COUNCE, Tenn. – Rookie Andrew Loberg of Rocklin, California caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 11 ounces to advance and lead the Top 10 anglers to the final day of competition at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Lithium Pros Stop 3 at Pickwick Lake Presented by Covercraft in Counce, Tennessee. Loberg’s three-day total of 52-8 gives him a 1-pound, 3-ounce margin over second-place pro and 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Angler of the Year (AOY) Ron Nelson of Berrien Springs, Michigan, who brought a five-bass limit weighing 16-10 on Day 3 for a three-day total of 51 pounds, 5 ounces.
Alabama pro Jon Canada of Helena moved from seventh place to third Saturday, with a limit weighing 17-8, for a three-day total of 50 pounds, 4 ounces, while pro Troy Stokes of Trenton, Michigan, leaped from 24th to settle into fourth place with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 49-14. Berkley pro John Cox of DeBary, Florida, slid down one spot to round out the top five with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 49-13, while pro Mitch Crane of Columbus, Mississippi made the biggest jump of the day, with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 49 pounds, 11 ounces to slide from 20th place into the Top 10 with a sixth-place finish.
The final 10 anglers are set and competition will resume on Championship Sunday, where weights are zeroed, and the angler that catches the heaviest five-fish limit will earn the top prize of up to $135,000.
The event, hosted by the Hardin County Convention and Visitors Bureau, marks the third regular-season event of the year for the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me.
“I didn’t really know what to expect after practice this week,” Loberg said. “There are so many changing conditions and springtime bass fishing is ever-changing. I just kind of stuck to my guns this week. I’ve been up in one area, making a long run every day and today got a little sketchy, but I figured it out and was able to catch five.”
Loberg said he caught his biggest fish, a 5-pounder, “right off the bat” within the first 10 minutes of fishing.
“It died down after that, but I had a little flurry a while later and caught three fairly quick, before losing a good one,” Loberg said. “I had four fish around noon and ran to a spot that was semi-close. I just planned to hit it for 20 minutes or so then head back, but I caught a 4-pounder and thought, ‘alright I’m done, that should be enough’.”
Although he didn’t catch another keeper in his spot all afternoon, Loberg said he’s hopeful that it will continue to perform on Championship Sunday.
“Tomorrow will be interesting,” Loberg said. “There are definitely fish around that area, but the water level keeps changing and I don’t know if they are spreading out and moving to the bank or what.
“Everybody’s been in that area, including the high school tournament anglers today, but Pickwick is notorious for handling a lot of pressure, so if we get the right conditions and the bait pushes back up in there, they could certainly feed again.”
Loberg led going into the final day at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Stop 2 at the Harris Chain of Lakes in March and finished the event in second place, but said he hopes to take it all the way to the No. 1 spot and the top prize of $135,000 on Championship Sunday.
“I plan to start in my main area and just play it by ear – if I can catch some fish, great – but I’m definitely prepared to make a change and try something different if needed,” Loberg said. “I don’t have anything else like that, but I do have another shallow pattern running a bunch of different stuff. I caught the 4-pounder on a stretch where I caught some fish in practice and that showed me that maybe some fish have moved up shallow. So, if the main area doesn’t pan out, I’m just going to start fresh and run some water where I think they could be.”
While he said he would feel more confident if his main area was still stirred up, he also said he knows things could change on a dime on the final day.
“If they were really firing today, they could have done the same thing tomorrow and just shut off, so I could have wasted the day there waiting for bites,” Loberg said.
“I’m just super fired up about how this whole week has gone,” he said. “Everything’s run very smooth, and I haven’t really had too many missed opportunities, so it’s been fun. Tomorrow I just plan to go out there, have a good time, get after them and hope for the best.”
The Top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition on Pickwick Lake are:
Finishing in 11th through 50th are:
For a full list of results visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 207 bass weighing 567 pounds, 12 ounces caught by 50 pros Saturday. The catch included 33 five-bass limits.
In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The Top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advanced to Saturday. Now, only the Top 10 pros, based on cumulative weight from the first three days, will continue competition on Championship Sunday, where weights will be zeroed, and anglers will compete in a one-day shootout for the grand prize of up to $135,000, including the lucrative $35,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus for qualified anglers.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2022 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE Presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where they will compete for up to $235,000. The 2022 TITLE will be on the St. Lawrence River in Massena, New York, on Aug. 16-21, and is hosted by the Town of Massena.
The final 10 anglers will launch at 6:30 a.m. CT Sunday from the Pickwick Landing State Park located at 120 Playground Loop in Counce. Sunday’s Championship weigh-in will also be held at the park at 2:30 p.m. Fans are encouraged to attend the event or follow the live on-the-water action all four days of competition online on MLF NOW! beginning at 7 a.m. CT at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Lithium Pros Stop 3 at Pickwick Lake Presented by Covercraft will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere in July on the CBS Sports Network.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Fuel Me, Gary Yamamoto Baits, General Tire, Lew’s, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.