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.
By Thomas AllenLA CROSSE, Wis. — Notching his fifth Bassmaster victory, Ish Monroe of Hughson, Calif., produced a solid limit of largemouth bass that weighed 16 pounds, 2 ounces to win his first victoryin six years at the 2018 Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River presented by Go RVing.
Monroe’s four-day total was 65-7, edging out Jacob Powroznik of North Prince George, Va., who produced a four-day limit of 64-12. Powroznik finished in second place.
Across the four official competition days, there were four different leaders, which kept the event very exciting until the final weigh-in.
Monroe started out in 20th place on Thursday’s opening round, moved up to sixth on Friday, third following Saturday’s semi-final round of competition and then into the top spot on ChampionshipSunday.
The impressive victory earned the 44-year-old pro valuable Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points and a $100,000 payday.
“Everybody knew that the rising river levels would affect the fish and how they positioned on the structure,” Monroe said. “I had a plan, but early on Day 1, I got stuck on a sandbar, and that was as stuck as I’ve ever been in a bass boat. I freed my boat, and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”
Monroe said that after he got stuck, he was hesitant to run the Mississippi River backwaters too quickly, so he decided to fish his way into the area he had originally intended to start the tournament.
Photo by: B.A.S.S. / Seigo Saito > Day 2: 5, 16-11 (10, 32-01) Ish Monroe is one of the best frog anglers in the sport and there’s no bait he’d rather be throwing, especially when he’s caught 50 largemouth a day for the first two days of competition. He was happy and surprised with his weight today.
“I felt like I could have an opportunity at 15 (pounds) a day," he said. "I just had a little bit of a better day by adding some 3 1/2- and 3 3/4-pound fish."
Should Monroe eventually win the event, he’s got quite a story to tell the crowd.
“I missed my turn to the spot that I was going to start at and got right up on a sand bar," he recalled. "I pushed my boat up off and was so tired I just put my trolling motor down and took a break. I looked up and saw an area like what I’ve been fishing and caught a limit in 10 minutes."
The spot he fished on day 1 was 1 1/2 iles from the spot on the sand bar so he just fished his way there, which took him until 1 p.m. because he was catching so many fish.
Upon arriving at his spot today that he’d found in pre-fish, they’d moved 50 yards, but once he located them, the flurry continued.
“They have highways for these fish to come in and with these current conditions, they are filtering to these areas,” he said.
He’s cautiously optimistic and vows that he's “just going fishing and not putting too much on it. For some reason, when I do that I fish better,” he added.