Ish Monroe made the final day of the Bassmaster Elite Series Power-Pole Slam on Lake Okeechobee, Florida interesting Sunday but in the end he won big anyway.
Monroe saw a 13 pound lead on day two drop to just 10 ounces on Saturday but he whacked them Sunday and won by almost 13 pounds.
His four-day total of 108 pounds, 5 ounces was one of the biggest catches in BASS history.
The 2012 Bassmaster Classic champ, Chris Lane, finished second with 95-9.
With the win Monroe won $100,000, wrapped up a berth in the 2013 Classic and surpassed $1 million in career earnings.
“The pressure’s off now; I’m in the Classic,” he said. “My deal coming here was I was going try for an Elite Top 12 at every event to make sure I got there.”
Monroe said he was worried going into the final day Sunday because who was hot on his heels.
“Chris Lane is the best in the world right now, and having him on my back was a scary feeling,” Monroe said after bringing 30-15 to the scales.
Monroe began the tournament Thursday with what proved later to be the event’s largest sack: 34-5. He led that first day by 8-12 over the pro in second place, South Carolina’s Davy Hite. It was the largest Day 1 lead in Elite Series history. Monroe followed up Friday with 24-25 and widened his leader’s margin to 13-11, this time over Lane. It was the largest Day 2 lead in Elite Series history.
Then Monroe ran into trouble Saturday. Lane smashed 31-3, deflating Monroe’s big cushion to just 10 ounces.
“When he came in with that big sack on Day 3, it hurt because I would have loved to have gone into today with a 14-pound lead. Who doesn’t want to go in with a 14-pound lead on the last day? But it also made me step up my game,” said Monroe, who now has four wins on his Bassmaster record.
The 8-6 that anchored his Sunday bag was his largest of the tournament, and largest of the day. He caught most of his fish early in the day, except that big one.
“I caught that right at the end of the day on the second spot I stopped on, on the second time I stopped on it. I knew what the water looked like in there. I knew the wind had switched directions a little more and was blowing a little harder, and I knew what kind of fish were in there,” he said.
Finishing third was Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., with 84-12. Fourth was Shaw Grigsby of Gainesville, Fla., with 79-2. Fifth was Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., with 77-8.