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.