FLW Live Leaderboard – click here
Day two leader story – click here
Nelson clinches AOY – click here
Tournament Details – click here
Super Tournament Details – click here
FLW Live Schedule – click here
2:15 p.m. – That’s it for us
We haven’t received a report of any kind in about 20 minutes, so we’re going to shut down the live blog and leaderboard for the day. Everyone is trekking back to Sandusky across a choppy, slow-going Lake Erie.
Thanks for sticking with us today. Be sure to tune in to the live weigh-in show at 4 p.m. ET to see which 10 pros make it to Championship Friday, only at flwfishing.com.
1:55 p.m. – FLW Live done for the day
With most of the field on pad and riding the waves on Lake Erie, FLW Live is shutting down for the day. We’ll continue to update the live leaderboard and live blog as necessary for the next half hour. The updates are few and far between at this point in the day. All anglers check in at 3:30 p.m. ET ahead of 4 p.m. weigh-in, which you can watch on flwfishing.com.
In the meantime, we’ll be keeping an eye on any reports coming in from pros who are looking to get a few more casts in before the final bell.
1:25 p.m. – Runnin’ and gunnin’
As expected, we’re reaching the point in the day where the majority of the field is already running back to Sandusky. “It’s getting rough out there,” according to our on-the-water reporters, and that might be an understatement based on the FLW Live feed. Scott Dobson and Spencer Shuffield did what they needed to do today after running north and catching solid limits close to 20 pounds. Shuffield has been running for a while and Dobson strapped up and left his spot at the mouth of the Detroit River not too long ago.
Today seems like the kind of day where 20 pounds is going to be the magic number. Our estimates have about eight pros in the high teens, and any one of those bags could be light. Still, whoever brings 20-plus pounds to the scale this afternoon is going to be in great shape.
Alton Jones Jr. is still sitting with four keepers in his livewell. No one could use one more keeper more than him. Jones is just under 7 pounds off the lead and about 5 pounds from being in third place.
12:40 p.m. – Afternoon updates
Day three is really shaping up to be a six-horse race. Once Alton Jones Jr. fills out his limit, all six at the top of the leaderboard will be within a few pounds of each other. That list is still headlined by Josh Bertrand, who has 18 1/2 pounds and a lead of just ounces over Spencer Shuffield.
Shuffield has already started his run back to Sandusky. He only spent a few hours in St. Clair to get his 19 1/2-pound limit. Shuffield already stopped for gas to ensure he has enough fuel to make the long return trip.
The wind continues to ramp up out on Erie. Our on-the-water reporters say it’s getting even more “sporty,” and considering how rough it was this morning, it’s going to be a torturous return trip for a lot of these pros.
We continue to keep a close eye on the cut line today. Six anglers are within 2 pounds (unofficially) of each other between ninth and 14th place.
11:59 a.m. – Rough water, rough day for Ebare
Dakota Ebare has had a great week, but his day today has been less than stellar. The second-year pro has four keepers for 8 pounds, but it’s a miracle when you consider he broke all his spinning rods on the run to his starting spot this morning. Ebare borrowed one from Barron Adams just to get things going. He also lost a giant on a spy bait.
Plenty of pros have had those kinds of issues this week (and today especially). Jon Canada, who weighed in the biggest bag of the week yesterday, started running up north and broke two graphs. He’s back down near takeoff now just to finish his day with his gear intact.
11:43 a.m. – Separation at the top
The wind is picking up, and so are the weights. St. Clair has some chop to it now and the return trip to Sandusky is going to take some pros a very long time. On the other hand, the stiff breeze is making these smallies chew. Spencer Shuffield and Jacob Wheeler are both up around the 20-pound mark and within ounces of Josh Bertrand’s lead.
The top four or five anglers have really separated from the rest of the pack today, but the bottom five spots in the top 10 are really up for grabs. Who fishes tomorrow will largely depend on how much time each of those pros near the cut line still have to fish. Less than 3 pounds separates fifth from 13th on our live leaderboard.
