DAYTON, Tenn. – You know the hardest part about weighing in a near 30-pound bag? Trying to back it up the next day.
Brody Campbell seemed to handle it just fine, though.
With more dreary conditions, the majority of the field struggled on the final day of the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats event on Lake Chickamauga. Considering the 26-year-old already had a 9-pound, 7-ounce lead going into today, the tough bite suited him just fine. Yet, he showed he wasn’t about to leave any doubt.
He brought in 17 pounds – the third-largest bag of the day – to not just protect his lead but expand it to nearly 12 pounds with 62-3 total, earning his fourth win with MLF. Though, this is by far his biggest to the tune of $52,300.
Yet, when talking biggest, it’s hard to not talk about what happened on Day 2, when he weighed in the biggest bag not only of the tournament, but of his young career.
“That was unbelievable,” Campbell said of his 29-7 bag on Day 2. “To catch three giants like that in a day … it was just right place right time. I’m sure glad it worked out how it did.”
Having limited knowledge of Chickamauga coming into this event, he admits he went down to the Chester Frost area and looked around on some of the biggest community holes. What he found were some key, isolated pieces of cover. Specifically, a couple of stumps on two humps in Chester Frost and an isolated grass patch on the end of an offshore bar near the mouth.
So, after starting each day fishing near takeoff for some keepers to “get his confidence up,” he’d then make the run down south to those community holes to try and upgrade. The first day’s 30 mph winds made it hard to fish them effectively, he said, but Day 2 was a different story.
“It got calm and you seen I did some damage,” Campbell said. “I caught both 7-pounders off those stumps using my forward-facing sonar, and that 9-pounder came off that grass patch.
“Other people were fishing those three spots because they’re so obvious, but you had to know those isolated sweet spots with small pods of fish on them. I’d just roll up there, and using forward-facing sonar, I was able to just make the right cast, especially once it got calm the last two days.”
In terms of offerings, Campbell wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. A Carolina rig with a Strike King Rage Bug caught plenty of keepers, as did a Neko rig, but his biggest player was a drop-shot with a morning dawn-colored Roboworm Straight Tail Worm.
Considering the level of talent always present at Lake Chickamauga events, it’s hard to imagine such an obvious, straightforward game plan would win the event. Yet, with how tough the conditions were this week – high winds the first day, rain the second and third, with transitioning fish and no current – keeping it simple was exactly what Campbell needed to do. That, and weigh in a megabag on Day 2.
“These guys are some of the best anglers in the country, with so many local hammers who know this lake better than anybody,” Campbell said. “So, to come out here and beat them guys is unbelievable. It truly feels amazing.”
1. Brody Campbell – 62 – 3 (15) – $52,300
2. Seth Davis – 50 – 8 (15) – $21,000 (includes $1,000 Phoenix Bonus)
3. Ethan Shaw – 45 – 11 (15) – $14,250
4. Donny Beck – 45 – 8 (15) – $12,250
5. Taylor Parker – 43 – 8 (15) – $11,450
6. Emil Wagner – 43 – 8 (15) – $9,125
7. Casey Martin – 42 – 9 (15) – $8,400
8. Jade Keeton – 42 – 2 (15) – $6,900
9. Jordan Wiggins – 40 – 13 (15 – $5,900
10. Greg Pugh – 40 – 7 (14) – $4,500