Florida pro John Cox, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 16 pounds, 2 ounces Sunday to win the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Hartwell presented by Evinrude. Cox’s four-day total of 20 bass weighing 67 pounds, 6 ounces earned him the win by a slim 7-ounce margin over second place angler Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, and $100,000 in the second FLW Tour event of 2016.
“It feels absolutely incredible to win this event,” said Cox, who now leads the 2016 FLW Angler of the Year race. “I haven’t won a Tour event in five years. Everything just came together for me this week.”
Cox said he spent the first three days of the tournament scouring nearly 70 miles of shoreline in search of spawning bass. He said his most productive baits were a wacky-rigged, watermelon-seed-colored Yamamoto Senko and Zoom Trick Worm.
“I ran to as many pockets as I could and caught most of my stringers off of beds,” said Cox. “My biggest bass of the tournament, a 6-pound, 11-ouncer, actually came off of a dock. It was crazy because I caught that one as I was targeting a 3-pounder.”
On day four, Cox said he decided to concentrate on a ¼-mile stretch of dirty water near Seneca that he called ”the pond”. He said he rotated between a black and blue jig and a Z-Man ChatterBait in a variety of cover and ended up boating seven keepers.
“I put my head down and got to work,” said Cox. “I threw to various pieces of wood and some rocks, basically anything on the bank. Every 200 yards I’d get a bite. I ended up catching each stringer fish from a different piece of cover. It’s amazing that I could spend three days running for miles sight-fishing, and then all of a sudden do so well in a such a small area.”
The Florida pro said that his decision to stay in the pond ultimately got him the win.
“Every time I tried to leave the area, I’d catch one,” said Cox. “I ended up being in there all day. It worked out perfectly.”
The top 10 pros finished the tournament:
- John Cox, DeBary, Fla., 20 bass, 67-6, $100,000
- Clark Wendlandt, Leander, Texas, 20 bass, 66-15, $30,000
- Jamie Horton, Centerville, Ala., 20 bass, 62-9, $25,000
- Jeff Gustafson, Keewatin, Ontario, Canada, 20 bass, 59-14, $20,000
- Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 20 bass, 59-8, $19,000
- Darrel Robertson, Jay, Okla., 20 bass, 59-3, $18,000
- Yamamoto Baits pro Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., 20 bass, 57-14, $17,000
- Cory Johnston, Cavan, Ontario, Canada, 20 bass, 56-5, $16,000
- Lew’s pro Peter Thliveros, Saint Augustine, Fla., 20 bass, 55-0, $15,000
- Powell Kemp, Scotland Neck, N.C., 20 bass, 54-10, $14,000
For a full list of results visit FLWFishing.com.