CULLMAN. Ala. – Berkley pro John Cox of DeBary, Florida , who led the tournament on Day 2, brought a five-bass limit to the scale on Saturday, weighing 12 pounds even, to stay on top of the leaderboard after Day 3 of the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Covercraft Stop 2 – Lewis Smith Lake in Cullman, Alabama.
Rookie Tai Au of Glendale, Arizona, jumped from fifth place into second on Day Three, with a five-bass limit weighing 12 pounds, 12 ounces, giving him a two-day total of 40 pounds, 6 ounces – a 5-pound, 4-ounce gap that could prove challenging on the stingy fishery. Spencer Shuffield of Hot Springs, Arkansas, made the biggest jump of the day, starting the day in 28th place and vaulting into seventh place with a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 10 ounces, bringing him into the Top 10 with a total of 39 pounds, 3 ounces.
The event features 163 of the best bass fishing professionals from around the world, competing in a four-day competition for a top cash payout of up to $135,000.
“I want to win so badly on this lake,” Cox said. “I want to win here worse than anywhere else in the country. It would make a lot of really bad memories disappear. But today was a little miserable. The only keepers that actually took my bait were the five I brought to the scale.”
Cox said despite the struggle today, he’s still not really looking at beds or trying to fish them.
“I saw some empty beds, and a few with fish on them, but the fish were really spooky,” Cox said. “They still needed to be surprised or tricked into biting. There aren’t any eggs down, so they’re past the point of where I’ve already caught them, and now are further in where they want to make their beds.”
Cox said he caught a lot of males today, but they just weren’t big enough to keep.
“I know I’m in the Top 10 and I’m trying to get excited for tomorrow, but I’m so burned out – there have been a lot of boats on a lot of areas today, so I tried to let some of those areas rest and ran around and fished more random stuff to try to get to those better pockets I wanted to fish. I don’t think we weighed one fish today out of any of the actual pockets I was looking forward to fishing.
“I think I’m just mentally and physically drained from fishing so much water and not getting bit. A lot of times through the day, I was thinking ‘I need to change baits – I need to change colors,’ but I honestly just think if those fish were ready, they would have taken anything.
“I went to start on a stretch, but threw to a dock randomly and caught one, then threw to the dock again and caught another one, which got me excited – but that was the total excitement for the entire day.”
Cox said he almost ran all the way to the dam around 10 a.m., but changed his mind because he had three bass and thought he would be able to catch two more pretty easily.
“Hopefully it won’t be as crowded tomorrow – today it was nuts everywhere I went, with people on all the spots,” Cox said. “I’m planning to just rig up everything the same tomorrow and see what happens.”
The Top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition Sunday on Lewis Smith Lake are:
1st: John Cox, DeBary, Fla., 15 bass, 45-10
2nd: Tai Au, Glendale, Ariz., 15 bass, 40-6
3rd: Kyle Cortiana, Coweta, Okla., 15 bass, 39-13
4th: Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, 14 bass, 39-9
5th: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 15 bass, 39-6
6th: Justin Cooper, Zwolle, La., 15 bass, 39-4
7th: Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., 15 bass, 39-3
8th: Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, 15 bass, 38-8
9th: Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., 15 bass, 38-4
10th: Kyle Hall, Grandbury, Texas, 15 bass, 38-1
Anglers finishing 11th through 20th are:
11th: Chase Serafin, White Lake, Mich., 15 bass, 37-12, $11,000
12th: Kerry Milner, Fisher, Ark., 13 bass, 37-3, $11,000
13th: Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., 15 bass, 36-13, $11,000
14th: John Hunter, Shelbyville, Ky., 15 bass, 36-13, $11,000
15th: Cody Huff, Ava, Mo., 14 bass, 36-9, $11,000
16th: Joshua Weaver, Macon, Ga., 14 bass, 36-7, $11,000
17th: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., 15 bass, 35-10, $11,000
18th: Jesse Wiggins, Logan, Ala., 15 bass, 34-5, $11,000
19th: Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 14 bass, 33-11, $11,000
20th: Terry Bolton, Benton, Ky., 14 bass, 33-10, $11,000
For a full list of results visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 186 bass weighing 423 pounds, 14 ounces, caught by 50 pros on Friday, which included 25 five-bass limits.
The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Covercraft Stop 2 – Lewis Smith Lake is hosted by the Cullman Area Local Organizing Committee.
In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of 162 anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The field was cut to 50 anglers on Saturday. Now, the top 10 pros based on their three-day cumulative weight advance to Sunday where the winner will be determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days of competition.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where they will compete for up to $235,000. The 2021 TITLE will be on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Aug. 17-22, and is hosted by Explore La Crosse.
Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. CT on Sunday from Smith Lake Park, located at 403 County Rd 386 in Cullman. Weigh-in will also be held at the park on Sunday at 4 p.m. Attendance is limited to competing anglers, family, essential staff and media covering the event. Fans are encouraged to follow the action online through the MLF NOW! live stream and coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Covercraft Stop 2 – Lewis Smith Lake will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the Outdoor Channel on Sunday, July 18 from 7 to 9 a.m. ET and re-air on the Sportsman Channel this fall. Fans can catch weigh-ins and live on-the-water action all day Saturday and Sunday, March 13-14 on MLF NOW!beginning at 7:30 a.m. CT at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the MLF BIG5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.