By Jonathan LePera Special to BassFan - Ish Monroe claimed his third Bassmaster Elite Series regular-season victory as he caught a 16-02 stringer to triumph at the Mississippi River out of La Crosse, Wis. with a 4-day total of 65-07. His winning margin over runner-up Jacob Powroznik was 11 ounces, while day-3 leader Randall Tharp ended up 3rd, another 7 ounces back.
Monroe was ecstatic and emotional as he collected his trophy from emcee Dave Mercer. He spoke of his close bond with his father and how he’d always taken him fishing as a young child and got him hooked on the sport.
“Get your children hooked on bass fishing and they won’t want to do anything else,” Monroe told the audience.
Once Powroznik took the lead, he chewed his nails short while waiting for the rest of the field to weigh in. At the end, he fished a brilliant tournament, falling short only to Monroe. His 16-11 stringer was the best of the final day and he concluded with a 64-12 aggregate.
Tharp concluded with 64-05 (14-09 on day 4). Gerald Spohrer was 4th with 64-00 (14-14) and Jacob Wheeler completed the top 5 with 62-03 (16-10).
Martens, who started the day an ounce behind leader Tharp, dropped six places as his fish decreased in both size and numbers.
The weights and numbers produced by the field of Elite anglers exceeded all expectations as changing conditions and a constant influx of rising water left competitors constantly modifying their game plan day by day and sometimes by the hour. Looking back, the Mississippi River brought the most 3-pound bass across the stage that tournament director Trip Weldon could remember, a sign that the 12-pound average that was formerly required to cash a check there was a thing of the past.
The circuit now moves directly to Lake Oahe in South Dakota. Practice gets under way Tuesday, with competition set to run Friday through Monday.
Though Monroe was confident he was on the fish to win, he took nothing for granted.
“I knew it was going to be close,” he said.
He fished calmly and stayed composed even after losing what could have been his biggest fish of the day when it was halfway back to the boat.