UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Norman

Tackle Warehouse TITLE Day 3 Coverage

Tackle Warehouse TITLE Day 3 Coverage
Joshua Weaver

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Cox Crushes Day 2

 

Grae Buck

4:00 p.m. – Ballgame for Group A

Lines are out. We have our 10 anglers from Group A who will be fishing on Friday.

1. Kurt Mitchell

2. Evan Barnes

3. Casey Scanlon

4. Grae Buck

5. Greg Bohannan

6. Matt Stefan

7. Rusty Salewske

8. Josh Weaver

9. Jon Canada

10. Ron Nelson

The top six didn’t change much today, but those bottom four spots were musical chairs of stellar anglers gunning for $200,000. In the end, Salewske, Weaver, Canada and Nelson outlasted the likes of Troy Morrow, Barron Adams, Tyler Stewart and Scott Dobson, all of whom did their best to put something together at the end of the day to move above the cut line. It just wasn’t quite enough.

These 10 pros will be off tomorrow and fish in the Knockout Round Friday, alongside the top 10 from Group B (fishing tomorrow). Congratulations to all who made it to the next round and the 15 pros who didn’t make the cut today. It’s been one heck of a season for all of them.

Thanks for sticking with us today. Be sure to follow along again tomorrow for complete coverage of Group B’s second day on the water, and check back later on both flwfishing.com and MajorLeagueFishing.com for stories of all today's action. 

 

3:35 p.m. – Down to the wire

Twenty-five minutes remain in Group A Qualifying Round action. At 4 p.m. CT, we’ll know which 10 anglers will be moving on to the Knockout Round on Friday for a chance to win the $200,000 top prize as the first ever Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota champion.

Kurt Mitchell has called it a day early. He hasn’t had to do much today except practice for Friday after eclipsing the century mark Monday. Evan Barnes, Casey Scanlon, Grae Buck and Greg Bohannan are pretty safe as well.

Oddly enough, the same can probably now be said for Rusty Salewske, who has zero fish after one period and is now more than 12 pounds ahead of 11th place and sitting comfortably in seventh.

Eighth, ninth and 10th are the hot seats right now. Josh Weaver, Jon Canada and Ron Nelson have all had great afternoons and have a little cushion over Tyler Stewart and the rest of the below-the-cut-line crowd. We’ll see what happens in the final 25 minutes.

 

Ron Nelson

3:00 p.m. – One hour left

One crucial hour remains for Group A in the final of two Qualifying Round in this Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota. It’s hard to get a full grasp on all the action without seeing it unfold live, so be sure to head over the MajorLeagueFishing.com to the live show for every catch.

Right now, Ron Nelson and Barron Adams split the cut line, with Nelson being in. The advantage there is just ounces, though, and Troy Morrow, Tyler Stweart and Scott Dobson are right in the thick of things. More like than not, who fishes and Friday and who doesn’t is going to come down to the waning seconds of the day. 

Adams, Jon Canada and Rusty Salewske have not been messing around. All three have been featured heavily in our fish catch feed, and all three have landed a scorable bass in the last five or so minutes.

Stay tuned. This is going to be a wild ride.

 

Ron Nelson

2:19 p.m. – Madness near the cut line

In a span of minutes, Ron Nelson landed a 3-2 to jump back into  the top 10. At the same time, Jon Canada was catching a 4-1 and a 3-11 just one minute apart. Rusty Salewske, who was the last angler in Group A to catch a fish today, has surged all the way into 13th with 28-11 today. He’s just 2-6 behind Ron Nelson, who’s now in 10th.

That afternoon bite we got accustomed to seeing the last two days is picking up again today. The rest of Period 3 should provide enough movement on SCORETRACKER to give us whiplash.
 

Ron Nelson

2:01 p.m. – Nelson's move: will it pay off?

Ron Nelson just sat down after a 45-minute spot change to start the final period. The 2020 Pro Circuit Angler of the Year has been fishless since 11 a.m., and as he just confirmed on the live stream, he's in need of "some hungry bass that want to play". Nelson is one keeper bite below the final spot in the Knockout Round.

 

1:38 p.m. – Now the pressure is REALLY real

All week long we've chattered about the pressure of SCORETRACKER and the number 10 spot in this Group A qualifying round. Scott Dobson, Tyler Stewart, Barron Adams, Troy Morrow and Ron Nelson are about to experience the most stressful 2 1/2 hours of their careers. Adams currently holds that final 10th-place spot with narrow 11-ounce lead over Morrow and a 1-7 cushion over Nelson. Stewart and Dobson entered the final period in eigth and ninth places, but are only a 3-pound smallmouth ahead of that dreaded "Elimination Line". It'll be interesting to see how that pressure plays out. 

 

Scott Dobson

12:46 p.m. – Here comes Dobson

It just feels like Scott Dobson is a sleeping giant in this field. After a mediocre day one and a slow start to his day today, the Northern smallie aficionado went back-to-back on a couple scorable bass at a new spot and is now in 12th, 5-1 out of 10th place. Let’s see if he can ride a little momentum to close out this period.
 

Rusty Saleske

12:41 p.m. – Salewske on the board, Adams making moves

After going all of Period 1 and much of this period without a scorable bass, Rusty Salewske has tacked on three keepers for 9 pounds, 10 ounces and jumped from 20th to 16th place. He still has a ways to go (about 18 pounds under the cut line), but it seems he’s making something happen this afternoon. Salewske has about half the weight he had in total on day one.

Barron Adams has now moved ahead of Scott Ashmore as the bubble boy. He’s a mere 2 ½ pounds behind Ron Nelson after adding a 2-4 and 3-10 in the last 20 minutes. He’s sitting with 23-14 on the day, good for the second-most weight caught so far today
 

Jeremy Lawyer

12:14 p.m. – Where have all the 4-pounders gone?

For whatever reason, we’ve seen one 4-plus-pounder in the last hour and 20 minutes, which Jim Moynagh caught about 15 minutes ago. That’s a bit unusual considering that, even though the numbers have been down across the board this week, the quality has really made up for it. The big girls aren’t chewing right now, and that’s a problem for the pros looking to make moves above the cut line right now.

Still, the conditions are changing quickly today, from the wind dying down and changing directions to the sun doing its best to poke through the clouds. And the middle of Period 2 tends to be the least productive anyway. Expect to see a little flurry as we get closer to Period 3 and into the afternoon.

 

11:53 a.m. – Stewart adds some breathing room

Tyler Stewart continues creating separation from the cut line. In the last 20 minutes he’s tacked on 9 pounds and moved up to eighth place, almost 10 pounds above Scott Ashmore in 11th. Stewart is definitely on some good fish right now, and while none were giants, every scorable bass helps when you’re flirting with the cut line. Ron Nelson is still staring down at that cut line, but he does have a little over 8 pounds on Ashmore. 

Two anglers who have done very little today are Kurt Mitchell and Grae Buck, but Mitchell is just practicing for Friday and Buck is in a similar situation. He’s not at much risk to slip below 10th, and you have to believe Buck could tack on a couple scorable if he really felt like he needed to. He’s still 27 pounds above Ashmore on SCORETRACKER
 

 

Scott Ashmore

11:39 a.m. – Numbers game

The smallmouth in Sturgeon Bay are nomadic in nature and oftentimes hard to find after a day off from fishing. When you factor in changing weather conditions, you end up with a situation like we’re seeing today. The fishing isn’t bad, but it’s not as good as it was on day one. Evan Barnes leads the Group A field today with eight scorable bass (24-10 today).

Casey Scanlon and Greg Bohannan both have seven scorable today and are both situated fairly comfortably in the top 10. Bohannan (fifth) is more than 23 pounds up on the 11th-place pro (Scott Ashmore). 

Speaking of Ashmore, he’s having a great day today with five scorable bass for 20-10. That 4-pound average is a great way to make a push for the cut line. He’s 3-5 behind Tyler Stewart, who’s currently in 10th.

Every angler in the Group A field save for Rusty Salewske has at least one scorable so far. Even without one, Salewske is still in 20th place and less than 20 pounds back of the cut line. That’s only five or six fish on this pond.

 

Ron Nelson

11:01 a.m. – Nelson, Dobson updates

Angler of the Year Ron Nelson is still above the cut line, currently in eighth. He has a goal of catching 15 fish today, which will almost certainly secure a top-10 finish in the Qualifying Round and a ticket to fish on Friday. The only surprising thing about Nelson’s tournament so far is that he isn’t at the top of the leaderboard. He was many people’s pick to win this tournament with all his Northern smallmouth knowledge and experience.

Speaking of knowledge and experience, Scott Dobson was another favorite to make a run at the TITLE win. There isn’t an angler in this field as adept at catching a bunch of big smallies. Dobson got off to a slow start Monday and ended the day with only six fish for 18-9. He already has five today for 14-13 and finds himself in 13th, less than 7 pounds under the cut line.

