Jimmy Johnson of La Crosse, Wis., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division event on the Mississippi River presented by Evinrude with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 45 pounds, 7 ounces. Johnson led the tournament on each of the three days of competition and earned $35,815 for his victory.
“This feels pretty awesome,” said Johnson, who had 14 previous top-10 finishes on the Mississippi River in FLW competition. “I’ve finished second so many times, and to be able to pull out a win on my home waters against the caliber of this field is just awesome.”
After finishing second in the BFL Super Tournament held on the river last weekend, Johnson said he closely monitored the changing conditions and credited his local knowledge as being crucial to his success.
“I noticed the condition changes throughout the week,” Johnson said. “I knew that the water levels were dropping and that it was going to have a big effect on the fish. The weather was my biggest concern throughout the tournament. I was fishing wing dams in Pool 8 where I knew that big fish were, but I knew from experience that a strong south wind will shut those fish down.”
Johnson said that he was fishing for only big bites, and averaging just 5 to 10 bites a day.
“I would Power-Pole down on a spot and make the same repetitive cast, sometimes for up to an hour and a half at a time,” Johnson said. “I fished probably 30 different spots throughout the week. I was looking for wing dams where there was some sort of transition – a turn, or where the sand meets the rock.”
Johnson said that he had two key baits that were a “1-2 punch” for him throughout the week – a 3/8-ounce iridescent Lethal Weapon IV Swimjig with a shad-colored Yamamoto Swim Senko and a Carolina-rigged green pumpkin-colored Yamamoto Lizard with a ½-ounce weight.
The top 10 pros on the Mississippi River were:
1st: Jimmy Johnson, La Crosse, Wis., 15 bass, 45-7, $35,815
2nd: Jeff Ritter, Prairie Du Chien, Wis., 15 bass, 42-15, $13,878
3rd: Mark Tucker, Kirkwood, Mo., 15 bass, 41-6, $10,745
4th: Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., 15 bass, 40-14, $8,954
5th: Gary Yamamoto, Palestine, Texas, 15 bass, 40-9, $8,058
6th: Kent Priel, North Platte, Neb., 15 bass, 39-13, $7,163
7th: Jeff Benson, Holmen, Wis., 15 bass, 38-10, $6,268
8th: Jerry Robackouski, Plainfield, Ill., 15 bass, 37-3, $5,372
9th: Joe Pollak, Lake Geneva, Wis., 15 bass, 37-3, $4,477
10th: Terry Fitzpatrick, Waukon, Iowa, 12 bass, 32-10, $3,582
Complete results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Keystone Light pro Chad Grigsby of Maple Grove, Minn., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division Friday, a bass weighing 5 pounds even that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $252.
Carl Gillespie of Old Hickory, Tenn., won the co-angler division and a Ranger Z117C with an Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor, with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 32 pounds, 9 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers on the Mississippi River were:
1st: Carl Gillespie, Old Hickory, Tenn., 15 bass, 32-9, Ranger Z117C with a 90-horsepower outboard
2nd: Craig Fanning, Elwood, Ill., 14 bass, 31-3, $4,500
3rd: Kevin Mahlke, Valley Park, Mo., 12 bass, 29-4, $3,600
4th: Terry Holsapple, Greenup, Ill., 13 bass, 28-15, $3,150
5th: Lajos Draviczki, Plainfield, Ill., 12 bass, 28-13, $2,700
6th: Jason Swanson, Waterloo, Iowa, 13 bass, 27-14, $2,250
7th: Bob Byrne, Trempealeau, Wis., 12 bass, 26-8, $1,800
8th: Ronnie Shephard Jr., Oak Hill, Ohio, 12 bass, 25-0, $1,575
9th: Troy Lowery, Shattuc, Ill., 11 bass, 24-2, $1,350
10th: Michael Ratz, Hudson, Wis., 10 bass, 22-8, $1,125
Byrne caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division Friday – a 4-pound, 2-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $168.
The Rayovac FLW Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the no-entry-fee Rayovac FLW Series Championship. The 2014 Rayovac FLW Series Championship is being held Oct. 30-Nov.1 on Wheeler Lake in Rogersville, Ala.
The Rayovac FLW Series on the Mississippi River was hosted by the La Crosse Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. It was the third and final Central Division tournament of 2014. The next Rayovac FLW Series tournament will be a Texas Division event, held Oct. 2-4, on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Lufkin, Texas. For a complete schedule, visit FLWOutdoors.com.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow FLW on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.
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Image courtesy FLW Outdoors