James River Set For MLF Bass Pro Tour General Tire Stage Six Presented By O’Reilly Auto Parts 

Richmond, VA– The Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour is set to visit the James River in Richmond, Virginia, June 25-30, for the sixth event of the 2024 season – the General Tire Stage Six at James River Presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts.

The six-day tournament, hosted by Richmond Region Tourism, will feature a field of 79 professional anglers, including Ott DeFoe , back-to-back Angler of the Year (AOY) Jacob Wheeler, two-time reigning REDCREST Champion Dustin Connell, and Virginia pros like David Dudley of Lynchburg, Virginia, and Martin Villa of Charlottesville, Virginia. They’ll be competing for a purse of $659,000, including a top payout of $100,000 and valuable Angler of the Year (AOY) points in hopes of qualifying for the General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and REDCREST 2025, the Bass Pro Tour championship.

“We’re excited to welcome Major League Fishing organizers, anglers and fans to the Richmond Region,” said Jerrine Lee, Vice President of Sales at Richmond Region Tourism. “The James River is known for its world-class fishing and exciting outdoor activities. We know anglers will experience some incredible bass fishing during the tournament and we can’t wait to cheer them all on.”

The tournament will feature the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, in which anglers catch as much weight as they can each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the SCORETRACKER® leaderboard. The tournament is being filmed for broadcast later this year on Discovery. 

While the James River has hosted numerous bass tournaments over the years, this will be the Bass Pro Tour’s maiden voyage on the fishery. The majority of MLF experience is limited to a few Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournaments, several Toyota Series events, the 2003 Forrest Wood Cup and a Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event in 2022. 

Charlottesville, Virginia’s Martin Villa will be competing in the tournament and said he’s looking forward to an excellent event on one of Virginia’s big bass factories.

“The James River is an exceptional tidal fishery,” said Villa. “It’s very versatile, so anglers will definitely be able to play to their strengths and catch them in a variety of ways, anywhere from cranking to ‘scoping. The river has a lot of vegetation around it with a pretty heavy tide and is very fertile.”

Although fish typically spawn later on a tidal fishery, Villa said the spawning season should be wrapped up by the time the tournament hits the river, making for a great postspawn event.  

“I expect to see a lot of shallow-water angling, with guys flipping, throwing topwater baits and squarebills,” said Villa. “I think we will see guys doing really good flipping creature baits and soft plastics and throwing a frog. It really could be won multiple ways. It’s a known spinnerbait hole and a known jig hole, but it really just depends on the mood of the fish.”

The James River is Virginia’s largest tributary to the Chesapeake Bay and Villa said viewers can expect to see bass caught all across the river.  

“It’s massive, with a lot of nooks and crannies, so the competition will really go down all over the river,” said Villa. “I think it will take 45 to 50 pounds to make the cut into the Knockout Round, and we’ll definitely see some big fish caught throughout the event – there’s potential for some good Heavy Hitters fish opportunities.”

Anglers will launch at 7:30 a.m. ET each day from Osborne Landing, located at 9530 Osborne Turnpike in Richmond. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the landing, beginning at 4 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all launch and takeout events and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLFNOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at  MajorLeagueFishing.com.

On Saturday and Sunday, June 29-30, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. MLF welcomes fans of all ages to visit Osborne Landing for the MLF Watch Party and Kids Fishing Derby. Fans can watch the pros live on the MLFNOW! big screen, enjoy free food, enter to win hourly giveaways and cheer on their favorite pros. The first 50 kids 14 and under will receive a free rod and reel from Pure Fishing each day. Additional fishing gear will be provided onsite for the fishing derby or kids can bring their own. The final 10 Championship Round Bass Pro Tour anglers will be on hand at the trophy celebration on Championship Sunday to meet and greet fans, sign autographs and take selfies.

The General Tire Stage Six at James River Presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts will feature anglers competing with a 1-pound, 8-ounce minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable. The MLF Fisheries Management Division determines minimum weights for each body of water that the Bass Pro Tour visits, based on the productivity, bass population and anticipated average size of fish in each fishery.

The Bass Pro Tour features a field of 79 of the top professional anglers in the world, competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2025 championship.

The 39 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day Qualifying Round on Tuesday and Thursday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Wednesday and Friday. After each two-day Qualifying Round is complete, the anglers that finish first through 10th from both groups advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed, and the remaining 20 anglers compete to finish in the top 10 to advance to Sunday’s Championship Round. In the final-day Championship Round, weights are zeroed, and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

The MLFNOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action live on the final four days of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT. MLFNOW!®  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

Television coverage of the General Tire Stage Six at James River Presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts Championship Round will air as a two-hour episode starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Nov. 9 on Discovery. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, with re-airings on Outdoor Channel.

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, BUBBA, Epic Baits, Fishing Clash, Garmin, General Tire, Humminbird, Lowrance, Mercury, MillerTech, Minn Kota, Mossy Oak Fishing, NITRO, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Onyx, Plano, Power-Pole, PowerStop Brakes, Rapala, REDCON1, Star brite, Suzuki, Toyota, U.S. Air Force and WIX Filters.

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 FacebookX,  Instagram and YouTube.

About Major League Fishing (MLF)

Major League Fishing 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, Discovery Channel, Outdoor Channel, CBS Sports Network, World Fishing Network and on demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). Headquartered 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 17 countries. 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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