 

Greg Bohannan

10:30 a.m. – End of Period 1

With one-third of the day in the books, weights are tight and no one has separated from the rest of the pack, save for Kurt Mitchell. The day one leader has one fish for 2-10 today and doesn’t even need that. He’ll be fishing on Friday regardless.

But behind Mitchell, things get a little more interesting. Evan Barnes has had a great start with 21-4 and is now just 40 pounds off the lead (which seems like a lot until you consider how much of a head start Mitchell had). Barnes also has a 13-2 advantage over Casey Scanlon in third, who’s just a few pounds ahead of Grae Buck.

In other words, things are pretty stacked up in the top five. From six through 10, the largest gap between pros is 6-14 between Matt Stefan and Josh Weaver. Ninth and 10th (Tyler Stewart and Ron Nelson, respectively) are tied in total weight at 40-1. Stewart has 13-11 today and Nelson 15-6.

The wind has started to settle down out on the water, and while it’s expected to pick back up later in the day, for now, we may see a few more fish catches than we saw in Period 2 on day one. The middle period tends to be the least productive for anglers. We’ll see if the change in conditions gets these smallies chewing again.

 

Jason Abram

10:17 a.m. – Slow… but steady?

Fishing today has been slower than we’ve seen the last couple days. Weight totals aren’t quite on par with either day, and even the frequency of fish catches is a little off.

Even with just 25 pros in the Group A field, Sturgeon Bay is just such a good fishery that seeing long gaps in catches is pretty unusual. From 9:56 to 10:08, not a single pro landed a scorable bass. Other than the period breaks, it’s unlikely we’ll see another 12-minute gap the rest of the day, but Sturgeon Bay is definitely being a little stingier on day three.

 

9:48 a.m. – Making moves

After less than two hours, six pros have tallied double digits today, headlined by 16-1 from Greg Bohannan. He now finds himself in sixth place and 22 pounds ahead of the cut line. If he can manage to tack on a few more scorable bass, it’ll be hard for enough anglers to overtake him and drop him below the cut line.

Joining Bohannan with 10 or more pounds, Evan Barnes sits in second after catching 14-3 so far. Troy Morrow (eighth) and Ron Nelson (ninth) have 12-15 and 15-6, respectively.

It’s important to remember that weights zero after the Qualifying Round. All that matters for Group A today is who finishes the day in the top 10 to compete in the next round.

 

9:30 a.m. – Bigs showing up

The last three catches from our Group A field were all of the 4-plus-pound variety, starting with a 4-8 from Miles Burghoff, a 4-7 from Troy Morrow and then a 4-10 from Matt Stefan. Earlier this morning, Darrel Robertson, Lendell Martin Jr. and Ron Nelson all boated 5-plus-pounders.

The wind is going to make it harder for pros today in terms of positioning, casting and moving around, but it sure seems to be helping the bite, at least when it comes to the bigger fish.

 

Tyler Stewart

9:16 a.m. – Eyes on the prize

The elimination line looms large for a lot of pros today. Tyler Stewart currently holds the coveted 10th-place spot right now and he’s fishing a spot he’s pretty confident in. He has plenty of competition, though, and it’s early.

James Niggemeyer is without a scorable bass today, but he’s just an ounce back of Stewart and the cut line. Six more anglers are within 8-6 of Stewart and the cut line.

We’re discussing the cut line early today, if only to set up what will likely be a lot of drama later in the day. A lot can and will change before 4 p.m. CT. But one of the most unique and interesting aspects of the MLF format is the pressure associated with pros knowing where they are on SCORETRACKER at all times. By the time Period 2 is coming to a close later, there’s going to be a whole bunch of pros with some nerves as they try to get (or stay) above the cut line in the last few hours of the day. 

 

8:38 a.m. – Early catches

Evan Barnes is off to a decent start today with 8 pounds to tack on to his 61-10 from day one. He’s up to 69-10 total and in second place. Behind him, Grae Buck, Casey Scanlon and Matt Stefan are fishless. Ron Nelson (6-9 today) and Jeremy Lawyer (6 pounds) have both caught a couple scorable bass. They’re currently in 10th and 12th, respectively, sandwiching Jon Canada in 11th. Canada just fought one on FLW Live for several minutes before losing it – what could be a crushing blow for someone so close to the cut line today.
 

Grae Buck

8:10 a.m. – Conditions update

Lines are in the water, and while these pros have only been fishing for about 10 minutes, it’s pretty apparent the weather conditions are going to be a big curveball today. After slick-calm and sunny conditions yesterday (and similar to that the first day), it’s overcast with a bunch of wind this morning. 

