Jones sacks 17-6 to seal another win on Eufaula - Major League Fishing

Jones sacks 17-6 to seal another win on Eufaula

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Oklahoma native Chris M. Jones celebrated his fifth MLF win with a horde of family and friends at Lake Eufaula. Photo by Jody White. Angler: Chris M Jones.
May 18, 2024 • Mitchell Forde • Toyota Series

EUFAULA, Okla. — An Oklahoma native with more success than just about anyone on the state’s largest lake, Chris M. Jones leaned on his Lake Eufaula experience to find the out-of-the-way area that produced all his keepers during the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats stop on the reservoir.

But it was keen observation and a clutch decision during the competition that ultimately allowed Jones to add a second Toyota Series trophy and another win on Eufaula to his collection.

Noticing that his biggest bites during the first two days had come on a BOOYAH Poppin’ Pad Crasher, Jones committed himself to throwing the frog Saturday morning. The decision paid off in the form of a 6-pound, 8-ounce kicker. The lunker anchored a 17-6 limit — the heaviest bag of the day and second-best all week — which vaulted him from second place after Days 1 and 2 to first. Jones’ three-day total of 46-7 topped Eli Brumnett by 2-11.

For the win, Jones earned $30,031 and a trip to the Toyota Series Championship on Wheeler Lake.

Long run, muddy water expertise pay off for Jones

Chris M. Jones used a BOOYAH Poppin’ Pad Crasher to catch several of his winning fish on Lake Eufaula, including a 6-8 kicker. Photo by Jody White

Minutes before catching the 6-8, Jones almost gave up on his frog bite. Dissecting flooded willow bushes on the south end of the lake, he had promised himself he would keep the Pad Crasher in his hands until at least 9 a.m.

At 8:57, he hadn’t yet gotten a bite. But he decided to hit one more stretch of bushes before changing tactics. His patience paid off with the biggest bass of the tournament.

“I was fixing to put (the frog) down, and I came around a point of willows and threw it underneath there and caught that big one,” Jones said. “And I knew I had a chance.”

After Day 1, Jones felt confident he was around the winning fish. Making a 33-mile run to the area where he also won a 2011 Phoenix Bass Fishing League event, Jones sacked up 17-0 on the opening day, which placed him in second.

A self-described member of the “muddy water mob,” he embraced the dirty water in that portion of the lake, which he believes is the reason he never saw another competitor. With falling water levels making the bite tough on Eufaula, having his fish to himself proved key.

“It was just past experience and knowing that area, and it set up right,” he said. “I really wanted to stay away from the (Bass Pro Tour) area, where they fished, and that was the clean areas. And I knew if I could get bit down there that I wouldn’t see another boat, and I didn’t see another boat for three days.”

Jones’ bite faltered a bit on Day 2. Enduring two long stretches without a bite, he weighed in just 12-1. He was able to fill out his limit flipping a junebug YUM Spine Craw and throwing a BOOYAH Mobster swim jig, but the quality he’d caught on Day 1 eluded him. That prompted him to dedicate himself to throwing the frog to start Day 3.

“I had several fish just come up and swipe at my swim jig, but whenever I’d get a frog bite, they’d inhale it,” he explained. “So, I was just committed to it. I knew if I could get around enough of them, that I could get the right bites on the frog.”

Jones caught the rest of his keepers Saturday flipping the Spine Craw. Added to his kicker, they proved enough to earn him a fifth MLF win with a throng of friends and family present to celebrate his coronation. His youngest son joined him on the stage at weigh-in, where he shouted out a litany of supporters in the audience. Having them on hand made this victory particularly sweet.

“It means the world to me,” Jones said. “You never know when the last one is going to be, so it’s kind of emotional.”

Moore holds on to win AOY by one point

AOY came down to the wire. Photo by Jody White.

Cole Moore entered the final day of the Southwestern Division season with a firm grasp on the top spot in the Fishing Clash Angler of the Year race. Only two anglers remained mathematically alive to unseat him, and he would assure himself the crown if he finished among the top 15 at Eufaula.

But, when Moore brought just one keeper for 3-4 to the scales and Levi Thibodaux weighed in a 15-2 limit, it looked for a moment like Thibodaux might have pulled off a dramatic comeback. Instead, Moore’s lone fish proved to be worth $5,000, as it made the difference in his one-point margin over Thibodaux in the points standings.

The AOY win marked a first for Moore, who fished all three Southwestern Division events for just the fourth season in his career this year. The 24-year-old finished fourth at the season-opener on Sam Rayburn and second at Toledo Bend before winding up 22nd on Eufaula.

Top 10 pros

  1. Chris M. Jones — 46-7 (15) — $30,031
  2. Eli Brumnet — 43-12 (15) — $12,637
  3. Jeff Lugar — 42-1 (15) — $9,009
  4. Zane Parker — 40-13 (15) — $7,508
  5. Ty Faber — 40-4 (15) — $7,257
  6. Phillip Lunceford — 39-14 (15) — $6,006
  7. Blake Schroeder — 39-1 (15) — $5,255
  8. Levi Thibodaux — 38-13 (15) — $4,505
  9. Lance Crawford — 34-15 (14) — $3,754
  10. Charley Slaton — 34-14 (15) — $3,003

Complete results