Monday, August 30, 2021

Chris Johnston Wins Toyota Series Northern Division with 77-15lbs!

Johnston brothers score 1st and 2nd on giant smallmouth!
(Photo: MLF) 


MASSENA, N.Y. – Getting the monkey off his back in style, Chris Johnston plopped 27 pounds, 6 ounces on the scale on the final day of the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Northern Division event on the St. Lawrence River for the win. With a 77-15 total, Chris Johnston lead wire-to-wire and beat his brother Cory Johnston by more than 7 pounds. Taking home $39,048, he also qualified for this fall’s Toyota Series Championship on Pickwick Lake.

Though he’s an FLW Tour and B.A.S.S. Elite Series champion, Chris Johnston has been foiled by Toyota Series events on the St. Lawrence and the associated waters too many times over the last several years. After running hundreds of miles over the last three days, going from Massena to Lake Ontario each day, he finally got it done.

“I was thinking about it running back up the river, thinking ‘If I get back, I’ve finally got this off my back,’” Chris Johnston said. “It’s pretty good. I’ve obviously won tournaments, but this place is special to me. To win this one here, it means a lot. They’ve bit me in the ass too many times, always something has gone wrong. Today I jumped off a 6 before I had a good one in the boat, and my co-angler had like three good ones. Then, I broke a 6 ½ off, I was like ‘Oh no, this is gonna happen again.’ Then I finally got some in the boat, but it was going through my mind, I was sweating a little bit today.”

Catching 25-pound bags each of the first two days, Chris Johnston mixed in a river bass or two both times. On Day 3, he sent it straight to the lake to close things in style.

“It was good, but I didn’t have a lot of time,” he said. “People think it’s easy to go out there and catch a big bag, but it’s really not. I don’t have a spot that’s loaded, I only hit two spots today, but they’re not loaded, I had to work for them. I needed all four hours to catch them. Today, my starting spot never had a bass on it. On Day 2, I hit two that were dry. That’s what’s scary, when you’re making that run, if you hit two spots in a row that don’t have them, you don’t have enough time to be running around.”

Friday, August 27, 2021

Chris Johnston Wallops 25-7 on Day 1 at Toyota Series Event o!n St. Lawrence River

Chris Johnston doesn't make the run to Lake Ontario. 
Brother Cory is sitting in 3rd. (Photo: MLF)

By Jody White 

MLF Press Release

For the second stop of the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Northern Division on the St. Lawrence River, there didn’t seem to be much doubt that the smallmouth factory would show out. With Canadian waters and Lake Ontario in play, the field had plenty of room to work and work they did.  

After Day 1, 28 bags weighing 20 pounds or more hit the scale, and Canadian superstar Chris Johnston set the pace with a whopping 25-pound, 7-ounce limit. Behind him, three other pros cracked the 23-pound mark and four bested 22 pounds.

Electing not to make a giant run into Ontario for his fish, Johnston stayed in the river to get off on the right foot.

“Not that I don’t want a part of it, but I didn’t want to go today, because I had something else lined up,” Johnston said. “I’m probably going to go fish it again tomorrow and see if there’s anything left. Tomorrow is supposed to be windy, so it’s not going to be a great day for the lake. If I need to I might go out there for an hour or so, but we’ll see what the wind is like, it might be a river day for me.”

One of the best at the 1000 Islands, Johnston’s worst finish since 2016 on the fishery is third. Typically, he’s done his best work out in the lake. This time, it sounds like he has a chance to keep the river train rolling.

“I’ve been practicing the river because I keep getting burned here when the lake is off-limits,” he said. “I’ve got a few spots in the river, I don’t know if I can get 25 again, but there’s some fish left.”

Plying a drop-shot with a secret bait, it sounds like Johnston is on a roll.

“It was all deep, anywhere from 20 to 45 feet,” he said. “I caught a ton of fish, it was hard to get a big one. I never really had a kicker, they’re all clones. Out here now, a 5-pounder is honestly kinda average, you need a 6-pounder to get up and over.”

