Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Oklahoma Angler Chris Jones Wins MLF Toyota Series at Lake Eufaula

Date:

EUFAULA, Okla. (May 19, 2024) –  An Oklahoma native with more success than just about anyone on the state’s largest lake, Chris Jones of Bokoshe, Oklahoma, leaned on his  Lake Eufaula  experience to find the out-of-the-way area that produced all his keepers during the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats stop on the reservoir.

But it was keen observation and a clutch decision during the competition that ultimately allowed Jones to add a second Toyota Series trophy and another win on Eufaula to his collection.

Noticing that his biggest bites during the first two days had come on a BOOYAH Poppin’ Pad Crasher, Jones committed himself to throwing the frog Saturday morning. The decision paid off in the form of a 6-pound, 8-ounce kicker. The lunker anchored a 17-6 limit — the heaviest bag of the day and second-best all week — which vaulted him from second place after Days 1 and 2 to first. Jones’ three-day total of 46-7 topped  Eli Brumnett of Wagoner, Oklahoma, by 2-11.

For the win, Jones earned $30,031 and a trip to the Toyota Series Championship on Wheeler Lake.

Minutes before catching the 6-8, Jones almost gave up on his frog bite. Dissecting flooded willow bushes on the south end of the lake, he had promised himself he would keep the Pad Crasher in his hands until at least 9 a.m.
At 8:57, he hadn’t yet gotten a bite. But he decided to hit one more stretch of bushes before changing tactics. His patience paid off with the biggest bass of the tournament.

“I was fixing to put (the frog) down, and I came around a point of willows and threw it underneath there and caught that big one,” Jones said. “And I knew I had a chance.”

After Day 1, Jones felt confident he was around the winning fish. Making a 33-mile run to the area where he also won a 2011 Phoenix Bass Fishing League event, Jones sacked up 17-0 on the opening day, which placed him in second.

A self-described member of the “muddy water mob,” he embraced the dirty water in that portion of the lake, which he believes is the reason he never saw another competitor. With falling water levels making the bite tough on Eufaula, having his fish to himself proved key.

“It was just past experience and knowing that area, and it set up right,” he said. “I really wanted to stay away from the area where they (Bass Pro Tour anglers) fished, and that was the clean areas. And I knew if I could get bit down there that I wouldn’t see another boat, and I didn’t see another boat for three days.”

Jones’ bite faltered a bit on Day 2. Enduring two long stretches without a bite, he weighed in just 12-1. He was able to fill out his limit flipping a junebug YUM Spine Craw and throwing a BOOYAH Mobster swim jig , but the quality he’d caught on Day 1 eluded him. That prompted him to dedicate himself to throwing the frog to start Day 3.

“I had several fish just come up and swipe at my swim jig, but whenever I’d get a frog bite, they’d inhale it,” he explained. “So, I was just committed to it. I knew if I could get around enough of them, that I could get the right bites on the frog.”

Jones caught the rest of his keepers Saturday flipping the Spine Craw. Added to his kicker, they proved enough to earn him a fifth MLF win with a throng of friends and family present to celebrate his coronation. His youngest son joined him on the stage at weigh-in, where he shouted out a litany of supporters in the audience. Having them on hand made this victory particularly sweet.

“It means the world to me,” Jones said. “You never know when the last one is going to be, so it’s kind of emotional.”