Some people, like Ron Nelson, have found some calmer water. There’s definitely some less choppy real estate out there to be had, but pros like Grae Buck and Jeremy Lawyer are in their starting spots getting hammered by the wind. If it helps the bite, though, you won’t hear them complaining too much.

 

Casey Scanlon

7:30 a.m. CT – Group A back in action

There's Kurt Mitchell and then there's everyone else. After catching, weighing and releasing 119 pounds, 10 ounces of bass on Monday, Mitchell is firmly in command of Group A. He'll likely not need to add a pound to make the Knockout Round cut (top 10 from each group), but he has no reason to lay up, either. Today should be all about figuring out the smallies in Sturgeon Bay and how they move and reposition from day to day.

For everyone else, however, there's a whole lot at stake. The next few anglers after Mitchell are bunched up pretty solidly, with Grae Buck in second (63-0) and Evan Barnes (61-10) and Casey Scanlon (57-0) right behind him. That tier has the best shot at making some waves today, though Matt Stefan is only 10 pounds behind Scanlon – two or three casts on this pond – and has a knack for Northern smallmouth fishing, being from Junction City, Wisc., just a couple hours away.

As those pros and the rest of the 25 anglers in Group B go out hunting for priceless bronze, we'll be following right along with them. Period 1 for Group A starts at 8 a.m. CT. Fortunately, our live video coverage starts even sooner. Be sure sure to head on over to MajorLeagueFishing.com for the FLW Live stream at 7:45 CT, and hang out here all day for analysis, updates and a lot more.

 

CONDITIONS

Temperature at takeoff: 69 degrees

Forecast high: 89 degrees

Sky: Mix of sunshine and clouds

Precipitation: 20 percent chance of rain, potential for stray thunderstorm

Wind: SSW 10 to 20 mph

 

TOURNAMENT DETAILS

Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota

Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

August 24-29, 2020

Hosted by Destination Sturgeon Bay

Tournament roster

Tags: headline-story  2020-08-24-title-presented-by-toyota 

Eslinger Earns Shelbyville Win

Eslinger Earns Shelbyville Win

Boater Archie Eslinger of Paris, Illinois, brought a two-day total of eight bass to the scale weighing 27 pounds, 8 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Illini Division Super-Tournament at Lake Shelbyville. For his victory, Eslinger earned $6,197. READ MORE »

Lake County Wins at Home

Lake County Wins at Home

The Lake County High School duo of Payton Lyndall and Tyler Brant brought five bass to the scale Sunday weighing 17 pounds, 14 ounces to win the FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Clear Lake Open in Clearlake, California. READ MORE »

Mifflinburg Wins on the Chesapeake Bay

Mifflinburg Wins on the Chesapeake Bay

Pennsylvania’s Mifflinburg High School duo of Ty Stroup and Daniel Walter ground out three fish Saturday weighing 6 pounds, 3 ounces to win the very tough High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Chesapeake Bay Open event in Edgewood, Maryland. READ MORE »

Williams Tops on Rayburn

Williams Tops on Rayburn

Boater Shane Williams of Keithville, Louisiana, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 30 pounds, 2 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Cowboy Division Super-Tournament at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Navionics. READ MORE »

Simpson Cruises at Clear Lake

Simpson Cruises at Clear Lake

The Simpson University team of Luke Blanchard of Vancouver, Washington, and Nathan Phillips of Kelseyville, California, won the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI at Clear Lake event Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 13 ounces. The victory advanced the Simpson bass club to the 2021 College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Adrian Wins Again

Adrian Wins Again

The Adrian College team of Grant Gallagher of Fremont, Ohio, and Ben Statly of Fenton, Michigan, won the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI at the Chesapeake Bay event Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 2 ounces. READ MORE »

Manson Wins on Indian Lake

Manson Wins on Indian Lake

Boater Scott Manson of Covington, Ohio, brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 10 pounds, 15 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Buckeye Division Tournament at Indian Lake. For his victory, Manson earned $3,804. READ MORE »

Au Rallies for Clear Lake Win

Au Rallies for Clear Lake Win

Steadily climbing the leaderboard all week, Tai Au dropped 26 pounds, 4 ounces today – the biggest bag of the week – to jump from fourth and claim his second title of the 2020 Toyota Series Western Division season. With 63-3 overall, Au wraps a phenomenal season where he won on Havasu back in March, placed 10th on the California Delta in August and closed the season with yet another win this week on Clear Lake. In winning, Au also wrapped the Strike King Angler of the Year title for the Western Division for the first time in his career. READ MORE »

