Graham goes the distance on Smith with 37-9 - Major League Fishing

Graham goes the distance on Smith with 37-9

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Chris Graham leaned on a shaky head for his win on the co-angler side. Photo by Cobi Pellerito. Angler: Chris Graham.
March 23, 2023 • Erik Gaffron • Toyota Series

CULLMAN, Ala. – Taking the lead on Day 2, Chris Graham became a Strike King co-angler Champion after scales closed in the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats Central Division event on Lewis Smith Lake. The Epworth, Georgia angler fished his way to a victory by utilizing a shaky head and swimbait, posting a Day limit of 13 pounds, 13 ounces for a 37-9 total.

“It feels good,” said Graham. “I’ve been trying several times through the years, and I’ve come up short every other time. But I finally did it, I got a win under my belt. It’s just now soaking in.”

Graham’s day started off quickly. He posted a limit within the first hour of Championship Thursday and continued to steadily work his way up to his winning bag.

“It went well this morning. We started throwing a shaky head around spotted bass that were spawning. Then [Jordan Wiggins] had a certain weight he felt he needed to go looking for big ones and he took me to some of his secret spots. He upgraded some and I upgraded my fish too.”

Late in the afternoon, Graham switched from his shaky head to a 6 ¾-inch swimbait in white that helped produce two key upgrades, one pushing 3 pounds and the other nearing the 5-pound mark.

“With what he was doing I didn’t want to make any surface noise because if I made a lot of racket it would mess it up,” he said. “So, I went under the water with a big swimbait and caught my two big fish.”

Graham was ecstatic with his performance, and he couldn’t have asked for a better final-day pairing.

“Jordan [Wiggins] was a blast to fish with,” he said. “The Wiggins are just nice people, you know? I mean Jesse was here cheering me on too. You really don’t meet many bad people fishing.”

Graham admitted on stage today that he recently sold his last boat, so he already has room for the Phoenix 518 Pro prize package his victory on Smith Lake has earned him.

Top 10 Strike King co-anglers

1. Chris Graham – 37 – 09 (15) $35,250

2. Drexal Hubbard – 36 – 05 (15) – $6,625

3. Pop Catalin – 34 – 13 (15) – $5,300

4. Doug Vaughn – 34 – 03 (15) – $4,150

5. Sakae Ushio – 28 – 09 (14) – $3,650

6. Hoyt Tidwell – 28 – 05 (15) – $3,150

7. Jose Salgado – 27 – 11 (14) – $2,650

8. Larry James – 27 – 07 (13) – $2,075

9. Justin Stephenson – 26 – 12 (12) – $1,630

10. Andrew Harper – 25 – 10 (12) – $1,390

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