By MLF Communications Staff

Normally when an angler breaks the 100-pound mark in a single day of competition on the MLF Bass Pro Tour, its done with a large school or two of smallmouth bass. On opening day of the event at Lake Champlain in Plattburgh, N.Y., Matt Lee did it with largemouth.

Lee dominated day 1 of the Group A Qualifying Round, catching 40 bass totaling 103-05 to give him a massive 55-06 lead the largest day-1 advantage ever held in BPT history.

In 2nd place is John Cox, who boated 18 bass totaling 47-15. Rounding out the Top 3 is Britt Myers, who caught 18 bass for 45-12.

The 34 anglers in Group A will now have the day off on Friday, while the 39 anglers in Group B will begin their first day of competition. Group A will resume competition on Saturday.

We still have a lot of derby ahead of us, but today was sick, Lee said in his post-game interview. I have 'bass hand'. Not even bass thumb bass hand. It was unreal.

Lee said that he tried to target smallmouth early in the day, but when that plan fizzled he tried some of his largemouth areas and ran into what looks like the potential motherlode.

I hit like four smallmouth places this morning and I could see them, but I couldnt get them to bite, the Cullman, Ala. pro said. I figured they had to be biting a topwater somewhere, so I ran around to a largemouth place that I had fished before and caught a 3-10, and when I was reeling it in there were like 10 with it. So, I sat right there in that 100- to 150-foot section of grass and flipped up 100 pounds worth of bass.

Lee said that he used just two setups on the day his first bass came on a Lucky Craft Gunfish and the rest came on a Texas-rigged Yamamoto Senko.

I stayed in that same 75-yard stretch for five hours, Lee said. I went through some worms. The color didnt even matter. I was just flipping hydrilla in 12 to 15 feet, and it was juice money. I had so much fun. Ive got one more day to go to win the round and Im just going to put the hammer down and hopefully advance straight into the Championship Round.

Myers targeted mainly smallmouth, although he did catch four largemouth as well.

To be honest, Champlain was a little bit tougher than I thought it was going to be, Myers said. I thought Id have to catch 30 pounds just to be in the hunt for the Knockout Round, but Ive almost solidified that today. If I can catch a few more fish on Saturday, Im very confident that Ill make it in.

The Duckett Baits swimbait was the key for me today the 3.5-inch Real Thing Shad. Ive been looking for an opportunity to use it and today when it was overcast, they really liked that swimbait. At the end of the day I also caught a few on a special little secret bait that Ive got in my pocket for day 2. So Im looking forward to getting back out there.

Ott DeFoe (12th place) won the first day's $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in a 6-13 largemouth caught on a worm during Period 1. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler who weighs the biggest bass each day and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.

MLF announced Wednesday that the normal 80-angler Bass Pro Tour field would be reduced to 73 for this event, as seven anglers withdrew from competition (at least five of whom are battling COVID-19). After consulting with the MLF Angler Advisory Board, a slight change was made to the cut lines due to the unbalanced angler groupings.

The 34 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day qualifying round on Thursday and Saturday and the 39 anglers in Group B on Friday and Sunday. After each qualifying round is complete, the anglers who finish in 2nd through 17th place from Group A (50% of the field) and 2nd through 20th place from Group B (50% of the field) advance to Mondays Knockout Round, while the winner of each group advances directly to Tuesdays Championship Round.

In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed and the remaining 35 anglers compete to finish in the Top 8 to advance to the Championship Round, for which weights are again zeroed and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

Anglers take off from the Plattsburgh City Marina, located at 2 Dock St., , at 8 a.m. ET each day of competition. Takeouts are also held at the ramp beginning at 5 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all takeoff and takeout ceremonies and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLF NOW! livestream and ScoreTracker coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

MLF officials have divided the lake into two zones in which anglers will compete Zone A (north end of the lake) and Zone B (south end of the lake Ticonderoga area). Anglers choosing to fish in Zone B must go through the normal takeoff procedure at the Plattsburgh Boat Launch and then trailer to a public ramp within Zone B. Anglers will depart the Boat Launch at 8 a.m., and competition will start with lines in at 9 a.m.

Anglers are competing with a 2-pound minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable. Minimum weights are determined individually for each competition waters that the Bass Pro Tour visits, based on the productivity, bass population and anticipated average size of fish in each fishery.

The MLF NOW! broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action on all six days of competition from 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. MLF NOW! will be live-streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.



Group A Qualifying Round Day 1

(Figure at far right indicates weight of angler's heaviest fish of the round)

1. Matt Lee -- 103-05 (40) -- 4-04

2. John Cox -- 47-15 (18) -- 4-02

3. Britt Myers -- 45-12 (18) -- 3-03

4. Scott Suggs -- 44-06 (12) -- 5-02

5. Andy Montgomery -- 42-04 (16) -- 4-01

6. Takahiro Omori -- 40-08 (14) -- 4-13

7. Edwin Evers -- 39-15 (13) -- 4-11

8. Shin Fukae -- 39-11 (13) -- 3-13

9. Aaron Martens -- 38-10 (14) -- 4-02

10. Dave Lefebre -- 37-05 (12) -- 4-12

11. James Elam -- 36-12 (12) -- 3-14

12. Ott DeFoe -- 31-14 (10) -- 5-04

13. Jason Lambert -- 31-13 (12) -- 3-03

14. Gerald Spohrer -- 30-09 (10) -- 3-10

15. Bobby Lane -- 25-15 (8) -- 5-02

16. Jacopo Gallelli -- 24-08 (8) -- 3-14

17. Jared Lintner -- 23-14 (9) -- 3-12

18. Brent Chapman -- 22-04 (7) -- 4-07

19. Bryan Thrift -- 22-00 (8) -- 3-07

20. Cliff Pace -- 19-13 (7) -- 3-12

21. Zack Birge -- 16-14 (6) -- 3-14

22. James Watson -- 15-05 (5) -- 4-00

23. Terry Scroggins -- 12-06 (4) -- 4-04

24. Gary Klein -- 12-02 (4) -- 3-10

25. John Murray -- 11-04 (4) -- 3-00

26. Michael Neal -- 10-08 (4) -- 3-00

27. Fred Roumbanis -- 10-03 (4) -- 3-03

28. Tommy Biffle -- 10-03 (4) -- 3-02

29. Lawson Hibdon -- 9-01 (3) -- 3-10

30. David Walker -- 8-09 (3) -- 3-06

31. Timmy Horton -- 7-14 (2) -- 4-07

32. Brett Hite -- 4-11 (2) -- 2-08

33. Mike McClelland -- 3-15 (1) -- 3-15

34. Randall Tharp -- 2-03 (1) -- 2-03