Live leaderboard – click here
Tournament Preview – click here
Tournament Details – click here
Day 2 Recap – click here
2:27 p.m. – Final update
That’s going to do it for our live blog and leaderboard updates for the day. Weigh-in starts at 4 p.m. CT and can be streamed live on FLWfishing.com.
As it stands right now, John Cox is still in the lead by a couple pounds over Darold Gleason and Tommy Dickerson. Cox is fishing close to takeoff in the hopes of landing some kicker fish before it’s time to check in. He’s done just that on more than one occasion this week, so it’s fair to believe Cox may come back to weigh-in with more than he has right now.
Provided Corey Neece doesn’t go on a flurry in the next hour or so and no one else in the field hauls in a Rayburn giant, it looks like this tournament is going to come down to Cox, Dickerson and Gleason. Seasoned vets vs. Pro Circuit rookie.
To watch all the drama unfold, be sure to tune in to our live coverage of weigh-in, and thanks as always for following along.
2:00 p.m. – Shutting down FLW Live
FLW Live is now offline and we’re in a holding pattern until weigh-in begins. Anglers still have almost two hours to go, though, and a lot can happen on Sam Rayburn in that amount of time.
A lot is going to have to happen for Corey Neece, who still has only a couple fish. If he can fill out a limit before heading back to the ramp, he’s still got a shot at this thing.
For Darold Gleason, the same is true, though not to the same extent. We have him back just a couple pounds right now. He needs to upgrade, but he’s fishing for one kicker and one kicker only. He needs a Rayburn tank, or as he calls them, “ocean ponies.”
Meanwhile, John Cox is right where he wants to be on day four. He’d surely like a couple more pounds for a cushion over Gleason, but he has the lead, unofficially, and is target-fishing in shallow water. That’s home for Cox, and he’s doing everything he can to make sure it’s the winning strategy.
It’s been a tough day of fishing on Big Sam. This whole week, in fact, has been extremely difficult thanks to quickly changing conditions. The pros who adjusted best to those conditions are fishing today, and they’re all capable of making one more big adjustment to close out the day.
1:25 p.m. – Neece adds a second
Corey Neece finally has a second fish in the box. He still needs to find a few more good ones, but he’s got a chance. There’s still a couple hours left to fish and he’s confident in the area he’s fishing.
No chance to speak of for John Cox or Darold Gleason. If neither upgrades again and Neece fills out a limit, things could get a lot more interesting.
Scott Dobson and Tommy Dickerson have solid limits, but neither has been able to upgrade recently. Dobson currently has the estimated biggest bag of the day with 13 1/2 pounds.
12:34 p.m. – Cox upgrading
John Cox continues to upgrade a little bit at a time. He’s doing what he does best – target-fishing up shallow. It’s what allowed Cox to fill out a decent limit yesterday, and it might be what earns him the victory today. Cox has such a good feel for where fish should be. Rayburn is setting up so well for him this afternoon, and he’s got about 11 pounds thus far.
Darold Gleason is still moving around looking for upgrades. With Cox continuing to upgrade, Gleason needs to find some serious quality, but that’s entirely possible on Rayburn.
Kerry Milner has finally filled out his limit, but it’s a small one. We’re still waiting to hear from Corey Neece, though it sounds like he’s still just struggling to get on the fish that sustained him these last three days. He’s moved up shallow, which is what provided 20-plus pounds on day one.
Otherwise, things have stayed pretty much the same across the rest of the remaining field. The bite has certainly slowed down today relative to the rest of the tournament, and we haven’t seen any big kickers yet. Anglers only have a few more hours to find them.
11:51 a.m. – Cox has a limit and a slim lead
John Cox has a small limit. He’s still running around in search of some big bites. As of right now, Cox is still in the unofficial lead, but Darold Gleason hasn’t stopped catching a bunch of small fish. If there’s a big one mixed in that school somewhere, he’s got a shot at overtaking the three-day leader.