The top 10 pros on Lake Eufaula finished:

1st:          Chris Jones, Bokoshe, Okla., 15 bass, 46-7, $30,031
2nd:        Eli Brumnett, Wagoner, Okla., 15 bass, 43-12, $12,637 (includes $1,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus)
3rd:        Jeff Lugar, Princeton, Texas, 15 bass, 42-1, $9,009
4th:         Zane Parker, Kingwood, Texas, 15 bass, 40-13, $7,508
5th:         Ty Faber, Pagosa Springs, Colorado, 15 bass, 40-4, $7,257
6th:         Phillip Lunceford, Stigler, Okla., 15 bass, 39-14, $6,006
7th:         Blake Schroeder, Whitehouse, Texas, 15 bass, 39-1, $5,255
8th:         Levi Thibodaux, Thibodaux, La., 15 bass,  38-13, $4,505
9th:         Lance Crawford, Broken Bow, Okla., 14 bass, 34-15, $3,754
10th:      Charley Slaton, Valliant, Okla., 13 bass, 34-14, $3,003

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Pro Shonn Goodwin of Moore, Oklahoma, won the $500 Day 1 Berkley Big Bass award in the pro division Thursday with a bass weighing 6 pounds, 2 ounces. On Friday, pro Ty Faber of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, earned the $500 Berkley Big Bass prize after bringing a bass weighing 5 pounds, 2 ounces to the scale.

Brumnett took home an extra $1,000 as the highest finishing Phoenix MLF Bonus member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $35,000 per event in each Toyota Series tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

Dillon Saffle of Eureka, Missouri, won the Strike King Co-angler Division Saturday with a three-day total of 13 bass weighing 28 pounds, 2 ounces. Saffle took home the top prize package worth $33,500, including a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers on Lake Eufaula finished:

1st:          Dillon Saffle, Eureka, Mo., 13 bass, 28-2, Phoenix 518 Pro boat w/115-hp Mercury outboard
2nd:        Scott Parsons, Rogers, Ark., 11 bass, 27-3, $3,843
3rd:        Mike Cassanova, Frisco, Texas, 10 bass, 26-3, $3,074
4th:         Joe Lee, Midlothian, Texas, 11 bass, 25-14, $2,690
5th:         Leavitt Hamilton, Gonzales, La., 10 bass, 24-11, $2,456
6th:         Brian Strickland, Yantis, Texas, nine bass, 22-3, $1,921
7th:         Albert Rayborn, Hammond, La., nine bass, 21-5, $1,537
8th:         Justin Overstreet, Brookeland, Texas, eight bass, 20-13, $1,345
9th:         Tony Burnham, Lincoln, Neb., 10 bass, 19-13, $1,153
10th:      Tommy Sikes, Como, Texas, nine bass, 19-4, $961

Dewey Larson of Fayetteville, Arkansas, was the Berkley Big Bass $150 award winner in the Strike King co-angler division Thursday, with a 7-pound, 3-ounce bass, while the Day 2 $150 award on Friday went to Dakotah Edwards of Talala, Oklahoma, with a 4-pound, 7-ounce bass.

With all three regular-season events in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division now complete, pro Cole Moore of Anacoco, Louisiana, was crowned the Fishing Clash Southwestern Division Angler of the Year (AOY) and earned the AOY payout of $5,000 with 755 points, while Justin Overstreet of Brookeland, Texas, is the Strike King Co-angler of the Year with 754 points and took home the $2,000 prize.

The Toyota Series at Lake Eufaula, hosted by Vision Eufaula, was the third and final regular-season event for the Toyota Series Southwestern Division. The next event for Toyota Series anglers will be the Toyota Series at Potomac River , June 5-7, in Marbury, Maryland. For a complete schedule of events, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The 2024 Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and the Western Division Presented by Tackle Warehouse – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International and Wild Card divisions. Anglers who fish in any of the six divisions or the Wild Card division and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship for a shot at winning up to $235,000 and a qualification to REDCREST 2025. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard. The 2024 Toyota Series Championship will be held Nov. 7-9 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Alabama, and is hosted by the Huntsville Sports Commission.

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Toyota Series include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, Fishing Clash, FX Custom Rods, General Tire, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak Fishing, Onyx, Phoenix Boats, Polaris, Power-Pole, REDCON1, Strike King, Suzuki Marine, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, WIX Filters and YETI.

For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the Toyota Series, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular tournament updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the MLF5 social media outlets at FacebookInstagram and YouTube.



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