Top 10 Pros

1. Chris Johnston – 25 – 07 (5)           

2. Justin Atkins – 23 – 15 (5)  

2. Cory Johnston – 23 – 15 (5)

4. Matt Becker – 23 – 06 (5)   

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Whopper smallmouth on Lake St. Clair with Sparkus Fisher: POV hookset to net on light line

Wonder why guys love big smallmouth? Its the FIGHT! Check out this video, from hookset to net, as Sparkus Fisher lands a Lake St. Clair stud. If you want to see for yourself how a big smallmouth fights on light line, give Sparkus Fisher Fishing guide service a call at 519-803-8666 or #sparkusfisherfishing

Sparkus Fisher runs a Ranger 522D, one of the biggest, battleships out there making any future trip so much easier. Give Sparkus a call and go battle some big water smallies.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Jimmy Washam Win 2021Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Championship!

Jody White
Tackle Warehouse Pro Tour 

LA CROSSE, Wis. – In 2020, Jimmy Washam started fishing the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers after qualifying via the Toyota Series Central Division. Then, he was in the running for Polaris Rookie of the Year most of the way and fished the Tackle Warehouse TITLE in his first season, doing basically everything you could ask for in a rookie year.

This year has seen Washam take it to the next level, with a Toyota Series win on Lake Guntersville, a fifth-place finish in Angler of the Year on the Pro Circuit and a dominating Championship Round win in the second-annual Tackle Warehouse TITLE Presented by Mercury. Putting 17 pounds, 15 ounces on the scale, Washam beat out Bass Pro Tour superstars Bobby Lane and Zack Birge to earn $200,000 and the TITLE belt.

“All the glory goes to God,” Washam said of the win. “This is so amazing, but it’s His work above, I promise you. Five years ago, I bought my first fiberglass boat and decided I’d fish the [Phoenix Bass Fishing League] as a boater. Now I’m standing here with a TITLE belt on my shoulder.”

A deputy sheriff sergeant in Tennessee, Washam took a big financial risk in 2020 and did it again in 2021 after losing his title sponsor right before the season started. Now, he’s gone from a kid ate up with fishing to a TITLE champ.

“I’m 34 years old, I did not start as young as I wished I would have, but I had to earn a living and work, and I slowly progressed and stepped up to this level,” Washam said. “After last year I knew that I could hang, after this year, it’s been an absolutely incredible year. It’s humbling to know the group of anglers I just joined.”

Finding the Winning Fish

Washam tallied 25-1 (10) in the Qualifying Round to make the Knockout Round out of Group A. In the early going, he caught all his fish in the Black River, but that well started to dry up during the Knockout Round.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Title: Avena Wins Group B, Knockout Round Field Set

jody white • 


LA CROSSE, Wis. – Putting 13 pounds, 10 ounces on the scale on the second day of competition for Group B, Adrian Avena totaled 29-6 to win the group and advance directly to the Championship Round of the Tackle Warehouse TITLE Presented by Mercury on the Mississippi River. Behind him, Jared McMillan finished second in Group B and will be followed by eight other anglers from the group into the Knockout Round on Saturday.

Avena Heads to the Championship Round

After an uncharacteristic performance in the Bass Pro Tour event on Lake Champlain, Avena made up for it a bit with two great days of fishing to win the group and lock in his spot among the Top 10 in the Championship Round.

“Champlain is one of my favorite lakes in the country, probably my favorite,” Avena said. “I cut my teeth there and won a tournament early. Four of the Top 10 were at Ti, and that’s where I love. It burnt me a little bit, and I didn’t want to end on that. I’ve still got the St. Clair [Bass Pro Tour] event coming up, but it’s nice to come out here and really catch ‘em.”

Fishing mostly in a small section of the Black River, Avena is happy he’s not fishing the Knockout Round and looking forward to saving some fish.

“Honestly I feel like a million dollars, because I didn’t want to fish tomorrow,” Avena admitted. “I’m burning up fish up there, but I’ve still got something in my back pocket that I’m glad I don’t have to burn tomorrow. It’s one of those deals that I have no idea if I’m going to be able to get to it or not, but at least I’m going to do it on championship day. If I get stuck, I get stuck or if I take off my lower unit, I take off my lower unit, but at least it’s on championship day.”

The schooling bite has been robust this week, and Avena has taken advantage of it as well or better than anyone else so far.

“I’m throwing a swimbait and throwing a topwater,” Avena outlined. “I’m mixing in a bunch of other stuff, I think I’ve caught one on a fluke and maybe one or two on a jerkbait. I’m fishing schoolers, and it all comes down to making the right casts. I had a couple opportunities and pulled off some 3-pounders today, and I had some other opportunities where I made bad casts.”

