good luck as they travel to Ouachita Parish in hopes of winning a championship. Discover Monroe-West Monroe and MLF have shared a common goal to produce great fishing events in north Louisiana, and we are thrilled to be partners again in 2022.”

“It’s incredibly exciting to bring the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour to new fisheries and communities and showcase the sport’s top level of tournament bass fishing to new fans and anglers,” said Michael Mulone, Senior Director of Events & Partnerships for MLF. “We appreciate the support of the outstanding communities that are hosting our Bass Pro Tour events and look forward to bringing our fast-paced, fan-friendly competitions to them and livestreaming to our fans worldwide.”

Get the net. And somebody call the taxidermist. This one’s going on the wall!

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