Greg Vinson earned the top spot in Elimination Round 1 on Fort Gibson Lake. Photo by Joe Branch
By Mason Prince - April 6, 2020
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Ten anglers kicked off the 2020 Sqwincher Patriot Cup Presented by Venmo on Fort Gibson Lake with Elimination Round 1. After three periods of tough competition, only six pros are moving on to the Sudden Death Rounds and four have been sent packing.
“The Rooster” Rises to the Top
Greg Vinson ended Period 1 on the wrong side of the Elimination Line in seventh place with only four bass for 4 pounds, 11 ounces. It all began to change for Vinson in Period 2. He landed nine scorable bass for 13-12 in the second period to propel himself up SCORETRACKER® into fourth place.
Using a combination of a small and a large black topwater bait, Vinson finished in first place with 24 bass for 33-12. Those topwater baits weren’t originally black, though. Vinson decided to color them both with a black magic marker while he was out on the water because of the water clarity.
“In that dirty water, that really dark profile has a great silhouette,” Vinson explained. “The fish can’t get a real good look at it to make a determination what it is. They just know that they don’t like that thing and they want to get rid of it. There were some pretty vicious strikes on those two baits today.”
Browning Stays Consistent
While Vinson finished the day on top, it was Stephen Browning who spent most of the day on top of SCORETRACKER®. Browning boated seven bass in Period 1, six bass in Period 2 and four bass in Period 3 for a total of 28-15.
The Arkansas angler used a white vibrating jig to get his bites in the first two periods to build his lead. Although his bite slowed down in Period 3, he still stuck with a vibrating jig for the majority of the day, giving him a second-place finish behind Vinson.
Browning was unable to make the Sudden Death Round during his 2020 Heritage Cup appearance in Syracuse, New York in his previous Cup appearance. However, Browning did find himself in a Sudden Death Round during the 2020 Challenge Cup on Bull Shoals Lake in Mountain Home, Arkansas.
Sudden Death Bound
Vinson and Browning will be joined by Luke Clausen, Zack Birge, Brent Ehrler and Jordan Lee in the Sudden Death Rounds. The six anglers will await the other 12 anglers that will qualify for Sudden Death after their respective Elimination Rounds.
Lee and Ehrler are the only two anglers in this group of six that have won an MLF event. The rest are hoping for their first MLF Cup trophy.
Gerald Swindle, Jesse Wiggins, Todd Faircloth and Dustin Connell have been eliminated from Patriot Cup contention after finishing below the Elimination Line in Elimination Round 1. Swindle, the seventh-place angler, finished 3-8 behind sixth-place Jordan Lee for the final spot in the Top 6.
Wiggins began the third period in sixth place but quickly fell out of contention after catching only one bass for 1-8 in the final frame.