Avena has also been dealing with some unique pressure this week, not from his direct competition, but from some young fishing enthusiasts in the same area he is.

Friday, August 20, 2021

2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Title: Miles Burghoff Qualifies for Championship Round!

Kyle Wood • 


LA CROSSE, Wis. – Miles Burghoff is the first angler to punch his ticket to the Championship Round of the 2021 Tackle Warehouse TITLE Presented by Mercury.

The Tennessee pro brought 14 pounds, 13 ounces of Upper Mississippi River bass to the stage at Veterans Freedom Park in La Crosse on Thursday to push his two-day total to 26-8, giving him a scant 1-ounce win over Oklahoma pro Zack Birge (26-7) for the top spot in Group A. Burghoff receives the group’s automatic berth in Sunday’s Championship Round, where he’ll be joined by the Group B winner and eight other anglers from the Knockout Round.

Locking down to Pool 9 each day of the Qualifying Round, Burghoff knew he was on a good school of largemouth. He expanded on that area during Day 1, so even with a shortened day due to a fog delay, Burghoff was set in his ways to lock back down.

“There was no doubt I was going back down,” Burghoff said of going to Pool 9. “It’s not like that pool is fishing better, I just found a good area. I caught my limit in six casts today. And I culled six or seven times in 30 minutes, but I only had 9 ½ pounds. Then I started searching some areas and caught that one that was almost 6 and left immediately. Never made another cast.”

That 5-11 kicker was the gamer-changer for Burghoff and is the current Berkley Big Bass of the event. Coming into Thursday’s final Qualifying Round for Group A, Burghoff was adamant about trying to avoid big bites, hoping to slide through the Knockout Round with consistent bags. So, even though he was excited to box a Mississippi River giant, he’s also a little upset to pluck a fish that like so early in competition.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Title: Avena Leads Group B!

Jody White • 


LA CROSSE, Wis. – As stingy as the Upper Mississippi River is fishing right now, Adrian Avena certainly found a way to make it shine on Day 1 of Group B competition in the Qualifying Round of the Tackle Warehouse TITLE Presented by Mercury.

Tallying 15 pounds, 12 ounces,  the New Jersey pro put up the biggest limit of the event so far to take the early lead in Group B. Overall, Group B made the river look good on Day 2, with three pros cracking the 14-pound mark and 10 pros catching more than 12 pounds, a feat which only six pros in Group A managed on Tuesday.  

Avena Makes It Look Easy

Coming off a bottom-of-the-barrel finish in the Bass Pro Tour event on Lake Champlain, Avena was looking to get revenge on something, and the Mississippi River bass just happened to be in his way. Putting them in the boat early and often, Avena didn’t have to do anything too wild to catch his fish, he just caught ‘em.

“Today was fun, I got in an area that had some bass in it and really, just caught a lot of bass and I was able to catch those better than average fish,” Avena said. “I found it in practice. I had three bites right at the end of practice and they were all better than average. I rolled into that area today, and there were a lot of bass there, it’s just whether or not I’ll be able to fish it again.”

Catching more than 25 keepers on the day, Avena wants to shoot for the win and the automatic berth in the Championship Round.

“I’m gonna try to wind the round, that’s going to be my goal,” Avena said. “I feel like where I’m at, it can only do good with rest. If I can go out there and catch a really good bag and possibly win the round and punch my ticket to the Championship Round that’s what I want to do.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Title: McClelland Grabs Group A Lead!



LA CROSSE, Wis. – While there was a level of excitement shared among the 25 pros in Group A that set out on the Mississippi River for the first day of Qualifying Round action in the Tackle Warehouse TITLE Presented by Mercury, uncertainty was another frame of mind they all had in common.

Water level and clarity on the Mighty Miss had changed almost by the hour thorough practice – with that, the smallmouth and largemouth were equally as fickle. With a full day between Sunday’s final round of practice and today’s competition, so much could have changed.

Picking up where he left off in practice, Mike McClelland set the pace on Day 1 with a limit weighing 13 pounds, 12 ounces to take a 2-ounce lead over Alex Davis heading into Thursday’s final round of competition for Group A.

