Dustin Connell Cruises to Group B Lead at MLF General Tire Stage Six at Lake St. Clair

Published 12:03 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2023

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From Major League Fishing

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (June 25, 2023) – A strong morning bite carried Favorite Fishing pro Dustin Connell through the competition day Sunday, with his five largest bass weighing 22 pounds, 13 ounces. Connell’s hefty limit earned him the Group B Day 1 lead in the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour General Tire Stage Six at Lake St. Clair Presented by John Deere Utility Vehicles. Pro John Hunter of Shelbyville, Kentucky finished the day tight on Connell’s heels, weighing in five scorable smallmouth totaling 22-9, good for second place.
The six-day event, hosted by the Detroit Sports Commission, Macomb County and Lake St. Clair Metroparks, showcases 80 of the top professional anglers in the world, competing for a purse of more than $805,000, 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 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship.
“It’s been a heck of a day,” said Connell. “It started out quick and we did good, which put us in a great position for the rest of the week. I found a couple new areas this afternoon, but I’ve got one little spot that’s really good and I’m just hoping that it holds out.”
Connell jumped out to an early lead Sunday, filling his limit within the first 30 minutes of competition and staying atop the SCORETRACKER® throughout the day.
“The fish are there – I mean, there are a bunch of 4- to 5-pounders there,” Connell continued. “I lost one this morning that was over 4 pounds, so hopefully that spot will be sustainable throughout the event.”
Connell spent his day targeting bass offshore with his Lowrance ActiveTarget and caught his fish on a 7-foot, 2-inch medium heavy Favorite Fishing Hex Rod, throwing a drop-shot rig on 15-pound braid.
“This is my favorite way to fish,” said Connell. “It’s just awesome watching the way the fish react to your bait. I’m hoping that the wind dies down as we get further into the event, so we can really get after it. Right now, the fish are down deep, stuck to the bottom. With all these waves, they just really want to hunker down low. But when the sun pops out and it gets slick, they slide up closer to the surface and you can see them a little better on your electronics. I don’t know how this tournament is going to be won, but I think it’s going to come down to finding a good area that you have to yourself.”
The 40 anglers in Group B will now have an off day on June 26, while the 40 anglers competing in Group A will wrap up their two-day Qualifying Round. Group B will finish their Qualifying Round on June 27.
The top 20 pros in Group B after Day 1 on Lake St. Clair are:

1st: Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., five bass, 22-13
2nd: John Hunter, Shelbyville, Ky., five bass, 22-9
3rd: Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 20-15
4th: Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky. five bass, 20-11
5th: Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., five bass, 20-8
6th: Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, five bass, 20-6
7th: Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., five bass, 20-5
8th: Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, five bass, 20-3
9th: Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, five bass, 19-5
10th: Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., five bass, 19-4
11th: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 19-2
12th: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., five bass, 18-15
13th: Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., five bass, 18-15
14th: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., five bass, 18-13
15th: Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., five bass, 18-12
16th: Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., five bass, 18-8
17th: Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, five bass, 18-4
18th: Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., five bass, 18-0
19th: Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., five bass, 17-15
20th: James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., five bass, 17-12

A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.