Spohrer Surges for Knockout Round Win; Avena & Lucas Outlast Montgomery - Major League Fishing

Spohrer Surges for Knockout Round Win; Avena & Lucas Outlast Montgomery

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Gerald Spohrer caught 73 pounds of smallmouth in the final period of the Knockout Round to advance to the Championship Round. Photo by Garrick Dixon
June 29, 2021 • Mason Prince • Bass Pro Tour

MASSENA, N.Y. – For the second day in a row, the 38 anglers fishing in the Knockout Round of the General Tire Stage Five Presented by Berkley had to wait out a lightning delay. However, that brief afternoon storm didn’t put a damper on another record-breaking day on the Bass Pro Tour thanks to some St. Lawrence River smallmouth.

Spohrer Sprints for First

That 45-minute lightning delay Tuesday afternoon might not have helped any other angler more than Gerald Spohrer. The Louisiana pro was able to take advantage of the slick-calm conditions after the delay to the tune of 73 pounds of smallmouth to end his day with 35 bass for 130 pounds, 8 ounces.

“Today was awesome but tomorrow is what really matters,” Spohrer said immediately following his Knockout Round win. “I rolled up to this area after the storm and it was slick and sunny. I was able to see everything and there were 4-pounders everywhere. I just plucked them all off one-by-one while sight fishing.”

This will be Spohrer’s third Championship Round appearance of the 2021 season, and keeps him well in the hunt in the Angler of the Year race. The Grundens pro entered Stage Five sitting in ninth place in the AOY standings, 50 points behind leader Ott DeFoe. With DeFoe missing the cut in the Knockout Round, Spohrer has a great chance to gain some ground on the two-time winner this year.

Avena Bumps Lucas, Lucas Moves Montgomery for Final Spot

Adrian Avena celebrates an impressive smallmouth catch on the St. Lawrence River during the Knockout Round. Photo by Josh Gassmann

While Spohrer prepares for his third Championship Round of the season, Adrian Avena will be getting ready for his first. Avena was able to put together two important fish catches in the final 10 minutes to jump above the Toro Cut Line and into the Championship Round.

The New Jersey pro was sitting in ninth place just 2-5 behind Justin Lucas with only 10 minutes remaining. That’s when the Berkley pro hooked a 5-pounder to bump Lucas into ninth while he moved into eighth. Shortly after, Avena brought in a 4-1 smallmouth that locked him into a Championship Round berth, giving him a much-needed feeling of relief after one of his more stressful days of the season.

“If you want to live a long and stress-free life, I wouldn’t recommend fishing the MLF format,” Avena said jokingly. “I just made the right decisions at the end of the day that paid off. I’m excited to get a shot at it tomorrow. Anything can happen in that Championship Round, but it’s going to be tough to beat my buddy Jacob Wheeler and John Cox. Those guys are dialed in right now.”

As Avena caught his final 4-1, Lucas was able to bring in a 4-5 smallie almost simultaneously. Thanks to that quick spurt of catches, it became Andy Montgomery who found himself just below the Toro Cut Line as time expired. Montgomery received the news that he was in ninth place with just seconds remaining in the round. The South Carolina pro was shocked, but was able to find a silver lining.

“Ain’t nothing you can say,” Montgomery said with a sense of dejection. “I finished 11th on the St. Lawrence River with a spinning rod in my hand all week, which isn’t really my forte. I’m really proud of the way I fished, just came up short this time.”

Top Marks and Notes from Knockout Round

  • Gerald Spohrer caught the most weight with 130-8.
  • Skeet Reese caught the most scorable 2-pound bass with 40.
  • Jeff Sprague is moving on to the Championship Round after finishing fifth. It will be his ninth Championship Round appearance.
  • Angler of the Year points leader Ott DeFoe fell below the Toro Cut Line and will miss out on the Championship Round but will earn 69 points for finishing 12th.
  • Two anglers caught more than 100 pounds of bass today but missed the cut—Andy Montgomery (106-0) and DeFoe (101-13)
  • Justin Lucas caught the Berkley Big Bass of the Day with a 6-0 in Period 1. That is Lucas’ second Berkley Big Bass of the event after catching a 6-13 on Friday. He has earned an extra $2,000 this week and could earn another $3,000 if that 6-13 can hold the top spot through tomorrow.