One thing playing into McClelland’s hand this week is the the fact he’s made several trips to the Upper Mississippi River over his career and has witnessed it in low water years to flood stage.

“The fortunate part about my practice is that I’ve actually fished here when the river was down,” McClelland confirmed. “It seemed like every time we showed up for a tournament in the past a massive flood hit, so anything I did in practice didn’t actually work. This week as we got to town there was localized heavy flooding, the river came up a foot and a half, two foot – maybe a little more – and muddied the water up and really messed some areas up.

Monday, August 16, 2021

T-H Marine Adds Designer Tool & Products, Inc., Completes 12th Acquisition


T-H Marine Supplies, LLC., of Huntsville, Alabama, is marking the completion of its 12th add-on acquisition after purchasing Designer Tool & Products, Inc. Prior to the acquisition, Designer Tool served as a leading supplier for T-H Marine, providing high-quality hatches, deck plates, and seals. For over a decade, T-H Marine brought those products to market under its “Designer” brand.  


By acquiring Designer Tool, T-H Marine will gain immediate logistical synergies and broadened capabilities.  Furthermore, as Designer Tool is combined with T-H Marine’s Innovative Plastics division, it will substantially increase hatch and deck plate production capacity, empowering T-H Marine’s sales team to offer more hatch products to more customers once the integration is complete.  


“T-H Marine is excited to complete this vertical integration, acquiring our most valued hatch supplier,” said T-H Marine CEO, Jeff Huntley. “Bringing Designer Tool’s production and expertise in-house enables T-H Marine to aggressively expand our hatch and deck plate offerings. We are very glad that we can now allow more customers on board to use Designer-series products.”  

Friday, August 13, 2021

Next Generation of Precision Chargers Optimized for Lithium Marine Batteries

Lithium batteries bring numerous advantages over more traditional marine power options including reduced weight and longer run times.  But these advantages come with the possibility of damaging batteries through over –or under-charging. Minn Kota’s new line of Precision On-Board Chargers take the guesswork out of running lithium power and maximize the life of 12-volt (LiFePO4) marine lithium batteries.

Select models boast an industry-leading 15 amps of true-rated output, and the new Minn Kota Precision On-Board Chargers protect lithium batteries as well as fishing time. By maximizing run times and delivering shorter charge times, these chargers keep anglers on the water longer and get them back on the water faster.

Enhancements to the line, optimized for 12-volt lithium (LiFePO4) batteries, include charge profiles specifically formulated for the high demands of lithium batteries. The new chargers can even wake lithium batteries from standby mode unlike traditional charging methods which can require a more manual process.

The foundation of safe, fast and precise charging from Minn Kota’s new Precision Line of battery chargers is automatic, multi-stage charging which adjusts output based on the current needed to charge Lithium, Flooded Lead-Acid or AGM batteries in each stage of the charging cycle.  These battery-specific charge curves can then be selected individually by bank, allowing for endless options when it comes to trolling motor and accessory battery power. Boaters and anglers can run outboard manufacturer-recommended AGM-style cranking batteries while running a trolling motor or accessories with lithium power. Anglers with a dedicated electronics battery powering multiple fish finders will also appreciate the addition of a 5 bank, 10 amp option.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Jacob Wheeler Wins 2021 MLF Bass Pro Tour Lake Champlain!

Jacob Wheeler claims back-to-back Bass Pro Tour events after winning the Toyota Stage Six Presented by Googan Baits. Photo by Josh Gassmann.

By Mason Prince

Bass Pro Tour Press Release

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – What else is there to say about Jacob Wheeler? What other superlatives can be thrust upon the most successful angler in Bass Pro Tour history? Not only is it another win for Wheeler—his third of the season and his fifth in three years on the Bass Pro Tour—but it’s another win in dominating fashion in the Championship Round. Jacob Wheeler is your Toyota Stage Six Presented by Googan Baits champion on Lake Champlain.

The Googan Baits pro grabbed the lead from Kelly Jordon just 30 minutes into Period 1 and never surrendered it again. Wheeler brought in 27 bass for 88 pounds, 2 ounces to win his second event in a row and the eighth MLF win of his career. After adding another trophy to his mantle from a win on the St. Lawrence River just over a month ago, Wheeler may be considering adding a second home in the Empire State thanks to his recent success.

