Milford’s Mitchell has big day at Wisconsin fishing event

Milford’s Kurt Mitchell had a big first day at the Tackle Warehouse TITLE, the FLW Pro Circuit championship on Monday.

Mitchell caught 33 bass weighing in at a total of 119 pounds, 10 ounces in the event being held on Lake Michigan in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

Mitchell’s impressive start gave him a 56-pound, 10-ounce lead over second-place pro Grae Buck of Green Lane, Pennsylvania. Buck caught 17 bass totaling 63 pounds.

Kurt Mitchell

The 25 anglers in Group A, including Mitchell, had off on Tuesday before returning to the water on Wednesday to finish their two-day qualifying round.

The six-day event features the top 50 professional anglers from the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season competing for a piece of $820,000, including the first-place prize of $200,000.

“It was just a phenomenal day for me — one of those days where nothing goes wrong and everything works like it’s supposed to,” Mitchell was quoted on flwfishing.com. “It was my first time fishing at Sturgeon Bay, my first time fishing the MLF format, and now my first time leading a pro event after the first day.”

A five-year veteran of the Pro Circuit Mitchell is fishing in his second championship event.

He said that he caught the majority of his weight from one area, a current break that he had found in practice. He caught his fish using two key baits — a drop-shot rig with a Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm and a Keitech Swimbait with a 3/8-ounce Dirty Jigs Matt Stefan Guppy Swimbait Jig Head.

“It wasn’t really anything special, just basic smallmouth tactics and baits,” Mitchell was quoted. “I just got on some groups of fish that wanted to bite. The bigger ones seemed to come on the Keitech, but I caught more on the shad shape worm. I had no idea that I was going to catch that much.

“I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do when I get back out there on Wednesday,” he added. “I might try out some new areas, or I might just go sit on my best spot to make sure no one else fishes it. Either way, I can’t wait to get back out there.”

Overall there were 228 bass weighing 750 pounds, eight ounces caught by the 25 pros in Group A on Monday. Mitchell also caught the largest fish of the day — a chunky 5-pound, 10-ounce smallmouth bass.

Unique to the TITLE Championship, the event is being fished using the MLF catch-weigh-immediate release format.

After two days of competition, the top-10 pros from Groups A & B will advance to Day 5. Only the top 10 pros will continue on to the sixth and final day of competition, with the winner earning the inaugural Tackle Warehouse TITLE Championship Belt.