Former Bassmaster Elite Series pro Mark Tyler cashed in his home-water advantage to win the Arkansas River Bassmaster Central Open out of Muskogee, Okla. on Saturday.
The Vian, Okla. resident hadn’t fished the river since last year’s Open at Muskogee, so he relied on 5 previous years of experience to catch the winning weight of 42-14. Since he didn't fish the two previous Central Opens this year, he can't claim the accompanying Bassmaster Classic berth
“It was simple river fishing,” Tyler said. “I just fished pretty much laydowns, little weed points and shallow-water cover – just like you would expect in a river system. The difference was I ran a bunch of spots that I have a lot of confidence in. From years of experience I knew a piece of wood I pulled up on would be a key piece.”
Full details of his winning pattern will be published soon.
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Stephen Browning clinched the Central Opens points title with 584 points. The rest of the anglers who qualified for an invitation to the Elites are Jordan Lee, who finished 2nd with 555, followed by Carl Jocumsen (the first Australian angler to qualify for the Elites), 544; Brian Clark, 4th, 536; Randy Allen, 5th, 530; and Ken Iyobe, 6th, 528.
“Making the Elites is something I have always dreamed about since I was in 8th or 9th grade watching The Bassmasters,” said Lee, a former Bassmaster College Series champion. “This is what I have always wanted to do. This is the first year I fished the Opens, and I fished all nine to try and reach the Elites.”
Here are the final totals for the Top-12 finishers at Muskogee:
1. Mark Tyler: 42-14
2. Kenta Kimura: 41-03
3. Tommy Biffle: 40-09
4. Jordan Lee: 39-07
5. Brian Potter: 37-12
6. Rick Clunn: 35-08
7. Vu Au: 33-15
8. Gary Klein: 33-11
9. Scott Barnett: 33-01
10. Justin Margraves: 30-03
11. Gary Clouse: 28-03
12. Mark Goines: 26-13