“New York has been pretty good to me this year, I’m not going to lie to you,” Wheeler said shortly after confirming his win with his MLF official. “I love this sport so much. I love competing, I love preparing for events, I love competing against this group of guys and I love winning. You have to fish against the best guys in the world to become better and that’s what I’ve done since joining the Bass Pro Tour.”

Wheeler once again rode a drop-shot to his win, the same setup that helped him succeed all week long. The week on Champlain showed that the largemouth bite could get you paid, but Wheeler showed that it was the smallmouth bite that was going to get the win. All of Wheeler’s 27 scorable bass were smallmouth while all of Gallelli’s 21 bass were largemouth.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

2021 MLF Bass Pro Tour Lake Champlain: Wheeler’s Drop-Shot Dominates for Knockout Round Win

Jacob Wheeler will fish in the 13th Championship Round of his career
after a win in the Knockout Round on Lake Champlain. Photo by Phoenix Moore

By Mason Prince

Bass Pro Tour Press Release

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – While the Knockout Round didn’t earn him another $100,000 check for the season, it’s safe to say that Jacob Wheeler, once again, has as good of a shot as anyone to take home another win in the 2021 season. Wheeler totaled 32 Lake Champlain bass for 107 pounds, 2 ounces to beat Brent Ehrler by 27-7 in the Knockout Round of the Toyota Stage Six Presented by Googan Baits.

Wheeler—a four-time winner on the Bass Pro Tour—will head into the Championship Round as the only angler besides Group A winner, Matt Lee, to have a 100-pound day on Champlain. The Tennessee pro spent most of his day in deeper water working a drop-shot catching both smallmouth and largemouth.

The Googan Baits pro will have to go toe-to-toe Tuesday with some hammers who have Champlain figured out in their own right, but he heads into his fourth Championship Round of the season with tons of confidence thanks to another solid day of fishing.


“This place is unbelievable even though it’s taken me a little longer than usual to dial it in,” Wheeler mentioned. “Every time I fish here it’s different, and this time I’m starting to get it. It’s one of the best lakes in the country and this lake has got ‘em. I’ve got my work cut out for me tomorrow, but it should be a lot of fun.”

Turning an eye to the Angler of the Year race, four of the top five anglers in the standings will compete on Tuesday. Ott DeFoe (first), Brent Ehrler (second), Wheeler (third) and Lucas (fifth) are all in a dogfight as they head into the Championship Round and then into the final event of the season on Lake St. Clair. Thanks to his 10-point lead over Ehrler, even if DeFoe finishes in 10th place and Ehrler finishes first, the two would be tied for first in AOY heading into Stage Seven. As for Wheeler and Lucas, they will be looking to not only win Stage Six, but hope for Ehrler and DeFoe to struggle with the changing conditions expected on Champlain tomorrow.

Monday, August 9, 2021

2021 MLF Bass Pro Tour Lake Champlain: Group B Qualifying Round

Justin Lucas clinched a berth in the Championship Round of Stage Six
thanks to his Group B win on Lake Champlain. (Photo: MLF)

By Mason Prince

Bass Pro Tour Press Release

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Going into the Toyota Stage Six Presented by Googan Baits, the Angler of the Year race was thought to only be a three-horse race between Ott DeFoe, Jacob Wheeler and Brent Ehrler. Thanks to the Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Flat Worm, a bunch of Lake Champlain smallmouth and a trip straight to the Championship Round, it’s Justin Lucas who could be leaving New York in the driver’s seat of the AOY derby.

Lucas won Group B’s Qualifying Round with a two-day total of 31 bass for 101 pounds, 10 ounces, besting second-place Brandon Coulter by 9 ounces to earn a berth in Tuesday’s Championship Round. After Coulter caught a 2-pounder with only two minutes left in the round, Lucas said he felt the pressure. Luckily for Lucas, Coulter wasn’t able to find one more bite due to some algae blowing into his area, causing the water clarity and visibility to tank.


“I need a day off in the worst kind of way because I have to get my stuff together for the Championship Round,” a flustered Lucas said after his win. “My boat is a disaster and it was a hard fight with Coulter today. I can’t believe we won it because I really felt like things weren’t going our way, but I caught more fish today than I did on my first day. I just need an off day and a beer and I’ll be ready to go again.”

