Lucas Still Leads Tournament on Lake Chatuge

Lucas Still Leads Tournament on Lake Chatuge tournament on Lake Chatuge

HIAWASSEE, Ga. — Justin Lucas needed two things this week to ensure an easy path to winning the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship tournament on Lake Chatuge.
First, he needed to catch enough bass to simply maintain the first-place lead he brought with him in the regular-season AOY standings. He’s done that easily with 10 bass that weighed 27 pounds, 2 ounces the first two rounds, including a catch of 13-12 on Friday.
Lucas also needed Josh Bertrand, his good friend and closest competition in the AOY standings, to struggle. That’s happened as well, with Bertrand landing only two fish the first round and now resting in 43rd place in the weekly standings with a two-day weight of 15-13.
It’s never over until it’s over. But as Lucas now holds a gigantic 47-point lead in the standings with only one day left to fish, the race is certainly creeping in that direction.
“We have one more day, and I need to go out and catch maybe 8 pounds to lock it up,” said Lucas, who admits he’s been losing sleep over the idea of winning the AOY trophy and the $100,000 bonus that goes with it. “It may not even take 8 pounds, but I haven’t reached the point where I feel like I can let up.”
Lucas said he caught his bass in completely different areas Friday.
“Stuff that I hit yesterday, I don’t know if the timing was off or what, but those places just weren’t good today,” he said. “So I just mixed up the timing a little today, and things worked out fine.
“The key for me was getting away from all of the boat traffic. When I’m in a calm area, I can catch a fish because I have an exact cast I need to make to catch a bass.”
Though the tournament won’t conclude until Sunday, Lucas was very open about the bait he’s using. It’s a Berkley Cane Walker, one of several new topwater baits recently unveiled by the company.
“It just came out this week,” he said. “It’s all chrome, and that’s just a really good color when it’s sunny and calm. It has a lot of flash to it. I can cast it a mile, and it comes with great hooks right out of the box.
“It’s loud and it spits a lot of water. On a long cast, all of that stuff works together.”
While Lucas was tightening his hold on the AOY Championship, James Elam was putting himself in position for a wire-to-wire victory in this week’s tournament. After taking the individual lead on Day 1 with 16-10, the Oklahoma pro remained consistent with 16-14 and now leads with a two-day total of 33-8.
His closest competitor is Tennessee pro Jacob Wheeler, who is second with 31-5 after catching 16-5 on Day 2. The heaviest three-day weight this week will earn $25,000 and one of the coveted blue trophies that is awarded to every Elite Series winner.
The anglers will take Saturday away from the lake for the Elite Expo at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds. The Expo, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday, will include demo rides, the latest from Toyota, the Berkley Experience trailer with its live aquarium and more.  All 50 of the Bassmaster Elite Series AOY contenders will attend the Expo before heading back to Lake Chatuge Sunday to decide the AOY season champion and the tournament winner.

2018 Points Report
as of 21-Sep-2018

Angler  Points  Lbs-Oz
1 Justin Lucas Guntersville, AL  822  261- 2
2 Josh Bertrand San Tan Valley, AZ  775  260-10
3 Bradley Roy Lancaster, KY  755  256- 7
4 Ott DeFoe Blaine, TN  724  238- 1
5 Brent Chapman Lake Quivira, KS  724  237- 4
6 Aaron Martens Leeds, AL  715  243- 3
7 Jacob Powroznik North Prince George, VA  704  253- 4
8 Jacob Wheeler Harrison, TN  691  264- 5
9 Brandon Palaniuk Hayden, ID  691  242-10
10 Bobby Lane Jr. Lakeland, FL  681  244-10
11 Dean Rojas Lake Havasu City, AZ  680  232- 7
12 Gerald Spohrer Gonzales, LA  670  239- 2
13 Mark Daniels Jr. Tuskegee, AL  667  244- 5
14 Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, MI  660  243- 3
15 Michael Iaconelli Pitts Grove, NJ  658  241- 2
16 Todd Faircloth Jasper, TX  650  223-11
17 Casey Ashley Donalds, SC  648  233- 8
18 Seth Feider Bloomington, MN  645  235-11
19 Alton Jones Jr. Waco, TX  641  232-10
20 Andy Montgomery Blacksburg, SC  639  235- 4
21 James Elam Tulsa, OK  637  247-13
22 Brent Ehrler Redlands, CA  633  244-10
23 Brett Hite Phoenix, AZ  633  225- 5
24 Cliff Pace Petal, MS  629  232- 1
25 Jesse Wiggins Cullman, AL  623  242- 8
26 Jake Whitaker Fairview, NC  623  229- 8
27 Clifford Pirch Payson, AZ  617  217- 6
28 Skeet Reese Auburn, CA  612  238- 4
29 Chris Zaldain Laughlin, NV  609  224- 2
30 Micah Frazier Newnan, GA  606  218-14
31 Edwin Evers Talala, OK  603  242- 7
32 Randall Tharp Port St. Joe, FL  603  233-12
33 Keith Poche Pike Road, AL  603  227- 8
34 Jason Christie Park Hill, OK  603  224- 4
35 Wesley Strader Spring City, TN  602  221-15
36 Bill Lowen Brookville, IN  597  227-13
37 Roy Hawk Lk Havasu Cty, AZ  595  221- 6
38 Chris Lane Guntersville, AL  593  231- 3
39 Chad Pipkens Lansing, MI  588  230-13
40 Greg Hackney Gonzales, LA  588  228- 7
41 Greg Vinson Wetumpka, AL  583  209- 2
42 Jared Lintner Arroyo Grande, CA  582  222-12
43 Gerald Swindle Guntersville, AL  578  223- 9
44 Shin Fukae Palestine, TX  576  227- 0
45 Scott Rook Little Rock, AR  569  216-11
46 Keith Combs Huntington, TX  565  216-11
47 Adrian Avena Vineland, NJ  558  219-12
48 Dustin Connell Clanton, AL  552  214- 1
49 Takahiro Omori Emory, TX  551  210-13
50 Jordan Lee Grant, AL  550  241-10

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