Redcrest 2021 Preview: Sprague ready to drop the hometown hammerEvents . Featured Stories . News & Press Releases
Update 2/19: Major League Fishing announced today that due to the winter storms, inclement weather, and uncertain conditions in Texas and the entire Southern region, REDCREST 2021 presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage, the Bass Pro Tour Championship, has been shifted to Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama. The tournament dates and competition schedule will remain the same – practice will start for the anglers on Sunday, Feb. 21 and the tournament will take place Monday through Friday, Feb. 22-26, on Lake Eufaula at Lakepoint State Park.
“We’ve exhausted every option available to try to remain at Lake Palestine, but with the disaster-like conditions that the area is currently facing we couldn’t, as an organization, come in and use their valuable resources – water, electricity, food, hotel rooms – and celebrate our championship event when the local community is suffering,” said Michael Mulone, MLF Senior Director of Events & Partnerships.
The viewing schedule below remains the same.
Power-Pole sponsored angler Jeff Sprague isn’t one for the limelight but he can’t wait for his little slice of central Texas to be in the spotlight when the Major League Fishing Redcrest Championship comes to Lake Palestine starting Feb. 21.
Sprague, who grew up in nearby Point, Texas, was perhaps one of the biggest beneficiaries of the change in venue that saw the event moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Lake Palestine. Lake Palestine has only hosted two major tournaments in the last 10 years, meaning that most of the anglers will have never had experience fishing the lake in competition. Sprague will have the definite advantage heading into MLF’s marquee event.
“I spent a lot of time growing up paddling the creeks in my jon boat duck hunting around that lake,” Sprague said. “I’m familiar with that lake and know where the fish are. This is my home.
“I feel comfortable here and I’m excited to let the entire fishing world see just how great the fishing is in the lakes in my own backyard.”
This will be Sprague’s second consecutive trip to the MLF’s top event after finishing fourth in the overall AoY standings. He is one of 22 Power-Pole sponsored anglers and one of 31 anglers who will be utilizing Power-Pole anchors during the tournament. Sprague, who has been one of Power-Pole’s sponsored anglers since he turned full-time pro in 2014, pointed out that the fishing conditions on Lake Palestine, an 18-mile reservoir, is the absolute opposite of nearby Lake Fork, another man-made reservoir in the region that is a frequent venue for major series events.
“There’s no grass (in Lake Palestine) and the water is dirtier, especially when you get up north around the rivers,” Sprague said. “The fishery is a lot more diverse. It’s not like Lake Fork which has that super clear water and is stocked almost exclusively with Florida bass. Palestine has a bunch of different species of bass, including the Florida kind. And they get big. You are going to see a lot fish that are six pounds and up on this lake.”
The top 40 finishers in this year’s Angler of the Year standings were invited to take part in the Redcrest Championship. The field will be cut in half after the first two days with 10 anglers each fishing days three and four. The top five from each of those days will then compete on championship day where they will vie for the $300,000 first-place purse.
“To be able to go back-to-back is humbling and then to be here in my home state, it’s exciting,” Sprague said. “Lake Palestine is such a great venue but it doesn’t really have a big city around it so this will be a great opportunity to show off some of our great fishing lakes.”
Each day of the tournament will feature over 10 hours of live-streamed content from the event on MLFNOW, MyOutdoorTV and the official MLF website,(https://majorleaguefishing.com/watch/). Highlights of the event will also be aired on Discovery Fishing.
One thing Sprague, as well as the rest of the field, won’t be familiar with is the unseasonable cold that has hit central Texas this winter, including an expected eight to ten day stretch of sub-freezing temperatures leading into the event.
“This has already been the coldest February I can remember,” Sprague said. “It’ll definitely make things a little different. With the moon setting up how it is, you’d expect these big females to begin the pre-spawn but because of the weather I think they are going to be stuck in that winter fishing pattern.”
If Sprague can battle through the elements, however, he knows that it would be the next big step in a career that started off on the back end of a boat fishing local events on waters just like Lake Palestine.
“You are fishing against the best in the world,” he said. “If you look at the people that you have to go through, these guys that have been doing this for 20-plus years, a win would definitely solidify your career.
“It would be a life changer.”
By the Numbers
13.22: The lake record bass that was caught by Casey Laughlin during an amateur tournament in 2013.
791,000: The total prize money that will be awarded for the event, including $300K for first place.
25,348: The total number of acres of water of Lake Palestine.
31: The number of competitors who will be equipped with Power-Pole Shallow Water Anchors for the event.
Power-Pole Sponsored Anglers
Josh Bertrand, Zack Birge, Steven Browning, Luke Clausen, Dustin Connell, Mark Daniels Jr, David Dudley, Brent Ehrler, Anthony Gagliardi, Bobby Lane, Chris Lane, Britt Myers, Jacob Powroznik, Mark Rose, Fred Roumbanis, Bradley Roy, Fletcher Shryrock, Jeff Sprague, Wes Strader, Scott Suggs, Randall Tharpe, Bryan Thrift
Redcrest Outdoor Expo
Due to ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s outdoors expo will not take place in conjunction with this year’s competition. The Expo will return for the 2022 event that is currently scheduled to be held in Tulsa, OK.
For complete details and updated information on REDCREST 2021, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
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