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St. Croix: Lay Lake And Birmingham Set To Host REDCREST 2024

St. Croix Rod welcomes anglers and fans to REDCREST 2024 and the MLF Outdoor Sports Expo in Birmingham, Alabama, March 13-17

Birmingham, AL– All eyes within the bass-fishing world will be on Alabama’s Lay Lake when Major League Fishing’s REDCREST comes to Birmingham for its fifth installment, March 13-17, 2024. Some of the best bass anglers in the game – 50 of them – will battle it out for the REDCREST Championship Trophy, a $300,000 top prize, and the title of Bass Pro Tour World Champion.
 
REDCREST Anglers compete using the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release live-scoring format, with on-the-water tournament action livestreamed to create the biggest watch party in bass fishing.

The competition begins with Qualifying Rounds on March 14-15, when all 50 anglers compete each day to make the top 20 based on combined weight. A Knockout Round follows on March 16, culminating in a Championship Round on March 17, where the top 10 anglers will vie for the title.

Local Favorite
 
MLF Bass Pro Tour angler, Jesse Wiggins of nearby Cullman, Alabama, is definitely one to watch once competition begins on Lay Lake – a 12,000-acre Coosa River impoundment. After two MLF Pro Bass Tour events this season, the St. Croix Rod and SEVIIN Reels pro has a pair of top-ten finishes and is in second place – just seven points from the lead – in the 2024 Bass Pro Tour Fishing Clash AOY points race. What’s more, those who know Wiggins understand his proficiency with crankbaits, vibrating jigs, and shakeyhead jigs – all of which are looking to play at REDCREST.

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MLF / Phoenix Moore photo.

This is Wiggins’ third consecutive REDCREST appearance. “I’ve never fished Lay Lake itself, but I’ve been through there,” says Wiggins, who’s dominated more than a few Alabama tournaments in the past. “It’ll be pretty good, I think. If it warms up there’ll be some spawning in that shallow shoreline grass. It’s really the perfect time of year for that lake. If they aren’t spawning yet they’ll be holding close in those transition areas like points coming into pockets and holding off those rocky banks and shorelines.”
 
If the fish are up shallow, Wiggins expects to target spawning largemouth and spotted bass with a shakeyhead worm. “I do love the shakeyhead,” a grinning Wiggins says. “Especially on a 7’1” medium-heavy power, extra-fast action St. Croix Legend Elite (EC71MHXF) rod. It’s just so light, well balanced, and easy to fish, with that sensitivity you’ve gotta have when you blind fish to spawning bass.”
 
Wiggins says he’d be surprised if he didn’t bounce a few crankbaits off the rocks, or tie on a bladed jig, too. “I really think it’ll be game-on with the spawn, but time of day and varying conditions throughout the tournament are going to have fish coming and going,” he says. “Vibrating jigs and crankbaits in that DT-6 class should be ideal for those transition areas.” Wiggins fishes these reaction baits on a 6.6:1 SEVIIN GF Series casting reel. For the cranks, he opts for 12-pound fluorocarbon line. “Anytime I’m throwing to and deflecting off cover, I’m a big fan of constantly retying knots,” Jesse says. “That, and pre-spawn fish get spunky as water temps climb, so you’re always rubbing rocks, stumps, and sticks when fighting fish. Retying is a good habit to get into and it’s a lot faster to do that with fluoro than braid.

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St. Croix Rods/SEVIIN Reels pro, Jesse Wiggins, reels in a bass at the recent MLF Bass Pro Tour event at Santee Cooper Lakes, where he finished third. MLF / Phoenix Moore photo.

Wiggins says his crankbait rod choice is also critical. “I’m looking for sensitivity with forgiveness – the sensitivity to be able to feel what the bait is doing and contacting, and forgiveness to cushion the strike and keep the hooks in the fish.” His go-to crankin’ stick is a St. Croix’s 6’10” Legend Glass moderate action casting rod in medium-heavy power (LGC610MHM). “I’m casting under limbs and at targets with my rod right up against the bank,” he adds. “For back-arm casts, and small flips, I can be more efficient and more productive with that slightly shorter rod.”  For vibrating jigs, Wiggins opts for the Legend Glass LGC72HM Rip N Chatter rod and slightly stronger 15-pound fluorocarbon line.
 
For the Fans
 
In addition to the REDCREST tournament, Birmingham will also host the REDCREST Outdoor Sports Expo, March 15-17 at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, featuring hundreds of exhibitors and activities. Fishing and outdoor enthusiasts from around the globe will watch the world’s best bass-fishing action live. Fans on site will enjoy the crowd experience of the watch party as well as engage with sponsors and exhibitors to see the latest new tackle, gear, boats, and outdoor equipment. The biggest names in the outdoor industry will be on hand, including Bass Pro Tour anglers, St. Croix Rod – handcrafters of the Best Rods on Earth for 75 years – and SEVIIN Reels.

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St. Croix: Lay Lake And Birmingham Set To Host REDCREST 2024 1

Visitors to the MLF Outdoor Sports Expo will want to make time to visit the St. Croix and SEVIIN booth (#225). “Anglers who have been paying attention to social media over the past few weeks know it’s a particularly exciting time for us here at St. Croix,” says St. Croix Brand Manager, Ryan Teach. “If you’re coming to the Expo, be sure to stop by the booth and ask to see and feel our new PHYSYX carbon TRIGON handle. These incredible rods won’t be available to anglers until March 22, but you can see them here at REDCREST!”

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The SEVIIN Reels Team is also excited to talk with anglers at the Expo. “MLF and REDCREST have great fans, and they’re the kind of anglers we really appreciate seeing and hearing from,” says SEVIIN Product Manager, Robert Woods. “Our new SEVIIN GS and GX Series spinning reels have only been out for a few weeks now. We’re incredibly proud of the performance and reliability these new reels are delivering to anglers, so be sure to come by and see what all the buzz is about, firsthand.”

St. Croix

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 FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

About St. Croix Rod

Headquartered in Park Falls, Wisconsin, St. Croix has been proudly producing the “Best Rods on Earth” for 75 years. Combining state-of-the-art manufacturing processes with skilled craftsmanship, St. Croix is the only major producer to still build rods entirely from design through manufacturing. The company remains family-owned and operates duplicate manufacturing facilities in Park Falls and Fresnillo, Mexico. With popular trademarked series such as Legend®, Legend Xtreme®, Avid®, Premier®, Imperial®, Triumph® and Mojo, St. Croix is revered by all types of anglers from around the world.

About SEVIIN Reels

Wherever and however you fish, the reel in your hand should help create better experiences. Born from St. Croix Rod’s seven decades of design and manufacturing expertise, industry-leading customer service, and unbroken private ownership by the Schluter family dating back to 1977, SEVIIN reels are meticulously engineered and purpose-built to help anglers conquer every species on every piece of water on the planet. SEVIIN focuses on reels and reels only, designing and marketing products that improve the angling experience, regardless of the rods anglers choose. Seven seas, seven continents, seven days a week, SEVIIN reels are fueled by a collective love of fishing surpassed only by a passion to deliver the most reliable reels on the water.

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