By MLF Communications Staff

“The W” got it done Wednesday at Lake of the Ozarks. Wesley Strader caught 11 scorable largemouth weighing 34 pounds, 2 ounces, to best the 38 anglers competing and win the Knockout Round at the MLF Bass Pro Tour event in Osage Beach, Missouri.

The final 10 anglers are now set, and competition will resume Thursday morning with the Championship Round when weights are zeroed, and the angler who catches the most one-day weight will take home the top prize of $100,000.

The Top 8 anglers from Wednesday’s Knockout Round who will compete in the Championship Round are:

1. Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., 11 bass, 34-2
2. Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 12 bass, 33-7
3. Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 32-11
4. Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., nine bass, 29-11
5. Kelly Jordon, Flint, Texas, nine bass, 27-11
6. Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., seven bass, 27-0
7. Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., seven bass, 24-5
8. Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., eight bass, 23-12

They’ll be joined by Qualifying Round winners:

Group A: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala.
Group B: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn.

“What an amazing, blessed day,” Strader said in his postgame interview. “I’m happy to win a round. I know it’s not the Qualifying Round day that you really want to win, but it feels nice to just get a win.”

Strader caught an early 4-10 largemouth on a Z-Man ChatterBait in Period 1, then switched to the bait that he did most of his damage on – a green-pumpkin-colored 3/8-ounce compact jig with a Zoom Speed Craw trailer. He credited his Lowrance electronics as being crucial to his success this week.

“My Lowrance has been a big key for me,” Strader said. “Being able to see how those contours fell in – most of the bites were kind of halfway back, and out, and you had to have some steeper stuff nearby. I found all of that on my C-Map.

“I’m excited about making it to the Championship Round, I just hope they bite as good as they did today,” Strader said. “I think I found an area of the lake that has some fish that are willing to bite – some of them are up spawning and some of them aren’t. We’re going to go home, sharpen our hooks, then go to the store and see if we can find any more of these jigs. I’m going to buy every one they have in the tackle shop, spool up some new Shooter Sunline and get ready to go for tomorrow.”

Rose earned the $1,000 Berkley Big Bass award Wednesday, catching a 6-01 largemouth on a jig in Period 1. Berkley awards $1,000 to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass each day and a $3,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the heaviest bass of the tournament.

The final 10 anglers will launch Thursday at 7:30 a.m. from the Grand Glaize Marina Recreation Area, located at 711 Public Beach Road in Osage Beach. The takeout will be held in the same location 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 MLF NOW! livestream and ScoreTracker coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The event features anglers 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 Bass Pro Tour features a field of 80 of the top professional anglers in the world competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, competing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2023 championship.

The MLF NOW! broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action of the Championship Round from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT. MLF NOW! is livestreamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

Notable

> From 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, MLF invites fans to come to the launch/takeout site and celebrate with the BPT anglers as they crown the champion of the tournament. The first 50 middle school or high school anglers will receive a free Abu Garcia rod and reel combo valued at $100. The 10 Championship Round anglers will be on hand to meet and greet fans, sign autographs, take selfies and participate in tackle giveaways.



Knockout Round

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

1. Wesley Strader -- 34-02 (11) -- 4-10

2. Andy Morgan -- 33-07 (12) -- 5-14

3. Stephen Browning -- 32-11 (10) -- 5-15

4. Dean Rojas -- 29-11 (9) -- 5-04

5. Kelly Jordon -- 27-11 (9) -- 5-15

6. Jonathon VanDam -- 27-00 (7) -- 5-13

7. Mark Rose -- 24-05 (7) -- 6-01

8. Jeremy Lawyer -- 23-12 (8) -- 4-04

The following anglers did not make the cut and will not advance to the Championship Round

9. Cody Meyer -- 23-02 (7) -- 4-11

10. Greg Vinson -- 22-11 (8) -- 4-08

11. Adrian Avena -- 22-02 (8) -- 3-13

12. Anthony Gagliardi -- 21-05 (8) -- 3-08

13. Timmy Horton -- 20-02 (7) -- 3-15

14. Dave Lefebre -- 19-08 (6) -- 5-10

15. Fred Roumbanis -- 19-01 (7) -- 3-14

16. Brent Ehrler -- 18-15 (7) -- 4-03

17. Cole Floyd -- 18-11 (6) -- 4-13

18. Alton Jones Jr. -- 18-08 (7) -- 3-02

19. Zack Birge -- 18-04 (8) -- 3-02

20. Mark Daniels Jr. -- 17-03 (6) -- 4-00

21. Jordan Lee -- 16-04 (7) -- 3-03

22. Matt Lee -- 16-01 (6) -- 3-13

23. Jeff Kriet -- 15-03 (4) -- 4-13

24. Todd Faircloth -- 14-14 (5) -- 4-12

25. Randall Tharp -- 14-13 (5) -- 3-08

26. Skeet Reese -- 14-12 (4) -- 4-06

27. Shaw Grigsby -- 14-11 (5) -- 3-10

28. David Dudley -- 14-10 (6) -- 3-04

29. Terry Scroggins -- 14-06 (5) -- 5-00

30. Jared Lintner -- 14-05 (5) -- 4-03

31. James Watson -- 13-00 (5) -- 4-01

32. Keith Poche -- 11-15 (4) -- 3-06

33. Dylan Hays -- 10-15 (4) -- 4-04

34. Shin Fukae -- 10-15 (4) -- 3-10

35. Brandon Coulter -- 10-12 (4) -- 3-07

36. Chris Lane -- 10-10 (4) -- 3-07

37. Alton Jones -- 9-09 (3) -- 4-04

38. Justin Lucas -- 7-06 (3) -- 3-03