LEESBURG, Fla. – Ott DeFoe made Bobby Lane sweat a little bit while Spencer Shuffield and Timmy Horton pulled out some final-hour heroics on the Harris Chain. It was another entertaining day of fishing for the Favorite Fishing Stage Three Presented by Bass Cat Boats, as the top 20 pros in Group B are moving on to the Knockout Round while Bobby Lane advances straight to the Championship Round.
Lane began the day with a 24-pound lead over the second-place angler and ended his day with a 24-4 lead over Ott DeFoe for the Group B win. While it may seem as though Lane was thoroughly in control throughout the entire day if you just look at SCORETRACKER®, the Florida pro was feeling the heat from a surging DeFoe in Period 2.
Lane’s sizable lead dwindled down to half its size in the matter of a couple of hours thanks to DeFoe catching 63-1 in his first two periods of fishing. Although DeFoe’s run was impressive, Lane kept his composure and kept boating bass, even if it was with a little more pressure than he may have wanted.
“Ott scared the fire out of me this morning when I heard his name creeping up towards me on SCORETRACKER®,” Lane recapped. “He was catching them so fast that I thought I was about to be his next victim. However, I was able to stay consistent today and keep a safe distance from him and hold on for the win.”
Lane finished his day with a two-day total of 39 bass for 102-6 to notch yet another trip to a Championship Round. The Berkley pro caught almost all of his fish flipping Kissimmee grass with a Berkley PowerBait General with a ½-ounce screw-in tungsten weight. Lane makes it 3-for-3 on Championship Round appearances so far in the 2021 Bass Pro Tour season.
“I only need to beat nine other guys so hopefully I can get another win here on the Harris Chain,” the 2016 Challenge Cup champion said. “I was able to look around a little bit today and practice some. I’m really looking forward to having a flipping stick in my hand the entire day.”
Spencer Shuffield and Timmy Horton didn’t make it easy on themselves, but thanks to some crucial catches in the final hour, both anglers are moving on to the Knockout Round.
For Shuffield, his day was all about the comeback. The Arkansas pro started his day in 37th place after only catching 5-10 on his first day of competition. He quickly made up ground by fishing in the mouth of a Lake Harris canal to start his day, which moved him above the Toro Cut Line after Period 2.
A slow start in Period 3 saw Shuffield fall into 24th place with only 15 minutes left. The Hardcore pro decided to pull up to a brushpile he found earlier in the day, threw in a drop-shot, and pulled out a 5-3 to lock him into the top 20.
“I was really down on myself after that first day,” Shuffield admitted. “I knew I was a better fisherman than that and I knew I was capable of so much more. I showed that today and I’m really happy with my performance. No matter what happens tomorrow, I’m proud of my tournament.”
As for Horton, he started his day only 1-6 out of the top 20. Three first-period fish and three second-period fish moved Horton comfortably into the top 20. But it was short-lived as he saw multiple anglers begin to jump him on SCORETRACKER® before eventually falling out of the top 20 entirely.
With about 20 minutes remaining in his day, Horton was flipping matted vegetation and set the hook on a massive 6-8 largemouth. That bass catapulted Horton above the Toro Cut Line as he was able to hold on and advance to the Knockout Round.
“I felt like I was going to get a big bite all day long and it kept eluding me,” Horton explained. “I caught it flipping a Klone Crawsome and it’s one of my favorite flipping baits. I’m so pumped right now and I’m so hoarse that I can barely talk. You can’t make it to the Championship Round unless you make it to the Knockout Round, so I’m excited where I’m at right now.”
Weights will reset to zero as the advancing 38 pros will take on the Harris Chain once again in the Knockout Round. The top eight anglers with the highest total weight after three periods of fishing will be moving on to the Championship Round to meet Bobby Lane and Brett Hite. A scorable bass must weigh at least 1-8 in the Knockout Round. Coverage begins with the MLF NOW! live stream on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MLF app beginning at 6:45 a.m. ET. Lines go in at 7 a.m. ET.