In that group, Alton Jones Jr. still only has three fish (9 3/4 pounds). He’s the most likely candidate to make a big jump into the top 5 if he can fill out his limit. David Dudley (14 1/2) and John Cox (18 1/2) are both close to the cut and culling pretty regularly.
11:26 a.m. – Big bags on a big lake
Already today we’ve seen four bags over 18 pounds, all belonging to the top four on the leaderboard. Josh Bertrand retook the lead with his limit fish, and Spencer Shuffield has culled again to jumpt to second. Since Jacob Wheeler went on his spurt earlier, things have cooled off a bit and he’s back down to third.
In fourth sits Scott Dobson, who’s up in the Detroit River. He has 18 1/2 pounds today and is just a couple pounds off the lead. Dobson is an iconic Norther angler who knows these lakes so well. Dobson has steadily been adding to his weight all week and really putting himself in position to be in the mix tomorrow.
Justin Lucas still has only four fish for 10 pounds. He’s about 7 pounds off the lead and needs to get his limit and start culling to be in position to have the lead going into tomorrow. Behind him, Grae Buck has 17 1/2 in seventh and John Cox is chipping his way to around the cut line with culls to get to 16 1/2.
10:41 a.m. – Wheeler lands a big, grabs lead
Jacob Wheeler, amidst jubilant shouting on FLW Live, landed a 5-pounder and then a 14-incher to fill out his limit. He then culled a bit and has 18 pounds now, unofficially, grabbing the lead in the process.
It’s hard to overstate how impressive a run Wheeler is having in these Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournaments. He won on Chickamauga, took second at the Mississippi River and is now leading on day three on Erie. That’s just stupid good. And about what you might expect from the No. 1-ranked bass angler on the planet.
Wheeler has talked a lot on FLW Live about rotations and how the wind is positioning the fish. He’s always so dialed in on the nuances, and it’s paying off today.
10:10 a.m. – More limits
We have weights for 26 of the remaining 50 pros and of those 26, five have limits, including Russ Lane. He already has 14 1/2 pounds to jump all the way into the top 5.
Josh Bertrand still has the lead and is sitting with just four in the box. His fifth, if and when he gets it, should put a little distance between him and Spencer Shuffield in second. Shuffield just culled with a 4-pounder. Justin Lucas (third) only has four as well, though, and Shuffield is culling.
Jacob Wheeler has three for 7 1/2 pounds so far today. He talked earlier about running his rotations in Erie and not making long runs today. We could see him add to his bag in quick spurts as the morning progresses.
9:45 a.m. – Shuffield making moves
Spencer Shuffield ran more than two hours to get to his area in St. Clair and admitted he wouldn’t have more than a few hours to fish it today. He also said catching his fish isn’t difficult if he can find them – and he’s found them. After catching a pair of 2 1/2-pounders, he added two more in short order that were between 3 and 4 pounds. We have him with four keepers for 12 pounds in second place, about 3 pounds behind Josh Bertrand.
Shuffield has an interesting story, which you can read about here. After taking some time off from the professional level, he worked his way back this season with the confidence of knowing he could compete with the best of the best. He’s more than proved that this year and he’s showing it on FLW Live today.
9:40 a.m. – Bertrand adds his fourth
Josh Bertrand is right where he wants to be after struggling so much of the morning on day two. He’s got four in the box for 14 pounds already. A limit fish is going to put him into the upper-teens and well ahead of the rest of the field for a while. Justin Lucas, currently in second, still only has two keepers in his livewell.
We already have reports of fish catches for 19 of the remaining 50 pros, and 14 of them have multiple keepers. Despite – or maybe thanks to – the conditions, the smallies are chewing this morning.
9:30 a.m. – First limit belongs to Dudley
Our first reported limit of the day belongs to David Dudley, who has been extremely secretive about where he’s fishing this week. We really don’t have a great idea of what he’s doing, but it probably involves some largemouth. We know he didn’t run very far from takeoff. Dudley has about 10 pounds right now.