Kerry Milner has his second fish in the box – another small one that gives him about 2 1/2 pounds. Jon Canada also has two in the livewell, though his are a little bigger. They’ll go about 4 1/2 total.
Scott Dobson continues to do work. He’s got 13 1/2 pounds right now and keeps ugrading. He’s clearly on some good fish and is one big one away from making a huge move.
Corey Neece has one for 2 pounds. He’s gone over 20 pounds twice in three days prior to today, but his fish seem to have moved and the morning bite wasn’t what it has been for him. He’s in scramble mode to fill out his limit right now.
11:07 a.m. – Gleason still catching them
Ron Nelson, currently in fourth place, decided to pick up a lipless crankbait to target his mega-school. He says he just has a feeling about it. We’ll see if it pays off.
Darold Gleason continues to boat a bunch of small keepers. His limit isn’t big and he wants to get into double digits before making a move, but catching fish is catching fish. Today, that seems to be the biggest piece of the puzzle.
Scott Dobson is having himself a nice day so far. He has just over 11 pounds after a couple culls. He’s quietly had a tremendous week after not fishing the Pro Circuit last season. The northern smallie hammer is showing what he can do on Big Sam this week.
The anglers at the bottom of the top 10 leaderboard are still struggling. Sam George is without a keeper, Alex Davis and Kerry Milner have just one apiece and Corey Neece is still looking for his first. With the changing conditions, those guys are going to have to continue to adapt to find some quality and quantity.
10:25 a.m. – Nelson finally gets some quality
Ron Nelson’s mega-school is finally paying off. After hammering on 2-pound class fish the last couple days, he just hauled in a 4 1/2 that will help immensely on a day like today. He’s been catching big numbers out of that school. If the quality starts to follow, he might just have a chance to make a charge at the top.
Tommy Dickerson continue to upgrade. He has close to 13 pounds after a couple culls. Right now, he’s just off the lead held by John Cox.
Speaking of Cox, he’s now got three in the box. None are huge, but he does have one in the 3-pound range that’ll help a lot. He’s actually doing some frogging right now, which should come as no surprise to anyone. With the water warming up and fish potentially moving up closer to the bank, Cox is going to use that frog to find them.
Darold Gleason also has his third fish in the livewell. He needs more size, but Gleason has a great attitude about scrambling around today and he’s happy with whatever he can get.
9:36 a.m. – Dickerson has a limit
Tommy Dickerson has filled out his limit with a jig in some stained water no one else seems to be fishing this week. He has about 11 pounds from that limit.
John Cox has landed his second fish – a keeper in the 3-pound range. That puts him somewhere between 4 and 5 pounds for the day.
The bite might be picking up a bit, but it’s more likely these top 10 pros are just starting to figure out some things. The field has been doing a lot of running around so far this morning. As much as we’d like to see these pros hammering on giants, it’s definitely interesting watching so many anglers making big decisions in high-pressure situations like this.
9:17 a.m. – Gleason, Cox with first keepers
Darold Gleason is finally on the board. After tossing around a spoon and feeling a bite, he followed it up with a drop-shot and landed a 2 1/2-pounder. That’ll calm the nerves a bit.
John Cox is on the board as well, though his will only go about a pound. He’s scrambling again, but Cox is one of the best in the world at “just fishing.” He knows that’s probably his best chance at a decent bag today.
Ron Nelson has a small limit. He’s still working the same giant school he was on yesterday, though he’s expanding his area a bit. Nelson knows he can upgrade by small margins each cast at that spot. What he needs is for that school to have some big ones mixed in.
Elsewhere, Alex Davis landed his first keeper that’ll go about 1 3/4 pounds.
8:59 a.m. – Still slow going
The change in conditions seems to have fish scattered all over the place and not where they’ve been the last few days. It’s been a slow start to Championship Sunday.
Sam George has been flipping a jig up shallow and has missed several bites so far. He says the same thing happened yesterday, though, and he ended up getting a dozen to choke that same jig, so he’s not too discouraged.
