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Saturday, June 6, 2015
Canadian Cory Johnston Wins FLW Rayovac James River Northern Open Tournament with 46-14!
Jig and Crankbait seal first American win for Canadian!
by David A. Brown
FLW PRESS RELEASE
Cory Johnston’s bucket list just shrank. After a couple of close finishes, the pro from Peterborough, Ont., finally bagged his first Rayovac FLW Series victory with a winning total of 46 pounds, 14 ounces at the Northern Division opener on the James River Saturday.
Last day giant seal Cory's first US win! (Photo FLW)
“I’ve always wanted to win one of these,” Johnston says of his accomplished Rayovac career, which hadn’t included a first-place finish until now. “I’ve won some other tournaments; I’ve been second (in Rayovacs) two times and my brother (Chris) has been second two or three times. So to win this really feels good.”
Fishing the Chickahominy River — a major James River tributary — Johnston got off to a lukewarm start, as a 10-pound, 9-ounce effort left him with a 27th-place showing on day one. Regrouping for day two, he formed a new game plan borne of a revelation that came early on day two.
The James River is a tidal fishery, so fishing around the daily ebb and flow are inherently part of the game. This week, however, saw a trio of factors leading to much more water than usual. First, Tuesday’s full moon brought extremely high tides for the week, while runoff from recent heavy rains greatly increased the James’ volume.
On top of that, a northeast wind pushed the water even farther shoreward and actually impeded the falling cycles in some areas. Where others found frustration, Johnston found opportunity.
“The water was up an extra foot and generally, anywhere I go, when the water is up, you go to the bank,” Johnston says. “So, that’s what I did and the fish were there. I had a good practice, but with that flood tide, my practice patterns just weren’t working. On my first spot of the second day, I was fishing the outside edge of the spatterdock and my co-angler threw way up shallow and lost a big one. As soon as that happened, everything clicked and it was game-on from there.”
After fishing a Strike King KVD 1.5 squarebill crankbait on day one, Johnston did all of his damage on days two and three by flipping a 9/16-ounce black/blue Punisher Jig with a black/blue Zoom Chunk trailer to isolated patches of spatterdock.
This fresh approach would lead him to a dramatic day-two improvement in which his best limit of the tournament —18-07 — would lift him to sixth place. Saturday, Johnston added 17-14 and sealed the deal.
“I knew we were going to have the same conditions today, so I went back to the same area (in the Chick),” Johnston continues. “I caught two right off the bat in the first 10 minutes and in the next 10 minutes, I got a 7-pounder and I knew I was on a roll.”
Fortunately for Johnston, the strength of his second two days overcame a day-one deficit.
“I only weighed four fish on day one and I lost, like, a 4- to 5-pounder,” Johnston reveals. “I think if I would have (fished the jig) earlier, I would have caught five fish. That hurt me, but I just kept fishing and made the best of it.”