Crochet's First-Period Maelstrom Propels Him to Shotgun Round Win.
Major League Fishing Press Release
|Fast and furious rockets Crochet to win.|
In the five-decade history of organized bass-fishing competition, there have been very few 2 ½-hour displays of fish-catching proficiency the likes of which Major League Fishing® (MLF) pro Cliff Crochet put on this morning on Lake Chickamauga.
Fishing in the Group B Shotgun Round of the Bass Pro Tour Econo Lodge Stage Four Presented by Winn Grips, Crochet caught his first scorable bass - a 5-plus-pounder - 12 minutes into the competition, and then went on a spree that saw the Louisiana pro stack 65 pounds, 11 ounces of Tennessee River largemouth onto SCORETRACKER by the end of Period 1.
Crochet's 31-fish, 65-plus-pound maelstrom of hookups in Period 1 was more than the daily total weights of 18 of the 19 round winners so far in the 2019 Bass Pro Tour schedule.
"I didn't know that was going to happen," Crochet joked as he waited for the Berkley Postgame Show to start. "I caught four fish in the first little flurry, and I thought that was a good start to the day. Worst-case scenario, I could grind and have a decent day. I hit the second flurry and had enough sense to realize what was going on.
"I really tried to focus on good technique: from casting to hookset to fighting them to weighing them. I didn't know how long it was going to last, but I knew I needed to cover as much ground (on SCORETRACKER™) as I could."
Crochet finished the day with 34 fish for 69-6, at one time opening up a 30-pound lead before backing off and spending most of the second and third periods scouting for new water for his Elimination Round on Friday.
Another Heavy Day on Chickamauga
While Crochet's cushion on the rest of the field was virtually insurmountable after the first period, a large percentage of the other 39 Group B anglers competing had strong days as well: Edwin Evers finished second with 55-2, Zack Birge was third with 51-4. In all, 17 anglers put 37 pounds or more on SCORETRACKER during the day.
The field accounted for 1,312 pounds on the day, including six fish over 7 pounds.
On to Elimination Rounds
The 40 anglers from Group A return to Chickamauga Thursday for the first Elimination Round of Stage Four. The leading edge of a storm front will bring 10- to 20-mph winds out of the south, which will create some change from the nice conditions of the first two days of fishing.
Dave Lefebre heads into that round with the comfort of the 59-14 he caught in his Shotgun Round, followed by five other anglers who landed 50 pounds or more. But unlike some previous Elimination Rounds - where the Top 10 could take their foot off the gas and "practice" during the day - the proliferation of fish catches (combined with the simmering potential for more 8-plus-pound giants to show up on beds) will likely keep most of the field focused on the task at hand.
"These guys flat need to catch fish in the Elimination Round, there's not much room to cruise," said MLF NOW! analyst Marty Stone.
Group B will fish the second Elimination Round on Friday. The Top 20 anglers from each of the two Elimination groups will advance to a 40-angler Knockout Round on Saturday - weights will be zeroed, making the Knockout a one-day scramble. The Top 10 anglers in the Knockout Round will advance to the Championship Round on Sunday, April 14.
Where, When, How to Watch
Competition begins daily at 7:30 a.m. ET, with live, official scoring available via SCORETRACKER on MajorLeagueFishing.com and on the MLF app. The MLF NOW! live stream starts at 10 a.m. ET, with live, on-the-water coverage and analysis provided by Chad McKee, JT Kenney, Marty Stone and Natalie Dillon until lines out at 3:30 p.m. The Berkley Postgame Show - hosted by Steven "Lurch" Scott - will start at 5 p.m. daily.