STURGEON BAY, Wis. – A quick look at the top of the standings from today’s action at the Covercraft Stage Five Presented by Abu Garcia might be deceiving when comparing the first two days of the event.
Instead of three anglers hitting 100 pounds, just one reached that mark today. But, further down the standings will show a much closer group and increased weights overall.
RELATED: Full Results
Yesterday’s 20th-place position (which serves as the Elimination Line) was Kelly Jordon with 29 pounds, 7 ounces. Today, Stephen Browning, with 48-2, holds that same place in the standings.
Today was a better fishing day as both the catch count and collective weight increased. With tighter weights down the standings, Group B’s return to the water will surely provide some drama as anglers try to advance to the next round.
Yesterday, three anglers eclipsed the 100-pound mark. Today, it was just Keith Poche who hit the century club with 44 bass for 112-9. He holds a lead of more than 20-pounds over second-place finisher, Alton Jones Jr.
Many fishing fans may not have pegged Poche as a smallmouth guru, but the Louisiana native turned Alabama resident proved them all wrong today. Fishing out of his Triton aluminum boat, Poche put on quite the smallmouth clinic.
“What a day,” Poche began. “I found a good group of fish and it all worked out today. I was able to catch fish all day long.”
Like yesterday’s leader Justin Lucas, Poche fished a drop-shot with a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Flat Worm.
Looking ahead, Poche is satisfied that he cracked the 100-pound mark and how it may have salvaged his season.
“I’m hopeful these fish will get a little break during my off day and be here when I come back (on Monday). If I can advance and get a Top 10, I might have a chance to make it into REDCREST,” said Poche, who was in 61st place for the season going into this event.
Alton Jones Jr. started slowly today but made it count late in the day as he rocketed up the standings to finish in second place with 31 bass for 89-7.
“I started my day in the area that I thought had the best fish population, but it wasn’t working out. The wheels were starting to come off,” Jones admitted in the closing moments on MLF NOW! while recapping his turnaround. “I came to the last spot in my rotation and they were here. If that didn’t work, I was going to have to go look for more areas.”
He’s encouraged about what he saw late in the day and what it could provide for the rest of the week.
“There were not this many fish here during practice, so maybe more have moved in,” he added.
Alabama’s Jordan Lee has a seven-point lead over Fletcher Shryock in the race to be the 2020 Points Champion. He did his part today and finished up with 24 bass for 71-12.
He took advantage of this week’s trailering policy and switched gears after a rough start to the day and that proved to be a smart move as he turned his day around.
“It was a great day on Sturgeon Bay,” said Lee, who also utilized a drop-shot right with the Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Flat Worm.
He kept things simple with a drop-shot and plied a few specific areas.
“The key for me was finding bigger rocks. I had a couple of flurries that helped,” Lee added. “The main thing was milking a spot when I caught one. Hopefully, I can keep catching them when we come back out here, but it was a great start to the week.”
Group A returns to the water tomorrow with changing weather conditions. After a peaceful day on the water today, winds are predicted to increase and the forecasted high is 75 degrees under partly cloudy skies.
Watch all three periods of competition during MLF NOW! live stream July 10-15, beginning at 7:45 a.m CST. Watch for FREE on MajorLeagueFishing.com, the MLF app or MyOutdoorTV. The General Tire Takeout show starts at approximately 4:05 p.m. CST after each day of competition.