BRANSON, Mo–Some of the best professional anglers in the world will be in Branson over the next week.
It’s the first time that Table Rock Lake has hosted a Major League Fishing event.
And the anglers say it could be a record setting tournament.
The bass will be jumping out of Table Rock Lake this weekend at Major League Fishing’s Bass Pro Tour Berkley Stage 6 tournament.
“We’re going to see some incredible weights because Table Rock has a huge number of spotted, large mouth and small mouth in it. That scoretracker’s going to be dinging,” said Kevin VanDam.
The seven-time Angler of the year and 79 of his fishing buddies will be flipping and bombing for the $100-thousand dollar first place check.
“On a place like this with a huge population of fish you’ll see some incredible weights. I would be surprised if some guys don’t break 100 pounds in one day.”
This isn’t your grandpa’s Bass tournament with afternoon weigh-ins.
Major League Fishing has brought tournament fishing into the 21st century.
The Bass Pro Tour is a six day event with that 80 angler field getting cut down to 10 for the final day’s competition.
The fish are caught, weighed, and released within seconds.
Refs are on the boats and the weights are immediately registered into computers and live streamed to fans and competitors in real time.
VanDam:”We’re pretty proud of the format without a doubt. Not only is it great for the fisheries from the standpoint from the conservation side of it. The average time that one of our fish is out of the water is less than 30 seconds. And they get released right back there on the spot.”
This is the first year that Bass Pro Shops has been the title sponsor for MLF.
VanDam:”It’s a home field event for Bass Pro for sure…It’s an exciting deal. We have a big activation with the post game show down at the Shooting Academy this weekend.”
That’s where fans can watch the on the water action and then meet the anglers.
Pros VanDam can’t wait.
“Conditions are perfect, They’re going to be biting.”
The Bass Pro Tour Berkley Stage Six starts Friday morning with the first 40 anglers hitting the lake.
They’ll cut the field to ten for the championship which is next Tuesday, May 21st.
You can see that postgame show live at the Bass Pro Shops Shooting Academy in Ridgedale south of Branson.
That starts at 4:00 p.m. each day after fishing.