Salewske battled the high seas and won!
FLW PRESS RELEASE
After five days of mostly wide-open smallmouth-catching activity, a new competition format and anglers sparring with each other on the live scoreboard, the final day of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota came down to the most basic difference-maker in bass fishing: an angler making a move based on his gut.
For Southern California pro Rusty Salewske, that move was worth $200,000 and the first-ever TITLE championship belt.
Shortly after peeling away from the shoal he had been fishing most of the day on the lee side of Snake Island outside of Riley’s Bay – the bay just north of Little Sturgeon Bay – Salewske caught two smallmouths in the final 42 minutes of the event. That included a 4-pound, 14-ouncer with 12 minutes remaining that catapulted Salewske past Bradford Beavers and into first place.
That’s where he stayed: Salewske finished the day with 13 fish for 48-11 to Beavers’ 48-3.
John Cox finished third with 36-14, Kurt Mitchell was fourth with 22-8 and Kyle Hall rounded out the top five with 22-0. Spencer Shuffield (21-7), Grae Buck (20-11), Joey Cifuentes (18-9), Casey Scanlon and Evan Barnes (0-0) finished out the Championship Round field.
Salewske, a San Diego-area pro who finished fifth in the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup and then took nearly 10 years off from tour-level tournament fishing before the 2020 Pro Circuit season, stacked 28-15 on SCORETRACKER® in the first period and hovered in the top three until early in the second period. But Salewske couldn’t relocate a consistent bite for the next 4 hours, slowly falling behind Beavers through the second and third periods before chipping away at the lead with a 4-pounder and a 2-15 before connecting with the winning fish.