Fishing & Boating News

Alton Jones Jr. Wins MLF Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage Two on Lake Fork Presented by Grundéns

Alton Jones Jr. Wins MLF Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage Two on Lake Fork Presented by Grundéns

by: Joe Opager | Director of Communications, Major League Fishing

For the first time in his career Alton Jones, Jr. has earned his own big red trophy.
Photo by courstey MLF
(Feb 26, 2022 - QUITMAN, Texas)  After making the Bass Pro Tour Championship Round six previous times, for the first time in his career Alton Jones, Jr. has earned his own big red trophy. The 29-year-old Waco, Texas pro caught 13 bass weighing 46 pounds, 2 ounces Friday to win the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Toro Stage Two on Lake Fork Presented by Grundéns in Quitman, Texas, and earn the top prize of $100,000.

Link to Photo of Stage Two Winner Alton Jones, Jr.
Link to Photo Gallery of Best Shots from Championship Day
Link to Video of Fish Catch Highlights from Day 6
Link to Video of Alton Jones, Jr. Trophy Presentation

Going into the third and final period of competition Friday, Jones held a 9-pound, 7-ounce lead over fellow Texan Dakota Ebare. However, 10 minutes into the period, Ebare had boated a 4-13 and a 6-8 to seize the lead from Jones with just 50 minutes left in the competition. Five minutes later, Jones managed to catch a 2½-pounder and took the lead back from Ebare by a scant 10 ounces. Neither was able to catch a fish in the final 45 minutes, and although Academy Sports + Outdoors pro Jacob Wheeler made it interesting at the end to get within six pounds, Jones’ 13 bass for 46-2 earned him the win by a narrow 10-ounce margin.

I’m so excited – I really didn’t see this coming,” an emotional Jones said at his Bass Pro Tour Trophy Presentation. “If you’d asked me halfway through our first day if I’d have a shot to win this thing, I would have said absolutely not. Somehow, someway, by the grace of God, it just kind of came together this week. They say when it’s your time, it’s your time and I guess it’s just my time.

There are so many great anglers here,” Jones continued. “We’ve got a lot of really great anglers that have fished for a very long time and never won one. You see it all the time. I don’t even feel like I’m that good of an angler. I don’t know why it was me, but I just feel so blessed, so fortunate, so lucky and just thankful.”

Jones hunkered down on Championship Friday in the same drain in Little Caney Creek where he started the event on Day 1. It was an area that he had high hopes for, but it took awhile for it to develop.

“I fished the entire first period (of Day 1) in this drain and didn’t get a bite for an hour,” Jones said. “I didn’t come back here until the Knockout Round, but I came in here that day and the magic happened. I was able to get pretty dialed on what the fish wanted.”

What the fish wanted was a red squarebill crankbait.

“I have to give a huge shoutout to Jordan Lee,” Jones said. “I got onto a crankbait bite in practice, then the second day of the tournament I got onto a squarebill bite, however, none of the squarebills I had were running deep enough. I called Jordan that evening and asked if he had any extra squarebills that ran 5 to 6 feet, and he literally opened his tackle box and said take whatever you want. That helped me out so much – I caught every one of those fish on that bait.”

The top 10 pros at the Toro Stage Two on Lake Fork Presented by Grundéns finished:

1st:          Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, 13 bass, 46-2, $100,000
2nd:         Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 10 bass, 45-8, $45,000
3rd:         Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., 10 bass, 40-0, $38,000
4th:         Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., 11 bass, 36-4, $32,000
5th:         Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, six bass, 29-2, $30,000
6th:         Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., five bass, 26-0, $26,000
7th:         Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., five bass, 23-8, $23,000
8th:         Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 20-14, $21,000
9th:         Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, three bass, 12-7, $19,000
10th:       Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, one bass, 4-3, $16,000

Full results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall there were 69 scorable bass weighing 284 pounds even caught by the final 10 pros Friday. The catch included one 7-pounder and three 8-pounders.

Wheeler earned Friday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass award with an 8-pound, 5-ounce largemouth that bit a jerkbait in Period 2. Covercraft pro Bradley Roy of Lancaster, Kentucky, earned the $3,000 Berkley Big Bass award for the overall largest bass of the event with his 11-pound, 11-ounce giant that he weighed on Day 1 of competition.

The Toro Stage Two on Lake Fork Presented by Grundéns featured anglers competing with a 2-pound minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable. 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 Toro Stage Two on Lake Fork Presented by Grundéns, hosted by the Lake Fork Area Chamber of Commerce, the Wood County EDC, the Sabine River Authority and the Rains County Tourism Board, showcased 80 of the top professional bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a purse of $805,000, including a top cash prize of $100,000 to the winner.

Television coverage of the Toro Stage Two on Lake Fork Presented by Grundéns will premiere at 7 a.m. ET, Sept. 17 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.

The 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, competing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2023 championship.

Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, BallyBet, Bass Cat, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Covercraft, Favorite Fishing, Garmin, General Tire, Googan Baits, Grundéns, Guaranteed Rate, Humminbird, Lowrance, Luminox, Mercury, Minn Kota, Mossy Oak, Nitro Performance Boats, Onyx, Plano, Power-Pole, Power Stop, Rapala, Starbrite, Toro, Toyota, Wrangler, Yellowstone Bourbon and Zoom.

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 Tulsa, Oklahoma, with offices 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. In 2019, MLF expanded its portfolio of catch, weigh, and immediately release events to include the sport’s strongest five-biggest-fish format tournament circuits. 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.

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