Major League Fishing’s Bass Pro Tour kicked off day one of its six-day bass fishing competition Feb. 12 on Lake Conroe. Lake Conroe and its 21,000 acres of water is Stage 2 in the MLF’s eight-event tournament, with 80 professional anglers from across the world competing to catch the highest cumulative weight and win the $100,000 cash prize.
According to the MLF, an 80-man roster was split into two 40-person groups, with the first group hitting the water Feb. 12 and the second group competing Feb. 13. The anglers will have chance to improve their rankings when the groups get a second day on the water on Feb. 14 and Feb. 15, respectively. On Feb. 16, the top 20 anglers from each group will compete, with the winners heading into the championship round Feb. 17.
Although the MLF has been part of the professional fishing circuit since 2011, the 2019 season is the first year the tournament is being live-streamed during each competition day. Viewers can tune into the live stream for free at the MLF website.
But Montgomery resident Brandon Dickenson was not satisfied with watching the competition from home. Instead, Dickenson was one of a handful of fishing fans who got their boats on Lake Conroe to observe the pro anglers firsthand.
“I just enjoy watching [pro fishing and]following it,” Dickenson said. “I know a lot of guys who fish a bunch, but they don’t follow any of the circuits. I’m absolutely in love with everything about it.”
Louisiana resident David Fontenot, who is the team lead for boat officials at the tournament, said he volunteered to work the tour because he is a lifelong fisherman who has watched the sport for many years. Fontenot also said he enjoys the sport because it allows people of all ages to participate.
“To me, it’s the purest form of our sport, and it’s fun to see it evolve,” Fontenot said. “Like Rick Clunn just won a Bassmaster tournament on St. Johns River in Florida, and he’s 72 years old competing against 20-year-olds. [Professional fishing] is really one of the only sports that somebody [that age]can do that.”
Kelly Schafler is a reporter for the Conroe and Montgomery edition of Community Impact, covering public education, city government, development, businesses, local events and all things community-related. Before she joined Community Impact as a full-time reporter in June 2017, Kelly wrote business and dining features for CI as a freelance journalist.