White Rolling at Clear Lake

White Rolling at Clear Lake

Fishing was still good on day two of the Toyota Series Western Division finale at Clear Lake, though there were notably less 20-pound bags brought to the scale. Still, day-one leader Tom White managed 19 pounds, 5 ounces today to back up his 24-12 weight from Thursday and will carry a 5-10 lead heading into Saturday’s final round. This would be White’s first FLW win if he can fend off the nine other hungry pros behind him. READ MORE »

White Drops 24-12 at Clear Lake

White Drops 24-12 at Clear Lake

Tom White of Costa Mesa, Calif., fished the first two events of the Toyota Series Western Division season as a co-angler where he found decent success. Now, in the final event of the season White stepped up to the boater side and took the lead on Clear Lake after day one with a 24-pound, 12-ounce limit. The former Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI angler will hold close to a 5-pound lead over Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour pro Jared Lintner heading into day two. While 4 pounds would be a decent lead on a lot of fisheries, this is Clear Lake, and anything can happen tomorrow. READ MORE »

Big Bags on Deck at Clear Lake

Big Bags on Deck at Clear Lake

The Toyota Series Western Division wraps its season this week on famed Clear Lake in California. The lake is frequently noted as one of the best bass fisheries in the country and Clear Lake is shaping up to kick out plenty of bass this week. READ MORE »

Whitehead Tops on Pickwick

Whitehead Tops on Pickwick

Boater Christopher Whitehead of Tupelo, Miss., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 33 pounds, 1 ounce to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mississippi Division Super-Tournament at Pickwick Lake. For his victory, Whitehead earned $5,942. READ MORE »

Tramel Rolls at Old Hickory

Tramel Rolls at Old Hickory

Boater Josh Tramel of Smithville, Tenn., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale this weekend weighing 34 pounds, 5 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Music City Division Super-Tournament at Old Hickory Lake. Tramel earned a total of $5,540 for his victory.  READ MORE »

Topwater Gives Trim the W

Topwater Gives Trim the W

Boater Nick Trim of Galesville, Wis., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 34 pounds, 9 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Great Lakes Division Super-Tournament at the Mississippi River. For his victory, Trim earned $6,690. READ MORE »

Langford Wins on Smith Mountain

Langford Wins on Smith Mountain

Boater Todd Langford of Great Falls, Va., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 33 pounds, 4 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Piedmont Division Super-Tournament at Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Langford earned $5,065. READ MORE »

Rockefeller Frogs on Clarks Hill

Rockefeller Frogs on Clarks Hill

Boater Joshua Rockefeller of Harlem, Ga., brought a two-day total of nine bass to the scale weighing 21 pounds even to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine South Carolina Division Super-Tournament at Clarks Hill Lake. For his victory, Rockefeller earned $4,668. READ MORE »

Strong Day One Carries Sifers

Strong Day One Carries Sifers

Boater Jeramiah Sifers of Sellersburg, Ind., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale this weekend weighing 22 pounds, 14 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Hoosier Division Super-Tournament at the Rough River. Sifers earned a total of $6,917 for his victory. READ MORE »

Lieblong Again at Dardanelle

Lieblong Again at Dardanelle

Jason Lieblong is no stranger to Toyota Series titles on Lake Dardanelle. He claimed his first back in August of 2015 and five years later thanks to a final-day bag worth 15 pounds, 15 ounces (the biggest of the event) Lieblong added his second Series trophy to the mantle. The Conway, Ark., pro finished the event with 40-9 overall, moving up the leaderboard every day of the tournament. For winning the Plains Division opener presented by Fish-Intel, Lieblong took home over $70,000 thanks largely to the FLW PHOENIX BONUS, which earned him and extra $35,000. READ MORE »

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Weighing 18 pounds and 9 ounces on day three for a 59-3 total, Scott Dobson moved from second to first to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River. The win is Dobson’s second in Toyota Series competition and his eighth overall with FLW. For the win, Dobson takes home $27,534 and further burnishes his record as one of the best smallmouth anglers on the planet.   READ MORE »

Bennett Takes Dardanelle Lead

Bennett Takes Dardanelle Lead

Backing up his day-one weight of 13 pounds, 6 ounces, Joe Bennett brought 13-14 to the scale to take the lead at Lake Dardanelle in the Toyota Series Plains Division opener presented by Fish-Intel. Bennett will carry 1-1 lead into Saturday’s final round over Kevin Riney as he looks to grab his first victory with FLW. READ MORE »