On To The Championship Round: Stage Three Final 10 Prepare for Texas Throwdown - Major League Fishing

On To The Championship Round: Stage Three Final 10 Prepare for Texas Throwdown

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Andy Montgomery battled his way to the top of the Knockout Round on Lake Fork. Photo by Garrick Dixon
March 17, 2020 • Tyler Brinks • Bass Pro Tour

LAKE FORK, Texas – The Championship Round field is set at the General Tire Stage Three Presented by TrueTimber on Lake Fork. As is almost always the case during an elimination day, anglers battled until the end, and two anglers made their push during the final hour to jump inside the Top 8 to advance.

Those anglers were Ott DeFoe and Jeff Sprague. DeFoe scored a 4-pound, 8-ounce bass with precisely one hour to go. Sprague landed two (a 2-11 and a 3-14) in the final hour, including one of them in the last 15 minutes, to secure his spot in the Championship Round.

Overall, there was an improvement over the past two days in terms of fishing quality, as proven by 7-, an 8-, and a 9-pound bass on SCORETRACKER®.

Now, after five days on Lake Fork, the competition will shift to a much smaller Lake Athens, that most anglers have never visited, besides their one six-hour ride around that they were each granted this week during an off-day.

It will be a real test of who can figure things out the fastest on unfamiliar waters and should be an exciting day for fishing fans watching on MLF NOW!

Montgomery Wins the Round

South Carolina’s Andy Montgomery remained steady throughout the day and ending the round as the leader thanks to a 13 bass, 45-pounds, 9-ounce catch.

All week long, he primarily focused on sight fishing, and credits having an area to himself as the reason for his success.

“I caught some pitching to shallow grass and little bushes in a little dirtier water, but it was mainly sight fishing all week with a Strike King Game Hawg and a big lizard,” he recapped.

He’s looking forward to Lake Athens but hopes the weather changes. “I’m hoping it is rainy and overcast so we can just fish instead of looking at bedding bass. I’m tired of sight-fishing,” he said.

Jones Jr. Exceeded Expectations

Alton Jones, Jr. was more than pleased with the day and credited his finish to a relaxed attitude to start the day.

“I had no expectations for the day and decided just to go looking for the most part,” he said. “I knew of one bedding bass and was headed there when I saw another one. I caught that one right away and that kind of set the tone for the day,” he said of his 5-pound, 8-ounce bass that was the second fish of the day.

His father, Alton Jones, Sr. caught the first bass of the day, only seconds before Junior’s hit SCORETRACKER®.

“That’s how the day went, every decision I made turned out to be the right one,” Jones said.

He ended the day with 11 bass for 42-9

Even though he’s a Texas angler, Lake Athens will be a new venue for him.

“I had never seen it until our ride around the other day,” he shared.

Poche Winds Up in Third

Keith Poche worked his way into the Top 5 on Lake Fork. Photo by Josh Gassmann

For part of the afternoon, it looked like Keith Poche may win the round. He eventually settled in third by doing what he has done all week: fishing for bedding bass. He totaled 13 bass for 42-1.

“It was a good day and I was able to catch some decent ones,” Poche began. “I spent all week rotating through a few pockets for spawning bass and it was just a timing deal for when they would bite. The key all week was fishing slow and not trying to rush them.”

Even though he rode around on Athens, Poche isn’t sure what to expect. “I don’t have a clue how it will be. I saw some shallow and caught some deep,” he added.

The Final 10

Besides Montgomery, Jones, Jr., and Poche, our final 10 is cemented. Qualifying Round winners Mark Daniels, Jr. and Brandon Coulter will join them on Lake Athens along with Justin Atkins, Bryan Thrift, Brent Chapman, Jeff Sprague, and Ott DeFoe.

Looking Ahead

The Top 8 anglers from today will join Qualifying Round group winners Daniels and Coulter on Lake Athens. The weather prediction is for a high of 75 degrees with a chance of thunderstorms.

The Daily Best

  • Bryan Thrift put the biggest bass on SCORETRACKER® with his 9-8 largemouth.
  • Montgomery and Poche tied for scoring the most fish with 13 bass for the day.

How, When, Where to Watch

Watch all three periods of competition during the MLF NOW! live stream beginning at 9:45 a.m CST on March 13-18, 2020. Watch for FREE on MajorLeagueFishing.com, the MLF app, or the MyOutdoorTV app.