Cox continues to thrive in chaos - Major League Fishing

Cox continues to thrive in chaos

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John Cox has taken on a characteristicly large tournament load this year, and he's thriving yet again. Photo by Jody White. Angler: John Cox.
May 17, 2023 • Luke Stoner • Invitationals

A few weeks ago, John Cox had just weighed in another five-fish limit on semifinal Saturday of the Bassmaster Elite Series on Santee Cooper. His efforts were good enough to land him in 28th place, earning the laid-back Florida pro another solid paycheck, something he’s done in every event he has fished in 2023. He was happy to have a good finish, but Cox was chewing on a bit of a pickle he’d found himself in that afternoon.

His tournament had just ended in South Carolina, but Cox was supposed to be starting practice for the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals event on Lake of the Ozarks at sunrise the very next morning and he realized he was about due for an oil change in his 2023 Toyota Tundra. Not ideal when faced with a 16-hour drive, no time to spare, and service departments closed on Sundays.

Fortunately, his wife Melissa, who Cox describes as his teammate and angel, flew into South Carolina so she could drive John, his truck, and his boat out of the Southeast and into the Midwest while he rested and tried to think up a gameplan for LOZ, since he’d be missing at least a full day of practice.

Thanks to the reliability of his wife and his truck, the duo made it to Missouri having only missed the first day of practice. Cox is truly an extraordinary angler, but there is no doubt it takes an equally special significant other to support and at times, ensure the actual arrival of professional bass fishing’s marathon man.  

Missing even a few hours of official practice would immediately spin 75% of the field out, but Cox actually took the following morning off to catch up on a little more rest. You see, due to Cox’s well-documented tendency to fish every tournament he can reasonably sign up for and the incredible fishing abilities that allow him to make a lot of cuts, this kind of bedlam is not unfamiliar.

“Honestly I think I fish better when I have a little chaos around me,” Cox said with a chuckle. “I guess I feel weird if things are too calm and organized. I tend to fish better when I pretty much abandon any game plans I had, too.”

Two longtime fishing buddies both took down trophies at Lake of the Ozarks.

When the strain of a chaotic schedule would break most anglers, Cox continues to thrive.

Case in point, Cox went on to win  Phoenix Boats Stop 4 Presented by Mystik Lubricants on Lake of the Ozarks, regardless of restricted practice time on a body of water he had never fished in his life. The Crestliner pro sight-fished his way to another trophy, beating out his buddy and former local tournament teammate Keith Carson by just over a pound.

“The tournament really couldn’t have worked out much better with Keith and I finishing first and second,” Cox said. ”It was a whirlwind of emotions for me, cause I would have loved for Keith to win, but it all worked out. I was even able to get the oil change I needed on my Tundra during our off day. It was nice!”

In addition to another trophy and an $80,000 payday, Cox took home $3,000 in Toyota Bonus Bucks. Covering more than the pending oil change for the longtime Toyota driver.

Many well-traveled bass anglers tout the reliability of Toyota as being one of the deciding factors in their choice of tow vehicle. But when you are John Cox and you’ve booked tournaments on top of tournaments without a day to spare, you absolutely must be able to rely on your truck.

“The Bonus Bucks program is initially what led me to buying my first Tundra, it was a no-brainer to me,” Cox explained. “But I’ve grown to just really love the trucks over the years. My new ’23 is awesome. Pulls my boat great, the comfort is unreal, and with the way I live my life the reliability is probably the best part. I trust that thing to get me, my boat, and my family to the next tournament no matter what.”

The rewards of Toyota’s prominent fishing contingency program aren’t just for pro anglers like John Cox. Bonus Bucks supports hundreds of bass fishing events of all levels and for anglers who own or lease an eligible tow vehicle, it is 100% free to register for. 

Head to for more information, a full list of sanctioned events and payouts, or to get yourself registered today.

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