Lucas Wins First Stage Trophy After Record-Breaking Week - Major League Fishing

Lucas Wins First Stage Trophy After Record-Breaking Week

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Berkley pro Justin Lucas won the final Bass Pro Tour event of 2020 on Sturgeon Bay. Photo by Phoenix Moore Photo by Phoenix Moore. Angler: Justin Lucas.
July 15, 2020 • Tyler Brinks • Bass Pro Tour

STURGEON BAY, Wis. – The 10 anglers in today’s Championship Round of the Covercraft Stage Five Presented by Abu Garcia were a great mix.

The group included a newly crowned Points Champion, three Bass Pro Tour Stage winners, and four past Bassmaster Classic Champions.

It was a solid mix of both seasoned veterans and first-time Championship Round anglers. Whoever ended up winning would have to earn it as this field was stacked from top to bottom.

For most of the day, it was a three-horse race between Justin Lucas, Mark Daniels Jr. and Josh Bertrand. They traded blows to hop each other in the standings for much of the day. Alton Jones also made a run, but for the most part, it appeared it would be one of the three anglers with West Coast roots bringing home the win.

Lucas had cruised all week long, setting weight records in Group A’s Qualifying Round and earning an automatic Championship Round for winning his group. Today, he led after both Periods 1 and 2. The only thing that could stop him was a weather delay. After rain and lightning forced a stoppage, Lucas went cold and didn’t score a keeper for nearly an hour.

That made things interesting, but Lucas caught fire when it counted late in the day and was able to pull off the win with 38 bass for 110 pounds, 5 ounces.

Lucas Claims Hard-Fought Victory

Lucas admittedly had a rough start to his Bass Pro Tour career and let his emotions show as time expired on MLF NOW!

“It took me a while to get used to fishing a tournament in this format. It’s so freaking cool to win one of these,” he said.

All week long, he relied on a drop-shot rig with a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Flat Worm in a variety of colors. On the final day, he had seven identical 7-foot medium Abu Garcia Fantasista rods rigged up for the technique.

“Today, I caught them all on black but used a bunch of different colors this week,” Lucas said.

He utilized a variety of Abu Garcia reels, all spooled with 8-pound Berkley X5 braid in the Crystal color with a leader of 8-pound Berkley Trilene 100% fluorocarbon. He rounded out the package with a size 2 drop-shot hook and a 3/8-ounce weight.

Lucas had a record-breaking event on Sturgeon Bay. Photo by Garrick Dixon

Lucas targeted postspawn fish on isolated pieces of grass all week long in Sturgeon Bay.

“The area was the first deeper water outside of the biggest spawning flat I could find. I was targeting isolated patches of grass and I can’t believe nobody else was fishing there,” Lucas shared and added that the key depth range was between 14 and 20 feet of water on the final day.

Daniels Ends Up Second

The one angler who made things interesting late was Mark Daniels Jr., but he fell a little bit short of the win.

He was pleased with his solid finish. “It was a great week and I can’t complain. Any time I can get out and use my Garmins and fish for smallmouth, I’m a happy man.”

Daniels Jr. had a fantastic event on Sturgeon Bay, winning the Knockout Round before taking second overall. Photo by Garrick Dixon

His key tactic was fishing a Ned rig with a Z-Man TRD in both Green Pumpkin and Green Pumpkin Goby and a 4-inch Z-Man Finesse WormZ on a drop-shot.

“I was fishing offshore shoals and there would be groups of fish meandering around. They weren’t big schools, just pods of them,” Daniels added.

For the second day in a row, he surpassed the 100-pound mark and ended up with 34 bass for 102-07.

Bertrand Lands in Third

Arizona’s Josh Bertrand was another part of the Berkley Flat Worm contingent and had an excellent week, ultimately landing in third with 29 bass for 86-14 by using a drop-shot rig.

“The main thing for me was targeting areas with bass that were actively feeding on bait because that’s where the bigger groups of fish were. The single rocks would only have a fish or two on them,” he said and added that he fished the Sister Island area of Sturgeon Bay.

Bertrand put up a fight for the majority of the day before finishing in third for the event. Photo by Phoenix Moore

Championship Round Notables

  • The biggest bass of the day was Cliff Pace with his 5-3 smallmouth.
  • Justin Lucas landed the most bass with 38 bass for the day.
  • Lucas also caught the most weight with 110-5.

Championship Round Standings

  1. Justin Lucas: 110 – 05
  2. Mark Daniels: Jr: 102 – 07         
  3. Josh Bertrand: 86 – 14    
  4. Jordan Lee: 79 – 07          
  5. Alton Jones: 78 – 05          
  6. Andy Morgan: 63 – 10      
  7. Mike Iaconelli: 63 – 02    
  8. Cliff Pace: 54 – 05 
  9. Bradley Roy: 30 – 07
  10. Ish Monroe: 28 – 04