By MLF Communications Staff

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – One lucky angler is going to catch one bass on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes next week and walk away $100,000 richer.

Major League Fishing is set to return to Kissimmee, Fla. Saturday through Thursday for the 5th annual Heavy Hitters event at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. The tournament will showcase the 30 pros who qualified from the 2023 Bass Pro Tour season competing in a no-entry-fee event for a top prize of $100,000 to the winner. Anglers will also be awarded Big Bass Bonuses during the competition that pay up to $100,000 for catching the single largest bass.

To qualify for Heavy Hitters, the weight of an angler’s single-largest bass from each event of the seven 2023 Bass Pro Tour stops was recorded. The 30 anglers with the heaviest totals qualified to compete in this event.

The event marks the fourth time that the MLF Bass Pro Tour will hold an event on the Kissimmee Chain – extending Kissimmee’s record as the most-visited venue on the BPT. The first ever BPT event was held on the Kissimmee Chain in January of 2019, with a return to Kissimmee in June of 2020 for the inaugural Heavy Hitters.

When the BPT last visited the venue to open the season in 2023, Chris Lane used his encyclopedic knowledge of Lake Kissimmee and understanding of Florida bass to coax bites from the heavily pressured fishery and catch enough bass to take home the big red trophy and $100,000 payday.

“The Kissimmee Chain is a big bass factory – we’re going to catch them all over the place,” said Lane, who grew up fishing the chain with his grandfather, father and brothers. “I think it’ll take an 8-plus-pounder every day to win the big bass award. It’s a great time of the year to be fishing there; I am ready to go and can’t wait to get back out there again.”

Lane said he expects the majority of fish to be in their postspawn patterns, but he wouldn’t be at all surprised if there still were some fish found on beds.

“You just never know down there. Two years ago, at Lake Okeechobee, they flooded the banks in May,” Lane said. “Now obviously that’s a little different story than here, but it goes to show that you never know what the fish are going to be doing until you get there. I can definitely see guys catching some spawners.

“All four lakes – Hatchineha, Cypress, Toho and Kissimmee – are good, and any cast on the chain could be a giant,” Lane continued. “I think guys are going to spread out, and we’re going to see some substantial weights. I’ll be interested to see how much forward-facing sonar plays next week. It will probably be a factor.”

Lane said that he’ll have his signature baits tied on and expects to use them all heavily – the River2Sea Lane Changer, Bass Pro Shops XPS Chaos Shad, Bass Pro Shops XPS Crawdigy Craw, and the bait that he won on in 2023 – the Bass Pro Shops Stik-O Worm.

“The key is going to be not going more than an hour without a bite,” Lane said. “If you get in a lull there, you’re in trouble. In a five-fish format, you can weather those lulls, but in the Bass Pro Tour format, you need to keep stacking them on the ScoreTracker. It’s going to be important to keep the momentum up for as long as you can.”

Anglers will launch each day at 7:30 a.m. ET from Big Toho Marina, located at 69 Lakeview Drive in Kissimmee. Each day’s takeout will be held at the park 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! livestream and ScoreTracker coverage at

The tournament features 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. A bass must meet the 2-pound minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable in the Qualifying and Knockout Rounds, but for the Championship Round a bass must weigh at least 3 pounds to be deemed scorable.

The 15 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day qualifying round on Saturday and Monday, with the 15 anglers in Group B fishing Sunday and Tuesday. After each two-day qualifying round is complete, the Top 8 anglers from each groupadvance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round.

In the Knockout Round weights are zeroed, and the remaining 16 anglers compete to finish in the Top 10 to advance to the Championship Round, where weights are again zeroed and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

In addition to the tournament, Big Bass Bonuses are awarded in each round of competition with payouts of $10,000, $30,000 and $100,000 awarded to the single biggest fish in the Group A and B Qualifying, Knockout and Championship rounds.

The 30 anglers who will be competing are:

Group A
Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J.
Matt Becker, Ten Mile, Tenn.
Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala.
Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn.
Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn.
David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va.
Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas
Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif.
Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla.
Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas
Marty Robinson, Lyman, S.C.
Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala.
Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark.
Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C.
Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn.

Group B
Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas
Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C.
Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark.
Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala.
Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala.
Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C.
Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C.
Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan
Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala.
Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark.
Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La.
Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas
Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla.
Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich.
Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala.

The MLFNOW! broadcast team of Chad McKee and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action live on all six days of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. MLFNOWwill be livestreamed on, the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app and Rumble.