MLF Redcrest 2021

MLF Redcrest 2021

Connor Heitman, Outdoors Writer

The Major League of Fishing is a long-anticipated merger of multiple leagues of fishing, and so far, it has lived up to the hype. Its exciting production quality and star-studded roster have led to some great moments in only around three years worth of competition, and it’s interesting yet easy to understand how the schedule, scoring, and ranking system leads to greater fan interaction, and its sponsorships offer great prize money, which only adds to the excitement.

Every year, the season begins with the Redcrest, which is comparable to the Daytona 500, and it really kicks off the competitive fishing season in a fun and exciting way. Usually held in late February or early March, the event takes place down in the South, of course, often in Texas on one of its many bass-filled reservoirs or lakes. This year, the event was moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the MLF headquarters are, to Lake Palestine in Flint, Texas. This lake is known for its constant supply of largemouth bass, so it should provide for an exciting five days of competition as the lake is drained of its energy.

An important aspect of the MLF’s success is how it scores its fish and how it practices conservation. A very important feature and rule of fish landing is that a penalty is imposed if at any point, the fish touches the boat, as well as a requirement of an immediate catch and release upon being weighed by the on-boat marshall who makes sure anglers are following such rules. If an infraction occurs, the angler’s activity is suspended anywhere from 3-10 minutes, depending on the severity and repetition of the offense. These rules, combined with the fact that there are no limit to how many fish one can weigh, have lead to total exhaustion of these fisheries for weeks after a tournament takes place, as fish are potentially caught multiple times throughout the tournament, since the impact of being held in a live well (as in standard tournaments) is not present, as anglers do not utilize a live well in the MLF. This is also interesting because it provides for more space for anglers to bring along more lures they might choose to utilize, although it is rare to see many participants retying lures, as they often bring upwards of ten rods to quickly shift from technique to technique and avoid wasting precious time that could be spent catching fish.

This year, there are a couple of anglers whose careers it would greatly benefit to come away with a win and an early lead in AOY standings, which helps to cement any legacy. Noticeable anglers partaking in this event are Kevin VanDam, Jacob Wheeler, Edwin Evers, Ott DeFoe, and a couple others who could do very well this season. Many see Jacob Wheeler or Justin Lee as the frontrunners for this year, as Jacob Wheeler is the reigning MLF Bass Pro Tour champion, and is of course looking to defend his title.

Whatever happens, it should be a very exciting and action- packed five days. It is always a toss-up when it comes to early season fishing down South, and it truly is anyone’s game. Perhaps the proximity of Flint, Texas will work to KVD’s favor and rekindle his fire when fishing down in the Deep south, as he has won so many tournaments in Louisiana and Texas back in his glory days. Besides, everyone can agree that it would be great to see KVD come away with another big tournament win under his belt.