Cox Cruises to Group B Win; Matt Lee Pushes Past Abram for Knockout Round Berth - Major League Fishing
Cox Cruises to Group B Win; Matt Lee Pushes Past Abram for Knockout Round Berth
1y • Mason Prince • Bass Pro Tour
Bally Bet AOY by the Numbers: Some Key Stats Behind the 2022 Bass Pro Tour Race
1d • Joel Shangle • Bass Pro Tour
TORO CUT LINE: Anglers Bounce Back and Forth During Stage Five
5d • Bass Pro Tour
PATTERN INSIDE THE PATTERN: How Salzman’s Hard-Earned Dam Knowledge Paid Off at Watts Bar
1w • Dave Landahl • Bass Pro Tour
Brandon Coulter on Why Different Rod Lengths for the Same Technique Makes a Difference
1w • Bass Pro Tour
VanDam’s Generosity May Lead to More 10-Pounders at Grand Lake
1w • Alan McGuckin • Bass Pro Tour
Phoenix Fantasy Fishing Presented by Abu Garcia: Pick the Top 10 Anglers and Instantly Win a Toyota Tundra and Phoenix Boat Loaded with Abu Garcia Gear
1w • MLF • Press Releases
1 BAIT/5 REASONS: Josh Bertrand Shows Off His ’12 Months a Year’ Craw
1w • Bass Pro Tour
BALLY BET AOY UPDATE: Can Anybody Catch Wheeler for 2022 Angler of the Year?
2w • Joel Shangle • Bass Pro Tour
ALL IN Challenge: The Table Rock Experience
2w • Luke Stoner • Bass Pro Tour
TOP 10 BAITS & PATTERNS: How the Bass Pro Tour’s 10 Best Caught ’em On Watts Bar Lake
2w • Tyler Brinks • Bass Pro Tour
Alabama’s Ryan Salzman Earns First Bass Pro Tour Win at General Tire Stage Five on Watts Bar Lake
2w • MLF • Press Releases
Rookie’s Reaction: Salzman Savors Stage Five Success
2w • Bass Pro Tour
Salzman Outlasts Wheeler, Wins Stage Five on Watts Bar Lake
2w • Mason Prince • Bass Pro Tour
GALLERY: Rookie Salzman Seizes Win at Bass Pro Tour Stage 5
2w • Phoenix Moore, Joel Shangle, Garrick Dixon • Bass Pro Tour

Cox Cruises to Group B Win; Matt Lee Pushes Past Abram for Knockout Round Berth

Image for Cox Cruises to Group B Win; Matt Lee Pushes Past Abram for Knockout Round Berth
John Cox advanced to his second Championship Round of the season by winning Group B on the St. Lawrence River. Photo by Garrick Dixon
June 28, 2021 • Mason Prince • Bass Pro Tour

MASSENA, N.Y. – The man who fishes three different professional tours and rarely gets a day off says he’s going to spend his off-day tubing with his family come Tuesday. John Cox claimed the top spot in Group B on the St. Lawrence River and will advance straight to the Championship Round where he will join Group A winner, Jacob Wheeler, after catching 54 bass weighing 2 pounds or better for 175 pounds to win Group B.

While Cox was busy cruising to a win, Matt Lee and Pro Circuit angler Jason Abram were battling for the final spot in the top 20. The Knockout Round is now set in the General Tire Stage Five Presented by Berkley.

Cox Catches Plenty to Grab Group B Win

This is Cox’s fifth Bass Pro Tour event, and now will be his second appearance in a Championship Round. The Florida pro finished fifth at Stage Two on Lake Travis, and will be gunning for his first Bass Pro Tour win come Wednesday.

Cox has experienced plenty of “firsts” during this tournament season, but he got another one on Monday.

“I’ve never led here on the Bass Pro Tour and I’ve never won my group, so this is a first for me,” Cox explained. “I’m glad I’m going to get to let my fish rest a little bit for a day before I’m back out here. I like what I’ve found and I think I’ve got a good shot at (winning).”

The Berkley pro came into Monday’s round with the outright lead in Group B after catching 31 bass for 99-1 on Saturday. He added about 7 more pounds onto his lead over the rest of the field on Monday thanks to a one-two punch of Berkley baits that made the difference.

“A wacky-rigged Berkley General and a Berkley MaxScent Hit Worm were the two baits that did it for me,” Cox listed. “I started using both of those baits by accident this week but they both have really worked out. I can’t wait to get back out here on Wednesday.”

Lee and Abram Go Back-and-Forth in Final 20 Minutes

Matt Lee and Jason Abram put on a show during the final 20 minutes of Period 3, adding plenty of drama near the Toro Cut Line. Lee started his day 6 ounces out of the cut, but quickly found himself inside the top 20 for a majority of the day.

That was until Abram made an impressive run up SCORETRACKER® at the end of the day. Abram caught 27-7 in the final period to bump Lee in the undesirable position of 21st place with 19 minutes remaining.

Lee quickly responded with two smallmouths—a 3-5 and a 4-8—on back-to-back casts. That secured the Alabama pro’s spot in the top 20 and dropped Abram just 1-10 below the Toro Cut Line.

“I made it too close but it feels good to be on the right side of the cut again,” Lee said after clinching his second-straight Knockout Round appearance. “I’ve tried hard this week not to look at the fish with a flogger and stuff like that. I’m focusing more on pre- and post-spawners with a VMC Marabou jig and a jerkbait.”

As for Abram, it was his first experience fishing the MLF format on the Bass Pro Tour. While he felt like he gave it his all on the St. Lawrence River, that doesn’t make the agony of defeat any less hard to swallow.

“I lost 10 fish this week and now I could really use those 10,” Abram said in disbelief. “I don’t even know what to say. I had a blast this week. I like how you’re never really out of it in this format, but the other side of that is that you’re never really safe either. Just tough to get so close and miss out by one fish.”

Top Marks and Notes from Group B

Randall Tharp caught the Berkley Big Bass of the Day with this 6-6 smallmouth.
  • John Cox caught the most bass (54) for the most weight (175-0) in Group B.
  • The Berkley Big Bass of the Day belonged to Randall Tharp, who landed a 6-6 smallmouth to earn him $1,000.
  • There were 18 anglers who caught over 100 pounds of scorable bass in Group B.
  • Angler of the Year contenders Ott DeFoe (first place), Bobby Lane (fifth), Michael Neal (eighth), and Gerald Spohrer (ninth) all qualified for the Knockout Round. Brent Chapman (fourth) will miss out on the Knockout Round.