MUSKOGEE — Chris Jones of Bokoshe got off to an ominous start Saturday morning when his motor conked out and he had to be towed by Boat US.
When Jones got back to business at about 9:15 a.m., he relied on his knowledge of the Arkansas River to catch a 13-pound, 10-ounce limit and clinch the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open pro division title.
Jones finished with a three-day total of 40-1 and earned the top prize of a Nitro Z9/Mercury 225 Pro XS rig valued at $40,000 and $7,253 in cash.
“I ran every single stick that I knew where I had ever caught a 3- or 4-pounder in my life,” Jones said. “I burned a tank of gas in one pool. We just got on one little stretch where I caught five or six keepers real quick. Then we ran to one other spot, and it all happened in about a 30-minute period. I went to one other place where I had caught a big one several other times. The wind was blowing up on a point, and when I threw up there, a 4-pounder ate it.”
Talala pro Terry Butcher took second place with 39 pounds.
“My biggest key to the whole week was laydowns (in 1 to 8 feet of water),” he said.
Others finishing in the top five of the pro division included Trevor Romans of Texas, third, 37-15; Stetson Blaylock of Arkansas, fourth, 37-0; and Brock Mosley of Mississippi, fifth, 36-15.
Jason Christie of Park Hill finished sixth with a three-day weight of 35-04.
Mark Goines, the leader after Day 2, only caught 5 pounds, 6 ounces on Saturday and dropped to eighth overall (32-02). Dale Hightower of Mannford, the first-day leader after catching 15 pounds on Thursday, placed 10th overall with a total of 25-14.