Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma, weighed in eight bass totaling 25 pounds, 14 ounces Wednesday to win the Knockout Round (Group A) on Day 3 at REDCREST 2021, the Bass Pro Tour championship at Lake Eufaula. The five-day competition features a field of 40 of the best anglers in the world from the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour competing for a top cash prize of $300,000.
Advancing alongside Birge to Friday’s Championship round are pros Dustin Connell, Jacob Wheeler, Mark Davis and David Dudley.
The full field of anglers competed in the two-day Qualifying Round Monday and Tuesday of the event. The field was cut to just the top 20 based on two-day total cumulative weight. The remaining 20 anglers were split into two groups for the Knockout Round – 10 (Group A) competed on Wednesday and 10 (Group B) Thursday. The top five anglers from each group based on total single-day weight will advance to the Championship Round, the fifth and final day of competition Friday where weights are zeroed and the angler that catches the highest total weight on the final day will be crowned the REDCREST 2021 champion. Birge said he was using a white Omega Genesis TI spinnerbait.
“I’ve been doing pretty much the same thing all week, throwing a spinnerbait around brush,” Birge said. “Overall, today went pretty good for me. I caught more today than either of the two previous days, even though the fishing was tougher overall. I ran around and fished brush, pretty much all over the bottom quarter of the lake.
“The event is going to boil down to whether I can get enough bites,” Birge continued. “I know the fish are around, because I can see them. But it’s whether or not they will want to chew. I keep thinking that any day the fish are going to move to the bank and it’s going to off, but it just hasn’t happened yet. It could happen tomorrow, it could happen Friday, but it’s going to be soon.”
Birge has thrown the spinnerbait all week on a 7-foot, 3-inch Favorite Fishing rod with 20-pound-test Yo-Zuri T7 Premium Fluorocarbon line.
The top five pros that made the cut and will advance to Championship Friday on Lake Eufaula are:
1st: Zack Birge of Blanchard, Okla., eight bass, 25-14
2nd: Dustin Connell of Clanton, Ala., six bass, 17-4
3rd: Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn., five bass, 15-2
4th: Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark., three bass, 11-14
5th: David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., four bass, 10-14
The five pros eliminated from competition Wednesday are:
6th: Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., two bass, 7-10
7th: Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Ark., two bass, 5-12
8th: Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., one bass, 3-7
9th: Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., one bass, 3-7
10th: Fred Roumbanis of Russellville, Ark., zero bass
Full results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
VanDam won Wednesday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award with a 5-pound, 6-ounce largemouth that he weighed in during Period 1. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler that weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $7,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.
REDCREST 2021 Presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage, the Bass Pro Tour championship at Lake Eufaula, is hosted by the Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce.
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!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com