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1:35 p.m. – Putting the blog to bed
We’re going to put the wraps on the blog for today. Weigh-in starts at 2:30 p.m. ET, and there’s a lot on the line. Though Malone has a solid lead now, there are so many others without limits that just a handful of bites distributed the right way could swing things. So, if you want to know who is going to win $200,000, you’re going to have to wait for weigh-in to be over.
1:30 p.m. – Lineback checks in
Cameron Lineback has checked in with three keepers now for a bit more than 5 pounds. Nothing spectacular, but he started very much in the hunt and he’s now just two fish away from putting himself back in the running.
1:10 p.m. – Boggs adds a limit
The final day has been tough, but we’ve now got our second limit of the day tracked down. With five for about 11 pounds, Drew Boggs is setting himself up to make some extra money at weigh-in.
12:43 p.m. – Olliverson adds a 3-pounder
Eric Olliverson has added another 3-pounder to his tally, so he’s now got about 10 pounds with just three fish. He still needs some more weight, but with the quality he’s got he could be setting himself up for some last-cast heroics if things come together.
12:10 p.m. – Malone upgrades slightly
Chris Malone just put added to his total with a small keeper smallmouth. It wasn’t a giant, but he’s now definitely got more than 12 pounds. Time is starting to wind down for the others in the hunt
Also, Kurt Mitchell has two nice smallmouths.
12:00 p.m. – Caruso is on the board
Michael Caruso says his bites have been coming in flurries, and he just ran into a flurry. He’s now on the board with two for more than 5 pounds and is moving up the leaderboard in a big way on a super tough day.
11:50 a.m. – Legitimately nothing is happening
We have a few total mysteries, but mostly nothing is happening today. Andrew Loberg and Michael Caruso are legit zeroes, at least as of a little bit ago, and Dakota Ebare is still sitting on just two, with Cameron Lineback on just one.
Ebare has moved around a bit and mixed in a crankbait some, but by and large, he’s been going dead ahead with the c-rig and not caching much today.
On the weather side of things, it’s warming slightly, finally. But, it is also beginning to cloud up a bit in some parts of the lake.
11:15 a.m. – The good stuff
Dakota Ebsare says he’s going to “the good stuff” now. Hopefully, it is good, because he’s got a bit of a deficit to make up now.
A man who is extremely on the good stuff is co-angler Matt Greene. Fishing behind Chris Malone, Greene just caught a smallmouth so big he started crying.
10:25 a.m. – Malone limits
Chris Malone is Ryan Davidson’s team partner and absolutely one to watch today. As of now, he’s backing up the hype, having just checked in with a 12-pound limit. Catching at least some of them pitching a tail spinner near the bank (!!!!), Malone says he doesn’t have the right size yet, but his best is a 3-pounder and he’s opened a big lead over the rest of the crew early in the day.
10:14 a.m. – Ebare pulls ahead, Olliverson goes big
Dakota Ebare has now landed his second smallmouth of the day. He’s got about 4.5 pounds in the ‘well now and is starting to look pretty good in theory.
Perhaps in position to make the big move of the day, and maybe win the dang thing if the cards fall right, Eric Olliverson has a magnum kicker. Though he only has two, one of his fish is a 5+ largemouth. Currently, he’s throwing a spinnerbait and says this is the earliest he’s been bit all week.
Way back in 2014, Olliverson introduced himself to the fishing world “scrubbing” for smallmouths on Beaver Lake in a Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event. In 2019, he got a Toyota Series win on Table Rock. The point is, though you may not know his name, he’s got the chops on highland fisheries and it’d be no surprise to see him finish strong.
9:30 a.m. – Lineback, Palmer
Trent Palmer has added a fish to the tally today – it’s not big, but so far the fishing seems pretty slow.
Meanwhile, Cameron Lineback has been cranking bank all morning on the sunny side of a creek with no results.
9:00 a.m. – Ebare is on the board
Fishing down the lake across from Beaver and Otter, Dakota Ebare just put a keeper smallmouth in the boat. He’s been fishing points with a Carolina rig all morning, and it just paid off.
8:40 a.m. – Eubanks update
Fishing in the back of Faubush Creek, Hunter Eubanks has no fish so far and is throwing a crankbait. Though the main lake is pretty clear, many of the creeks are fogged up, and Eubanks says he had to start fishing earlier than he planned to because he couldn’t see where he was going.
8:27 a.m. – Boggs starts up the river
Going up from takeoff to start, Drew Boggs has started the day off well with a 3+ smallmouth on a crankbait. He’s more than 5 pounds off the lead, so he’ll likely need at least four more like it to make a run at a W.
8:10 a.m. – Malone strikes first
Getting on the board first, Chris Malone has started with a pair of small keepers. Malone and Drew Boggs are the two locals in the top 10, so they should be in a good position to adapt today. So far, it looks like Malone’s first stop was a success.
7:50 a.m. – Run time
A good portion of the top 10 are running down the lake a fair ways, past Conley Bottom and to Greasy or points below that. On Cumberland, that takes a little doing. It might not look it on a map, but Cumberland is gigantic, and to get to the true lower end of the lake you need some serious time behind the wheel.
7:30 a.m. – $200,000 is on the line on Cumberland
To this point, the anglers who have made it to the final day of the Toyota Series Championship on Lake Cumberland have overcome a lot. In practice, it snowed multiple times. Day two of the event itself featured nearly constant rain and bitter conditions. Today is set to be cold and clear and should be comfortable enough for anglers who are dressed right.
With the 10 best from a field of over 200 making it to the final day, the competition is sure to be good. Dakota Ebare leads with 30 pounds, 13 ounces. Behind him, Cameron Lineback and local Chris Malone are the closest to contention, with a bit of a gap between Malone in third and Andrew Loberg in fourth.
The fishing this week has been largely bank-oriented – the tradition-busting LiveScope derby that some anticipated hasn’t materialized at all. Ebare has been running points with a Carolina-rig, but a lot of the others have employed the classic crankbait and jig approaches.
The winner on the pro side today will take home a princely prize. First place is $200,000, plus $35,000 if the winner runs a Phoenix and another $10,000 for being the highest-finisher from their division. Ebare is in the driver's seat at the moment, but big bags for comebacks are out there, and the fishing has been far from consistent this week.
Top 10 pros
1. Dakota Ebare – Denham Springs, La. – 30 – 13 (10)
2. Cameron Lineback – Mount Airy, N.C. – 29 – 9 (10)
3. Chris Malone – Ironton, Ohio – 28 – 11 (10)
4. Andrew Loberg – Rocklin, Calif. – 26 – 1 (10)
5. Michael Caruso – Peoria, Ariz. – 26 – 0 (10)
6. Eric Olliverson – Lampe, Mo. – 25 – 15 (10)
7. Drew Boggs – Lebanon, Tenn. – 25 – 11 (10)
8. Hunter Eubanks – Inman, S.C. – 24 – 14 (10)
9. Trent Palmer – Cumming, Ga. – 24 – 10 (10)
10. Kurt Mitchell – Milford, Del. – 24 – 8 (10)