GROVE, Okla. – Another day of brutal conditions hit Grand Lake as the Top 25 pros and Strike King co-anglers took off on Championship Saturday of the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats Plains Division event. As the scales closed it was Blake Capps on top, who busted 22 pounds 8 ounces on the final day to total 59-6 for the event.
“I think you can guess I’m feeling pretty good right now,” Capps said with a laugh. “I had full confidence going into today.”
It showed early on Day 3, as Capps got off to a hot start in the morning. The Muskogee, Oklahoma pro busted what he estimated to be roughly 18 pounds in the first two hours of the morning. He then got to work bouncing from spot to spot, hunting for upgrades.
“I culled one at about 11 that was a 2.75 for a 3.75,” he said, “I thought I had a little shot at it at that point. But it was the 5-pounder I caught in the last hour that made me think I really had a shot.”
The key 5-pounder came on a bank he hadn’t visited in over two years, but after co-angler champion Jason Sandidge caught keepers on back-to-back casts, Capps knew he had to double back through the area.
“Once he caught his fish then we turned around and went back up that bank,” he said. “There was a little brush pile in 8 feet of water and in it was my 5-pounder. All my fish this week came in 10 feet of water or less.”
The bank itself held a lot of the same characteristics as many of the areas Capps focused on this week. Capps primarily targeted banks and points with larger rock piles and brush piles holding limited, but larger-than-average fish he found in practice. He located his fish during practice on a bladed jig and a flat-sided squarebill. But, come gameday, the weather and blustery cold conditions told Capps to fall in line with the other umbrella rig slingers that dominated the field.
“I had that 19-11 on Day 1 and I was done fishing at 10:45 in my area. I didn’t want to burn anything knowing it was a three-day tournament. On Day 2 I had all my fish by 11 o’clock for the most part. I didn’t have a big fish on Day 2. I weighed a 3-pounder I really needed to get rid of.”
Capps, who blasted his way to a 7-pound victory, credits years of experience and solid equipment as major factors in getting him through a tough week at Grand. He says it made a huge difference for him as he and the field faced adverse conditions all week.
“I’m really fortunate to have proper tools to compete at this level,” he said. “My Phoenix was important for getting me to my fish and back to weigh-in in the crazy winds we had the last few days. I also used a Falcon Cara “Big Bait” rod for my A-rig, and that was key for throwing it all day.”
For the win, Capps takes home $87,000, which includes $35,000 in Phoenix Bonus money, along with the title of Toyota Series Champion.
1. Blake Capps – 59 – 06 (15) – $87,000 (includes $35,000 Phoenix Bonus)
2. Michael Harlin – 52 – 04 (15) – $20,000
3. Brad Jelinek – 51 – 11 (14) – $14,250
4. Chad Warren – 45 – 13 (12) – $12,250
5. Austin Culbertson – 43 – 09 (12) – $11,250
6. Cole Breeden – 43 – 04 (11) – $9,125
7. Billy Lemon – 42 – 15 (13) – $7,900
8. Mike McClelland – 42 – 13 (14) – $6,900
9. Kevin Miller – 42 – 05 (12) – $6,400
10. Preston Cook – 39 – 13 (13) – $4,500