DAYTON, Tenn. – Group A wrapped up its Qualifying Round on Lake Chickamauga for the B&W Trailer Hitches Stage Four Presented by ATG x Wrangler on Sunday with 20 anglers advancing to the Knockout Round. Russ Lane entered the day with a more-than 20-pound lead over the rest of the field, but the day belonged to Tennessee pro Jason Lambert, who won Group A and secured his spot in Wednesday’s Championship Round.
When it comes to ledge fishing on a Tennessee Valley Authority reservoir in early June, Lambert is an angler to watch no matter where the event is taking place. Lambert was a two-time winner on Kentucky Lake on the Pro Circuit in 2016 and set a Pro Circuit record for largest margin of victory—28 pounds—in 2018. It should come as no surprise that Lambert was able to smash them on Chickamauga in early June.
“Tennessee River ledge fishing, it’s just what I love to do,” Lambert admitted. “This place is really similar to Kentucky Lake in that the fish are offshore and they love to get on the current breaks. The difference is that Chickamauga is tiny compared to Kentucky Lake. If you’re able to find 20 to 30 schools during practice on Chickamauga, you had a great practice. If you find less than 60 schools on Kentucky Lake, you’re in trouble.”
Lambert started his day 21-7 back of Russ Lane in third place. But after an early-morning flurry of bites, Lambert started stacking weight on SCORETRACKER® in a hurry. He finished the day with 17 bass for 60 pounds, 8 ounces, bringing his two-day total to 109-13 and giving him a 32-pound edge over second-place Lane. Lambert said he drew on his past experiences from Kentucky Lake and other TVA reservoirs to figure out how to surpass the century mark and earn a trip to the Championship Round.
“It’s hard to catch 200 fish a day on Chickamauga like you can on Kentucky just because of the size difference of the lakes, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t catch them in bunches,” Lambert said. “In terms of how you catch them, it’s pretty much the same. I caught them on a new Hardcore crankbait that’s coming out at ICAST in July and a Kitana Stagger Head with a Casataic Jerky J. Those are really my go-tos this time of the year when I’m ledge fishing.”
Lambert now advances to his first Championship Round since joining the Bass Pro Tour in 2019. While he admits that he hasn’t performed his best over the past couple of years, that doesn’t mean he’s not enjoying every second of fishing the way he loves and cutting checks in the process.
“It’s been a pretty rough couple of years, so this feels pretty good,” Lambert said. “I’ve had good tournaments since joining the Bass Pro Tour, but nothing great. I think I’ve made three total Knockout Rounds. To get the chance to pin my ears back and smash on them a little bit today, it’s a great feeling. It helps my confidence, my attitude, and my overall state of mind heading into Wednesday.”
Group B returns to Lake Chickamauga for the final day of their Qualifying Round. The 40 anglers’ weights will carry over from their first day of fishing. The top 20 anglers on SCORETRACKER® at the end of the day will advance in Stage Four competition. A scorable bass must weigh at least 2 pounds for this event.