Corey Neece’s starting spot had several local anglers on it this morning. They’ve moved out and he’s hoping the fish will do the opposite and move back to him. Unfortunately, he’s still only caught one short to this point. He’s dragging a Carolina rig.
Darold Gleason has made a couple moves but still no luck for him. He’s swinging today. Instead of staying on his unproductive starting spot, he’s targeting deeper ditches with crankbaits. It’s a similar pattern to what he’s been running all week – just at different depths.
Scott Dobson has three fish in the box and Tommy Dickerson has four now. Otherwise, it’s slow across the board.
8:33 a.m. – Dickerson with three
Tommy Dickerson is off to the best start of the day so far. He’s in Bear Creek and has already put three keepers in the box for about 7 pounds. It’s an unusual spot compared to what everyone else has been fishing this week, but it’s working for Dickerson.
Ron Nelson has his second fish in the box. It’s a small one, but Nelson caught a ton of those yesterday. His game plan was simply to stick with his mega-school and keep upgrading ounce by ounce in hopes of getting a big bite in the process.
8:23 a.m. – Gleason already making a move
Darold Gleason has already abandoned his starting spot. His fish simply aren’t there anymore, and he said on FLW Live that he thinks the overcast conditions have fish scattered this morning. His willingness to make a move so early is telling, though. The rookie starting the day in third place isn’t about to die a slow death clinging to the spot that got him to Championship Sunday. He’s swinging.
Corey Neece is dragging a Carolina rig on his best spot, but so far, he’s only hooked into a short fish. He’s going to stick with it and see what happens.
8:16 a.m. – First few catches to report
It’s been a pretty slow start to the morning so far. Between weather conditions and Sam Rayburn being such a huge fishery, most of the top 10 needed a little time to get to and settle in to their starting spots.
Tommy Dickerson, Scott Dobson, Ron Nelson and Kerry Milner all have their first keeper in the box, though none are of any real size. Dickerson’s one keeper is the largest at about 2 pounds.
On FLW Live, you can watch John Cox back on his best spot. He’s winding a crankbait that’s slightly deeper diving than the one he’s been using. He’s out a little further than on the previous three days, as well, just hoping to find the fish that left him yesterday. Cox spent most of day three scrambling and junk-fishing, so he’s hoping that won’t have to be the case again today.
7:30 a.m. – Championship Sunday is underway
John Cox was coasting through days one and two of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit opener on Sam Rayburn. It wasn’t luck, but Cox simply had a spot that was doing a lot of the work for him. One cast, repeat, repeat again. That spot failed him on day three, and he scrambled just to scrounge up enough weight to retain the lead going into Championship Sunday.
Now, Corey Neece and Darold Gleason are hot on his trail after both having put together spectacular performances yesterday. Either one could challenge Cox with ease today if their patterns and spots hold steady.
That’s not to say this is a three-horse race, though. Even though Cox, Neece and Gleason are several pounds ahead of the rest of the top 10, Sam Rayburn is known for producing giant fish and giant stringers. Any pro in the top 10 can get a little lucky and crack a mega-bag with the right fish. All it takes is five good casts and five good hooksets.
It’s all going to come down to decisions today. Who makes the right move at the right time? Who picks up the right bait for the conditions? Who lets the pressure get to them and who keeps a steady hand?
We’ll find out in the next several hours, and you can find out with us if you tune in to FLW Live from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. CT. Be sure to keep an eye on FLW Live and the live leaderboard as we keep you up to date with all the action.
Temperature at takeoff: 52 degrees
Forecast high: 63 degrees
Sky: Light rain this morning, overcast with storms possible
Precipitation: 60 percent chance of rain
Wind: ESE 4 MPH
Hosted by Jasper County Development District
Takeoff: 7:30 a.m. CT at Umphrey Family Pavilion, 5438 RR 255, Brookeland, Texas
Weigh-in: 4 p.m. CT at Umphrey Family Pavilion
FLW Live: 8 a.m. CT to 2 p.m. CT, 4 p.m. to end of weigh-in