While Lucas was securing his spot in the Championship Round, Casey AshleyJordan Lee and Alton Jones Jr. were jockeying for the final spot in the top 20 for the right to go to the Knockout Round. Ashley led both Lee and Jones by 2-10 in the final 10 minutes. With only six minutes remaining in Period 3, Jones was able to hook a 2-11 smallmouth, knocking Ashley below the Toro Cut Line by just 1 ounce. Jordan Lee finished 2-15 behind Jones in 22nd place.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Japan's Best Keep Secret with IBASSIN

Japanese lures are very well known but a lot of secrets have yet to be revealed. Check out this new video as we discuss swim jigs. We highlight a few jigs and what sets them apart from jigs found in the American or Canadian markets.

Swim jigs are a great year round bait. They're more finesse than a chatterbait. More weedless than a spinnerbait and offer way more bulk and vibration than a worm.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Cody Pike Wins 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Tour on the St. Lawrence River!

Cody Pike scores 82-12lb to score win on the St. Lawrence!
(Photo: MFL)

Press Release

Shocking – that pretty much summed up the final day of the  Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the St. Lawrence River.

When the Top 10 took off this morning, everyone pretty well knew the outcome. Joey Cifuentes would ride his near 7-pound lead to victory, while the rest jockeyed for second place. Some 10 hours later, Cody Pike stood on the stage, massive check leaned against his leg, big trophy by his side, struggling to hold back tears and find words for what had just happened.

Because in those 10 hours, what happened was Pike putting together his best bag of the tournament (22 pounds, 3 ounces) while Cifuentes unfortunately put together his worst (12-5). And in one of the most unlikely endings to a season finale, it was the rookie, Pike, who weighed in 82-12 total to take home the win at Savage Arms Stop 6 Presented by Abu Garcia.

“That doesn’t happen,” said Pike of his come-from-behind win. “I was blasting off today thinking it was a two-tournament-type deal: How bad Joey was going to beat us by and who could finish second. I was just trying to finish second. So, I had no pressure. It was out of reach, or so I thought.”

Pike and most everyone else thought wrong.

While both Pike and Cifuentes were fishing deeper structures in similar areas, Pike’s spots were tucked away in between the islands near Eel Bay whereas Cifuentes utilized areas more along the main channel down near Clayton. That proved to be a huge difference, as for whatever reason, Cifuentes and many other pros noticed today the current was less, the water had dropped a little and the wind was pushing out of the east to make conditions difficult to drift the main-river spots.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Tour St. Lawrence River Day 3: Cifuentes Leads with 67-05lbs!

Canadian Erik Luzak 44th

Cifuentes' 7-pound lead keeps him in driver's seat 
going into the last day. (Photo: MLF) 


Press Release

Smallmouth derbies usually come down to ounces. Joey Cifuentes seems to have no intent on letting that happen in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers event on the St. Lawrence.

For the second time in three days, the man many call “Cowboy” cracked the 24-pound mark at the Savage Arms Stop 6 Presented by Abu Garcia. Day 1, it was 24-5, and after 18-15 yesterday, he ponied up 24-2. The result is 67-5 total and a staggering 6-pound, 12-ounce lead over Cody Pike in second place.

“[Two bags over 24 pounds in three days] is unbelievable,” said Cifuentes. “I don’t even know what to say. I’m in hog heaven as we say in Arkansas.”

That’s an understatement considering the pigs he’s catching this week, as both big bags had fish over 6 pounds in them. But here’s the scary part about today: Cifuentes didn’t make a cast on his area he caught all his weight the previous two days.

He had been fishing deep humps near Frontenac, but he decided to expand and start in some new water near Clayton. The first spot produced the 6-pounder, and everything just clicked from there.

“After that big one, I hadn’t fished shallow all week,” said the Arkansas pro. “I decided to try it and went to a shallow spot where I’d seen some fish swimming around in practice. I caught a pair of 5s. Then I went back out deep and caught a 3-pounder and a 2.5-pounder. After that, I got gas and left to run back up.”

However, despite already having a solid bag, leaving as early as he did allowed him to stop and bounce to fish his way back. Most of it was fruitless, but right near takeoff he had one more area he wanted to try. He was rewarded with 4- and 3-pounders to pad that lead even more.