Fishing & Boating News

Canada’s Johnston Maintains Lead after Day Three of FLW Tour at Harris Chain of Lakes

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

Canadian pro angler Chris Johnston of Peterborough, Ontario, held his lead after Day 3 of the FLW Tour at the Harris Chain of Lakes after bringing a 5-bass limit weighing 16 lbs, 12 oz, to the scale.
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(Feb 24, 2018 - Leesburg. FL) Canadian pro angler Chris Johnston of Peterborough, Ontario, held his lead after Day Three of the FLW Tour at the Harris Chain of Lakes presented by Lowrance after bringing a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 12 ounces, to the scale. Johnston brings a slim 14-ounce advantage over second-place pro Tony Dumitras of Winston, Georgia, heading into championship Sunday when the final 10 anglers will compete for the top prize of up to $125,000.

Johnston started his day in the same area he caught the bulk of his weight Friday – a 12-foot-deep weed edge with a long indentation on Lake Harris. He said he used two baits to catch the majority of his fish – a jerkbait and a lipless crankbait.

“It started out with a bang. By 8:15 (a.m.) I pretty much had all of my weight,” said Johnston, who is seeking his first career win on the FLW Tour. “The fish were right where they were supposed to be.”

Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., it was a different story. Johnston said he stayed on Lake Harris, but managed to catch only a few short fish in other hydrilla-filled areas.

“With 20 minutes left in the day I got into some fish and upgraded my weight by a quarter-pound,” said Johnston. “There were a lot of fish and some shad in the area, and they were chewing. I wish I’d had another half hour out there because I think I could’ve gotten a big one.”

Johnston said his game plan for Sunday will be similar to what he’s done for the past two days.

“After the morning spot I’m hoping they will be where I left them biting today,” said Johnston. “If fish aren’t in my starting spot, I’m going to be in some trouble.”

The top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition at the Harris Chain of Lakes are:                

               1st:          Chris Johnston, Peterborough, Ontario, 15 bass, 62-0  
               2nd:         Tony Dumitras, Winston, Ga., 15 bass, 61-2  
               3rd:          Glenn Browne, Ocala, Fla., 15 bass, 58-15    
               4th:          Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 15 bass, 57-13      
               5th:          Jeff Gustafson, Keewatin, Ontario, Canada, 15 bass, 55-13       
               6th:          Buddy Gross, Chickamauga, Ga., 15 bass, 55-6          
               7th:          Jared McMillan, Belle Glade, Fla., 15 bass, 55-4           
               8th:          Yamamoto Baits pro Matt Greenblatt, Port St. Lucie, Fla., 15 bass, 55-0   
               9th:          Kurt Dove, Del Rio, Texas, 15 bass, 54-15     
               10th:        John Hunter, Shelbyville, Ky., 15 bass, 54-2
Finishing 11th through 30th are:
               11th:        Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 15 bass, 53-11, $12,000
               12th:        Koby Kreiger, Bokeelia, Fla., 15 bass, 52-5, $12,000
               13th:        Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 52-3, $12,000
               14th:        Randy Haynes, Counce, Tenn., 15 bass, 51-13, $12,000
               15th:        Yamamoto Baits pro Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., 15 bass, 49-1, $12,000
               16th:        Ronald Young, Lake Wales, Fla., 15 bass, 48-14, $12,000
               17th:        Shawn Murphy, Nicholasville, Ky., 15 bass, 48-5, $12,000
               18th:        Braxton Setzer, Montgomery, Ala., 15 bass, 48-3, $12,000
               19th:        Bob Morin, Seymour, Tenn., 14 bass, 47-14, $12,000
               20th:        Boo Woods, London, Ky., 15 bass, 47-8, $12,000
               21st:        Jamie Horton, Centreville, Ala., 15 bass, 44-12, $10,000
               22nd:       John Devere, Berea, Ky., 15 bass, 44-11, $10,500
               23rd:        Joshua Weaver, Macon, Ga., 15 bass, 44-11, $10,000
               24th:        Jordan Osborne, Longview, Texas, 15 bass, 44-7, $10,000
               25th:        Matt Reed, Madisonville, Texas, 15 bass, 44-0, $10,000
               26th:        Johnny McCombs, Morris, Ala., 15 bass, 43-0, $10,000
               27th:        Brandon Cobb, Greenwood, S.C., 15 bass, 42-12, $10,000
               28th:        Josh Douglas, Isle, Minn., 15 bass, 41-4, $10,000
               29th:        Greg Bohannan, Bentonville, Ark., 15 bass, 38-1, $10,000
               30th:        Harry Moore, Valley, Ala., 11 bass, 35-7, $10,000

Overall there were 145 bass weighing 427 pounds, 8 ounces, caught by the 30 pros Saturday. The catch included 28 five-bass limits.

Ryan Eckman of Okeechobee, Florida, won the Co-angler Division and $20,000 Friday with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 35 pounds even, followed by Robert Kimbrough of Vero Beach, Florida, who finished in second place with 10 bass totaling 34-14, worth $7,600.

In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field of 368 anglers competed in the two-day opening round. Co-angler competition concluded following Friday’s weigh-in, while the top 30 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advanced to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros now continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.

The total purse for the FLW Tour at the Harris Chain of Lakes presented by Lowrance is more than $930,000, including $10,000 through 60th place in the Pro Division. The tournament is hosted by Lake County, Florida.

Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing. The 2018 Forrest Wood Cup will be on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aug. 10-12 and is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.

The final 10 anglers will take off at 7 a.m. EST Sunday from the Venetian Gardens boat ramp, located at 201 E. Lake Harris Drive in Leesburg. Sunday’s final weigh-in will also be held at the Venetian Gardens, and will begin at 4 p.m.

Prior to the weigh-in Sunday, FLW will host a free Family Fishing Expo at the Venetian Gardens from noon to 4 p.m. The Expo is the perfect opportunity for fishing fans to meet their favorite anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.

Television coverage of the FLW Tour at the Harris Chain of Lakes presented by Lowrance will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) April 11 from Noon-1 p.m. EST. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide.

About FLW

FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2018 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct 286 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros