Bastrop, Bussey in national spotlight

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Bastrop and Bussey Brake are about to again be on the national fishing stage.

Major League Fishing’s Heavy Hitters is coming back to the neighborhood. Caney Creek and Bussey Brake will be hosting some of the top pros in the country on two of the hottest big bass lakes in the country, right here in our backyard.

The MLF General Tire Heavy Hitters bass tournament Presented by Bass Pro Shops will be held on Caney April 24-28 with the finals on Bussey Brake April 29. The winner takes home a check for $100,000. And check out the total payout listed below. Wowzers! Last year’s champion, Bradley Roy, is back to defend his title.

Make sure when you come to Bussey you stop by at Simmons’ Sporting Goods for all your outdoor needs.

The exciting part of MLF is that you can watch the anglers all day long streaming on the internet and the the SCORETRACKER® keeps you up with who has caught what in real time!

The 2022 season kicked off on a trio of relatively unknown lakes outside of Monroe-West Monroe: Lake D’Arbonne, Caney Creek, and Bussey Brake Lake. They were a pleasant surprise for both competitors and fans watching as anglers placed several massive bass on SCORETRACKER®.­­ The big fish parade was headlined by Randy Howell’s Bass Pro Tour record, a 12-pound, 14-ounce behemoth from Bussey Brake during the Championship Round. D’Arbonne is not included in this year’s event.

Caney Creek will be the site of the first five days of fishing before the event shifts to Bussey Brake for the Championship Round with the field reduced to just the top leaders of the week.

Howell is also in the pack of Heavy Hitters qualifiers and is thrilled to be returning to Louisiana for this event.

“I was excited to see it when the schedule was announced, and I pray that I can make it to the final day,” he said of a chance to beat his record. “We were there in February, and it was freezing. I could imagine how good it will be with warmer weather, throwing topwaters around those bushes.”

While Bussey Brake pumped out some monsters, Caney Creek produced a 10-11 for Howell during the Knockout Round. Both lakes continued to produce hawgs so far this year and although the spawn will be mostly over, there are still some huge bass to be caught.

The record for Bussey Brake was broken for the second time in a single month in February, topped by Robert Rush with a 15.36-pound largemouth bass on the scales Feb. 26

While there is no weigh-in during the tournament days because the fish are caught, weighed and put right back in the water where they came from, last year saw big crowds at the launch sites for both take-off and takeouts. It’s a special treat for young anglers to get a chance for a photo and an autograph with anglers like Kevin Van Dam, Chris Lane, Casey Ashley, Jacob Wheeler, Jordan Lee, Roy and Howell.

Competition Waters
Qualifying Round, April 24-27: Caney Creek
Knockout Round, April 28: Caney Creek
Championship Round, April 29: Bussey Brake

Takeoff & Takeout
April 24-28: Takeoff at 7:30 a.m. and Takeout at 4 p.m.
Caney Creek Hooks Marina, 400 Spillway Rd. in Chatham, LA.
April 29: Takeoff at 7:30 a.m. and Takeout at 4 p.m.
Frank’s Fishing Pier, 5373 Boat Dock Road, Bastrop, LA.

Competition Hours
Period 1: 8 to 10:30 a.m.
Period 2: 10:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Period 3: 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Minimum Scorable Bass
Caney Creek: 2 pounds
Bussey Brake: 3 pounds

Place Award

1st – $100,000
2nd – 25,000
3rd – 20,000
4th – 18,000
5th – 15,000
6th – 14,500
7th – 13,500
8th – 12,500
9th – $11,000
10th – 8,000
11th-20th – 4,000
21st-30th – 3,000
Big Bass, Group A – 25,000
Big Bass, Group B – 25,000
Big Bass Knockout Round – 50,000
Big Bass Champion Round – 100,000

Field (Alphabetical Order):
Group A

Josh Bertrand
Zack Birge
Stephen Browning
Mark Daniels Jr.
Mark Davis
Dakota Ebare
Alton Jones
Alton Jones Jr.
Gary Klein
Chris Lane
Bradley Roy
Ryan Salzman
Terry Scroggins
Bryan Thrift
Kevin VanDam

Group B

Casey Ashley
Dustin Connell
Brandon Coulter
Brent Ehrler
Edwin Evers
Randy Howell
Jordan Lee
Justin Lucas
Cody Meyer
Andy Morgan
Fletcher Shryock
Randall Tharp
Jonathon VanDam
Jacob Wheeler
Jesse Wiggins