Strike King co-angler Shelby earns first career win on Sam Rayburn - Major League Fishing

Strike King co-angler Shelby earns first career win on Sam Rayburn

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Chance Shelby was tops among Strike King co-anglers at Rayburn. Photo by Kory Savage. Angler: Chance Shelby.
May 20, 2023 • Mason Prince • Toyota Series

BROOKELAND, Texas – Chance Shelby was able to jump up from eighth place to first on the final day and win on the Strike King co-angler side of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. The Louisiana co-angler caught a limit all three days, totaling 31 pounds, 9 ounces, giving him a 7-ounce win over second-place Morgan White.

It’s the first win for the 20-year-old in his young career as he earns a brand-new Phoenix 518 Pro powered by a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard.

Chance Shelby got to fish shallow all week, which was right up his alley.

Flipping his way to a win

Shelby is from southeast Louisiana, so the kid loves to flip cypress trees. Luckily for him, all of his boaters felt the same. He was able to do what felt comfortable to him all week long and avoided going out deep.

Shelby was paired with Brett Preuett on Day 3, who finished in third place on the boater side. The two took the journey up the lake near the Angelina River, south of the Highway 103 bridge. There, they found multiple productive trees, brush piles and bushes where they both quickly filled a limit in the later morning hours.

“I would see where Brett would be flipping, so I wouldn’t follow him up,” Shelby said. “I would focus on flipping the things he hadn’t flipped into yet. I used a Zoom Z-Craw in June bug on a ¼-ounce weight, I think that color helped me get some bites as well.”

Shelby had his limit, but wasn’t confident that he had enough to work his way up all the way from eighth place, especially with the missed opportunities he says he squandered.

“I didn’t fish clean today, to be honest,” Shelby admitted. “Brett was just telling me to calm down, take my time, don’t set the hook as hard and let them eat it a little longer because it was cloudy. That advice helped me, for sure.”

Weigh-in was a tense affair for Chance Shelby.

After weighing in an 11-7 bag, Shelby was able to hold off a surging Morgan White for the first win of his young career. Not even old enough for a celebratory beer, Shelby was all smiles as he walked off the stage.

“I’m shaking and happy,” Shelby said with trophy and check in hand. “I’m still nervous, but the feeling is amazing. I never felt like I had a chance to win this because I lost a big one at the end of the day. To end up getting it done is so unexpected. It just shows to never give up.”

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