In 2021, Redcrest brought tough competition between some of the biggest names in fishing. This included what may be described as a surprise battle for the top spot and some significant heartache about how theory seemed to diverge from reality when it came to reading the lake. All that being said, there's a long list of pros who are hungry to win the 2022 MLF Bass Pro Tour Championship at Grand Lake O' the Cherokees, so we asked them for their predictions (and we're looking for yours as well!).
A Look into the 2022 MLF Bass Pro Tour Championship at Grand Lake O' the Cherokees
The 2022 MLF Bass Pro Tour Championship at Grand Lake O' the Cherokees is sure to be a fun one, especially with so many seasoned pros vying for the W. For those of us who aren't fishing Redcrest though, it's time to see if we can pick up on some clues about how the pros will fish and have a go at predicting some outcomes. Here's what we'll be looking for, plus a couple of fun questions, too.
What will be the most scorable bass weighed in one day?
The headline here is that predictions for Grand Lake O' the Cherokees are looking bright, especially if we compare them to 2021 when MLF hosted Redcrest at Eufaula. At that time, the top number of scorable bass ranged between 8 and 14 bass during various stages of the tournament.
So, what will the highest number of scorable bass be on any given day? Here’s what several of our pros are predicting for 2022 edition of Redcrest:
Brent Ehrler — 15 fish
Wesley Strader — 20 fish
Kevin VanDam — 20 fish
Ott DeFoe — 24 fish
John Cox — 30 fish
Notably, T-H Marine Pro Bryan Thrift brought in the largest number of scorable bass at the 2021 Redcrest Tournament on Eufaula; he weighed 14 of them for 40 lbs 8 oz during the Knockout Round ( Group B ). By sheer quantity, this topped the 13 bass that he pulled in on Day 1 (though the Day 1 bass were bigger on average and they totaled up to weigh in at 45 lbs even.
For bragging rights with these predictions, we'll once again be invoking Price is Right rules, so that means someone needs to do some serious rod bending in order to make John Cox's prediction come true.
Predicting the Heaviest Bass of the 2022 MLF Bass Pro Tour Championship
The MLF format puts a premium on consistent daily performance, defined by catching the most scorable bass and getting the highest combined weight. Still, we're really hoping to see some chunks that look extra big for the camera, so here are the predictions for biggest bass:
Ott DeFoe — 6lbs, 11oz
Kevin VanDam — 7lbs, 0oz
Brent Ehrler — 7lbs, 0oz
Wesley Strader — 7lbs 1oz
John Cox — 7lbs, 10oz
Looking back on this category, it was once again Bryan Thrift who stood out from the crowd in 2021 as he pulled in a 7lb, 1oz bass on Day 1. We're likely to see a similar showing on Grand Lake.
Predicting the Winning Patterns at the 2022 MLF Bass Pro Tour Championship
You won't get specific details about where these guys are running, but there's definitely some consensus about what baits they'll be using, with a bit of variation along the way.
Kevin VanDam — "All depends on what Mother Nature does leading up to the event."
Ott DeFoe — "Lipless crank bait in wind Blown flats."
John Cox — "Crankin or jerkin."
Brent Ehrler — "Probably a jerkbait or a jig."
Wesley Strader — "Jerkbait, jig, and spinner bait."
Special Preparation for Redcrest / Rituals / Superstitions
Whether it's about good luck, cautious superstition, simple routine, or something else, is food an even bigger tournament theme than it gets credit for? Here's what we learned about the pre-tournament procedures put in place by these pros :
Brent Ehrler — "Nothing crazy. Tackle prep prior to practice on what I think I’ll need and then just practice dark to dark."
Ott DeFoe — "I eat a banana in the boat each morning."
John Cox — "I try to eat chipotle."
Kevin VanDam — "Lucky cookies."
Wesley Strader — "Never eat freshwater fish before the tournament."
We'll have to ask Wesley Strader the follow-up question about whether freshwater crustaceans count or not.
Whose boat would you hide a banana in?
Sometimes you have to make your own luck, so we asked these pros if they had to hide a banana in someone's boat, whose boat would it be? Though we're pretty sure that none of them most of them wouldn't actually do it, the stakes are high and it was fun to learn who came to mind for such a prank.
"Oh man….I hate to give anyone bad luck but I guess the local hammers Evers or Elam."
— Kevin VanDam
"Toss up between Edwin Evers or Wheeler."
— John Cox
"Jacob Wheeler! 😂😂"
— Wesley Strader
"Probably Wesley Strader."
— Brent Ehrler
"None of them! I eat them!!!"
— Ott DeFoe
Looks like Evers and Wheeler better watch out. As a sidebar though, should anyone play a prank like this on James Watson? If you start something with him, he just may do his best to finish it!
Your Turn: What Do You Predict for 2022's Edition of Redcrest?
Who do you think is going to rip 'em and flip 'em? Where will the bass be schooling on Grand Lake? How many fish will be brought in and what will they weigh?
Tag an MLF pro and sound off at us on social with your predictions!