BOLIVAR, Mo. – The final day of the General Tire Team Series Costa Qualifier Presented by Toyota ended with Team Star brite — Skeet Reese, Jeremy Lawyer and Shaw Grigsby — earning a trip to the Team Series Bass Pro Shops Championship with their win on Stockton Lake.
Team Star brite caught 32 bass for 56 pounds, 9 ounces, pushing their two-day total to 104-3. They were able to clear second-place Team Builders FirstSource (Gerald Spohrer, Dakota Ebare and Jim Tutt) who tallied 83-1. Team Kubota (Edwin Evers, Justin Cooper and John Murray) finished in third with 75-14.
Captain Reese’s team led by just 2-9 entering Day 2 after a solid Day 1 on the east side of Stockton Lake. As Day 2 got underway, the team hashed out a plan to attack the west side of Stockon and the 12,220 surface acres it offered. Missouri native Lawyer is quite familiar with Stockton, and he had a mental checklist of some of the best places to hit.
“One of the key decisions we made as a team was due to Jeremy,” Reese said. “When we launched, Jeremy told us we should go down a creek instead of heading down the main river. He said there was tons of standing timber; it was idle and it didn’t get as much fishing pressure. He was completely correct.”
Lawyer led the way on Day 1 with his two-pronged attack of a spinnerbait and a bladed jig. But come Day 2, it was Reese and his ability to quickly decipher Stockton that got the team moving in the right direction.
“The water was shallow and dirty in that creek like I like it, and it didn’t take long before we all started catching fish,” Reese said. “I had a lot of success fishing that dirt-shallow water on Day 1, so I knew I wanted to keep doing that. Jeremy went as far back into the creek arm as you possibly could fishing laydowns and Shaw was focused on a couple of different pockets like me with a lipless crankbait.”
Reese was using a new prototype lipless crankbait that has yet to hit stores, but it passed the test. Reese brought in five bass for 8-11 in the first period while Lawyer added four for 7-9 and Grigsby had one for 3-2. They knew they had the fish to win at that point.
Although they continued racking up weight, they were sharing water with more than just their fellow competitors. This led to some difficult fishing in the afternoon, according to Reese.
“There was a lot of pressure on the lake that week,” Reese said. “Not just from our tournament, but there was also a local tournament with about 200 boats going on at the same time. I think a lot of the easy fish had already been caught throughout the week; so my success in particular came from fishing banks with absolutely nothing special about them. I just fished fast and covered water, that led to a solid tournament for us.”
Reese, Lawyer and Grigsby now advance to the General Tire Team Series Bass Pro Shops Championship in Florida where they will join the two other teams who earned a berth from the Costa Qualifier — Team Fox Rent a Car (Adrian Avena, Mark Daniels Jr. and Randy Howell) and Team B&W Trailer Hitches (Kevin VanDam, David Walker and Todd Faircloth). This concludes the Costa Qualifier on Stockton Lake, but there is still one more qualifying event to go.
You can catch Day 1 of Match 1 of the Builders FirstSource Qualifier Presented by Berkley at the following times on Outdoor Channel: March 25 (2-4 p.m. ET), March 26 (4-6 p.m. ET) and March 31 (9-11 a.m. ET)