Alton Jones, Jr. rode some big bites to a fifth-place finish in Elimination Round 2. Photo by Garrick Dixon
By Mason Prince - May 20, 2019
BRANSON, Mo. – Alton Jones, Jr. figured something out in Elimination Round 2 of the Berkley Stage Six Presented by TrueTimber. In typical professional-angler fashion, he kept the exact details of what he figured out to himself, and honestly, I don’t blame him. When you catch 12 more pounds of fish than the next-closest angler and finish in fifth place, some things can be left to the imagination.
Still, Jones’ flurry of 67 pounds, 5 ounces—giving him a two-day total of 105-10—did not come as a surprise to him. Thanks to well-spent practice time, Jones was able to create a blueprint for success on Table Rock Lake.
“I was going off of something I figured out in practice,” Jones explained. “I did a lot of the same stuff today that I did during the Shotgun Round, too. I really thought I was going to catch some big fish during the Shotgun Round because I had such a good shad-spawn bite in the morning and then moved to something different in the afternoon. I caught some fish off of some docks and I tried to keep an open mind all day. Later in the day, I ran some open water in the same area as the docks and it paid dividends. I caught some big fish that I was really happy with.”
The Quest for Quality
In a lake full of scoreable bass, Jones was on the hunt for something a little more substantial than a group of 1-pounders. While he did catch plenty of 1-pounders, it was his ability to land the big bites that proved to be the difference for him. Jones boated fish with weights of 5-2, 4-0, 3-12, 3-2, and 3-2 in his Elimination Round, a day he will happily take.
“I’m really fishing for quality and not quantity,” Jones detailed. “When you have guys catching 1-pounder after 1-pounder, it really makes a difference when I’m catching those bigger fish. I had a couple of flurries where I would catch multiple big fish in a row. When you’re doing that, guys are going to have to catch a dozen fish just to keep up with you. These fish are in tight groups so when you catch one, there’s always more with it.”
Needing More in Knockout Round
The Texas pro heads into Tuesday’s Knockout Round—his third this season and first since Stage Two—with a good idea of what exactly he needs to do to make sure he moves on to the Top 10. For him, it’s all about using the morning shad spawn as a spring board to the rest of his day.
“This is a speed game, and as long as these places reload, I’m finding a new spot every day to add to my arsenal,” Jones blueprinted. “I just need to be more efficient with my morning bite and hit those key spots. If those spots reload, I should be able to get multiple quality bites like I did today. I’ve got to really take advantage of my morning bite and after that’s done tomorrow, I’m going to have to go practice. My afternoon bite has not been what these other guys have had so I’m going to have to put something together.”
Jones and the 39 other pros who have moved on to the Knockout Round will begin their day at 6:30 a.m. CT on Table Rock Lake. Coverage of the Knockout Round begins at “lines in” with SCORETRACKER® on MajorLeagueFishing.com. The MLF NOW! live stream will get started at 9 a.m. CT and will continue all day long on the MLF website.