David Walker wins Group B on Watts Bar to automatically qualify for Thursday's Championship Round. Photo by Garrick Dixon
By Mason Prince Bass Pro Tour
SPRING CITY, Tenn. – He may live about 90 miles away from Watts Bar Lake, but David Walker made himself right at home on this impoundment of the Tennessee River, winning Group B’s Qualifying Round of the General Tire Stage Five Presented by Covercraft.
Much like Kevin VanDam who won Group A on Monday, Walker began his second day of competition in fifth place on SCORETRACKER® with 22 pounds, 1 ounce, needing to make up some ground. After a two-hour-and-15-minute lightning delay, the Sevierville, Tennessee, native caught 11 bass for 23-10 on Wednesday to jump into the top spot and automatically qualify for the Championship Round on Thursday.
Walker Storms into Lead After Weather Delay
It hasn’t been the best start to the season for Walker, and he’d be the first to tell you. He sits 72nd in the Bally Bet Angler of the Year race out of 80 pros. He hasn’t made a Knockout Round in 2022, and (technically) he still won’t fish in one as he is directly on to the Championship Round where he will join VanDam for a 1-in-10 shot at $100,000.
“This has been a tough season for me so far, but to have two days like today and Sunday put together is just awesome,” Walker said. “The highs are so high and the lows are so low in tournament fishing. It’s tough to be even keel. One good day can make up for a whole lot of bad ones.”
Walker started the day in a favorable position — fifth place to be exact. After a lengthy weather delay, the Tennessee pro began lighting up SCORETRACKER® in a hurry, adding three bass for 5-9 in the first 45 minutes. He had about two hours in which he didn’t register a scorable bass, but once the third period got underway, Walker caught five bass for 10 pounds to secure the top spot.
“It was just a day where I made the right choices,” Walker said. “I caught fish so many different ways today and I have so many rods on the deck of my boat.”
Walker now advances to his first Championship Round appearance since Stage Two in 2019 on Lake Conroe where he finished fifth.
DeFoe, Johns and Suggs Post Impressive Days
Suggs added 12 bass for 23-3 to his total weight, pushing him into fifth. The Arkansas pro was able to climb up from 16th place thanks to a shaky head fished on offshore brush piles.
The biggest day of Group B belongs to Johns, however. The Georgia pro had the most scorable bass (14) and the most weight on SCORETRACKER® (26-12) for the day. Johns worked a frog in the backs of pockets along the Watts Bar shoreline to bring in every one of his fish. This will be the Big Bear Rods pro’s second Knockout Round appearance of the 2022 season.
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