Shin Fukae Wins Group B At Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour B&W Trailer Hitches Stage Four At Lake Chickamauga
Monday, June 7, 2021
- photo by MLF
While most of the anglers on Lake Chickamauga were throwing standard summer-time Tennessee River baits – big crankbaits, big jigs, big worms and big spoons – Japanese pro Shinichi Fukae proved Monday that sometimes finesse is best. Fukae caught 24 scorable bass totaling 79 pounds, 6 ounces to win the two-day Qualifying Group B round at the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour B&W Trailer Hitches Stage Four Presented by ATG by Wrangler at Lake Chickamauga in Dayton, Tennessee.
Fukae’s two-day total of 37 bass weighing 114 pounds, 2 ounces earned him the round win by a 20-pound, 12-ounce margin and advances him straight into Wednesday’s final-day Championship Round of competition.
The six-day showcases 80 of the best bass anglers in the world competing for a purse of more than $805,000, with a top prize of $100,000 going to the winner.
Day 1 leader General Tire pro Edwin Evers of Talala, Ok., caught a two-day total of 30 bass weighing 93-6 to end the round in second place, and reigning REDCREST Champion Dustin Connell of Clanton, Alabama, finished the round in third place with a two-day total of 21 bass weighing 75-5.
The remaining 38 anglers – 19 from Group A and 19 from Group B – will now compete Tuesday in the Knockout Round, where weights are zeroed, and the anglers compete to finish in the top eight to advance to Championship Wednesday. Wednesday’s Championship Round will feature Group A winner Jason Lambert, Group B winner Fukae, and the top eight anglers from the Knockout Round competing in a final-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000.
“It was a little bit hard to catch (them) the first day, and I had no idea where I was going to start today,” Fukae said. “I chose this area in the morning, and that was the super-right decision for me. I caught 79 pounds and finally made a Championship Round. I am so happy for that and I am ready to go right now.”
Fukae has battled through plenty of adversity this week, not only on the water but off of it as well. His father-in-law passed away just a few days ago in Japan, and his wife Miyu, who has been by Shin’s side since he first came to the United States in 2004, is back in Japan mourning with her family.
“Thank you so much to my wife, for letting me fish,” an emotional Fukae said in his post-game interview. “She has been in a super-tough situation the last two or three days. I want to try to help her, but she told me to just concentrate on fish and don’t think about other things. But, of course, I can not do that. I worry a lot. I talked to her yesterday. She is so strong. My father-in-law helped me from the sky, today, and I thank him so much.”
According to the SCORETRACKER® leaderboard, the Japanese pro caught his fish on two main baits Monday – a Ned Rig and a soft-body swimbait. However, Fukae credited his Lowrance units as being the main reason that he had so much success, Monday.
“The most important thing for me, today, was my Lowrance ActiveTarget,” Fukae said. “I can see where the fish come from, what depths the fish are at, and that was the key to me making the Championship Round.
“I also used Shimano rods and Shimano reels, and YGK fishing line, the most famous braided line in the world,” Fukae went on to say. “I used their sinking braided line, which was very helpful because the wind was blowing hard and it made the line really drift a lot. So, the sinking line really helped me today.”
The top 20 pros in Qualifying Group B that now advance to Tuesday’s Knockout Round on Lake Chickamauga are:
1st: Shin Fukae, Osaka, Japan, 37 bass, 114-02 – ADVANCES DIRECTLY TO CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
2nd: Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., 30 bass, 93-6
3rd: Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 21 bass, 75-5
4th: Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., 24 bass, 70-7
5th: Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 26 bass, 66-12
6th: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Ark., 22 bass, 59-8
7th: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 24 bass, 58-9
8th: Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan, 16 bass, 52-3
9th: Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., 18 bass, 51-5
10th: Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., 17 bass, 48-6
11th: Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., 17 bass, 45-4
12th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 18 bass, 44-5
13th: Shaw Grigsby, Gainesville, Fla., 14 bass, 42-6
14th: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., 14 bass, 39-11
15th: James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., 14 bass, 38-13
16th: Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, 13 bass, 37-6
17th: Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala., 13 bass, 36-1
18th: Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., 11 bass, 35-5
19th: Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky., 11 bass, 31-0
20th: Alton Jones Jr., Waco, Texas, 11 bass, 30-11
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 265 bass weighing 744 pounds, 5 ounces caught by the 40 pros on Monday.
Fukae also earned Monday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award with a 7-pound, 5-ounce largemouth that bit on a Ned Rig in 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.
The MLF Bass Pro Tour B&W Trailer Hitches Stage Four at Lake Chickamauga Presented by ATG by Wrangler is hosted by Fish Dayton and the Rhea Economic & Tourism Council.
The 40 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Friday and Sunday – the 40 anglers in Group B on Saturday and Monday. With both groups two-day qualifying round now complete, the anglers that finish in 2nd through 20th place from both groups now advance to Tuesday’s Knockout Round, while the the winner of each group advances directly to Wednesday’s Championship Round. In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed and the remaining 38 anglers compete to finish in the top 8 to advance to the Championship Round. In the final day Championship Round, weights are zeroed and the highest one-day total wins.
Anglers will take off from the Dayton Boat Dock, located at 175 Lakeshore St., in Dayton, at 6:30 a.m. each day of competition. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will also be held at the Dayton Boat Dock, beginning at 3:30 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!® live stream and SCORETRACKER coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The Bass Pro Tour features a field of 76 of the top professional anglers in the world – joined at each event by 4 pros that qualify from the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit – competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, competing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual Heavy Hitters all-star event and the REDCREST 2022 championship.
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 6:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CT. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of the B&W Trailer Hitches Stage Four Presented by Wrangler at Lake Chickamauga will be showcased across two two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. Oct. 9 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.
For complete details and updated information on the Bass Pro Tour, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.