Chris Jones of Bokoshe caught 19 pounds on a five-fish limit Saturday to surge from eighth place at the start of the day to the Bassmaster Bass Pro Shops Central Open title after three days of competition on the Arkansas River.
Jones’ total was 42-13. John Garrett of Union City, Tenn., was second at 42-7, followed by second-round leader Dale Hightower of Manifold with 41-13.
Jones’ final-day haul on the Kerr lock down river was the second best single-day catch of the tournament. He also had a 4-12 winner for the Big Bass of the event. Keith Poche of Pike Road, Ala., had 19-5, all on his second round after coming empty on day one. He missed the cut of 12 who fished in the finals.
"I knew the wind was going to blow today, I knew a front was coming and I knew there was a chance to catch a giant bag (in Kerr) and I just wanted that chance,” said Jones, who earned $45,300. “I knew I was 4 pounds behind Dale Hightower, so I knew I had to go.
“I really should have (weighed in) 24 to 25 pounds. I weighed two little fish today, but I broke my rod on a big one and lost her and had another one tied up in some grass that came off. But it was just one of those magical days. Things have to go right for you to win and it happened today.”
Lee Livesay (41-4) of Longview, Texas was fourth, followed by Cody Huff of Ava, Mo. (37-3), Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Ark. (26-15) was sixth, followed in order by Brandon Palahniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho (35-15), Caleb Gibson of Locust Grove (35-13), Justin Musgraves of Diana, Texas (33-9), Spike Stoker of Stephenville, Texas (32-11), Mark Watson of Midlothian, Texas (31-1) and Paul Browning of Pecos, Texas (25-13).
William Young of Livingston, Texas, who came up empty on Friday, matched his first-day catch of 10-11 and with 21-6 won the Co-Angler competition. Cameron Paquin of Gray, La. (19-4) was second.