No one else has more than three keepers yet, but we’re seeing the quality again today, as evidenced by Josh Bertrand’s 11 pounds for three fish. And, again, most of these pros haven’t had a ton of time to fish yet.
Take Spencer Shuffield, for instance, who made his first cast two hours and 10 minutes after takeoff. It took him that long to get to his fish in St. Clair, but he’s taking advantage of it. He’s already boated a 2 1/2-pounder and another one about the same size.
8:45 a.m. – A day of adjustments
Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. So far, the weather has been playing nice and staying in its corner, but it doesn't take long for the wind to pick up and stir up massive waves out on Erie and St. Clair. For pros who didn't stick close to Sandusky, fishing time today is even more valuable than it's been all week. By early afternoon, running back could take literally the rest of the afternoon.
Still, plenty of pros did make the run, and they're starting to arrive at their starting spots in St. Clair – two hours after the start of takeoff. You can almost double that this afternoon if the wind picks up and the waves get nastier.
For the pros who stuck further south, Jeremy Lawyer has a 3 1/2-pounder in the box already and Justin Lucas has a 3-pounder of his own. Jacob Wheeler has a couple smaller ones that will go less than 5 pounds total, while Boyd Duckett has a couple nice ones (6 3/4 total) and Joseph Webster has two for 7 pounds.
Now that the field is starting to arrive in St. Clair, expect a lot more fish catch updates in short order. The wind might be bad for running but it seems to be pretty good for fishing.
8:05 a.m. – First catches of the day, Bertrand crushing
The waves are rolling out on Erie, but with a field of just 50 pros and Sandusky Bay being pretty calm at takeoff, anglers were allowed to use all the tournament waters to their advantage today. As such, we’re a little slow to get the first updates of the day. Many of the top 50 are still on their way to St. Clair.
Justin Lucas didn’t go far, though, and he has a nice 3 1/4-pounder to show for it. He’s fishing incredibly close to the Canadian border.
As they’ve been doing a lot this week, Grae Buck and Boyd Duckett are fishing pretty close to one another. Buck has a 2 1/2-pounder. Duckett is still searching.
Elsewhere, Mitch Crane is one of two anglers we can report more than one keeper for. He has two small ones that will go about 3 pounds total. It's Josh Bertrand who's off to the hottest start, though. He has three keepers for 11 pounds, which has to be exciting for the MLF pro after struggling much of the day yesterday.
FLW Live is now on the air at flwfishing.com. Be sure to tune in and also follow along with the live blog and leaderboard until just before weigh-in this afternoon.
7:00 a.m. ET – It's moving day on Erie
Despite forecasts calling for high winds, Sandusky Bay is flat calm at the moment, so anglers are free to roam out of the bay and into the rest of Lake Erie (on the American side) for day three of the final Tackle Warehousr Pro Circuit Super Tournament of the seson.
Yesterday, Ron Nelson punched his ticket for Angler of the Year, and with the pressure off today, he can really swing for the fences. We haven't really seen the Northern smallie hammer weigh in a giant bag yet, but he's more than capable of that. Don't be surprised to see him weigh in his biggest bag of the event today to make a push for another top-10 finish.
Justin Lucas, who has proved he's also one of the best smallmouth sticks on the planet, is looking to build on his very slim lead. It's going to be an interesting day.
For coverage of all the action today, stick right here to the live coverage blog and leaderboard, and be sure to tune in to FLW Live starting at 8 a.m. ET and running through 2 p.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 65 degrees
Forecast high: 82 degrees
Sky: Sunshine with some mixed cloud cover
Precipitation: 10 percent chance of rain
Wind: NE 10 to 20 mph
Hosted by the City of Sandusky
Takeoff: 7 a.m. ET at Shelby Street Public Boat Launch, 101 Shelby Street, Sandusky, Ohio
Weigh-in Days 3 & 4: 4 p.m. ET at Paper District Marina, 611 W Shoreline Drive, Sandusky, Ohio
FLW Live studio and on-the-water show: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. ET all four days
FLW Live weigh-in show: 4 p.m. ET to end of weigh-in