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Tennessean sets Toyota margin mark at Chick

Tennessean sets Toyota margin mark at Chick

DAYTON, Tenn. – Nobody could touch Banks Shaw of Harrison, Tenn. this week in the Toyota Series event on Lake Chickamauga. He finished Day 1 in third place with 23 pounds, 11 ounces, then added 26-13 on Day 2 to take a 9-pound lead and slammed the door with 32-4 on the final day.

With a total of 82-12, the 20-year-old Shaw won by 24-5, which edged past Alec Morrison’s 24-pound win last summer at Sam Rayburn to set a new record winning margin at the Toyota Series level. For the win, Shaw pocketed $44,000 and locked in a spot in this fall’s Toyota Series Championship on Wheeler Lake.

With a 13th-place finish, Matt O'Connell put the wraps on an impressive campaign to win Angler of the Year in the Central Division.

A geography major at the University of North Alabama, Shaw calls Chickamauga home and reckons he’s idled about 90 percent of the lake. This week, every time he dipped into his bag of tricks he came up with a winner, and he ended up romping to his first win with MLF.

“It’s unreal. I don’t know what to say right now,” he said. “I’m not really chill at all. I can just hold it in a bit. I had ‘em early; I really didn’t think anybody would have 42 pounds and beat me. I let it set in out on the lake.”

To hear him tell it, the final morning was one for the record books. Though Chickamauga is no stranger to 30-pound bags, doing it on Day 3 of a major tournament with fish scattered between beds and ledges isn’t exactly normal.

“This morning, I ran like four places and only caught one tiny keeper,” Shaw said. “I just had a gut feeling to run back in a creek and hit a place, and I pulled up and caught a 7-pounder and a 6-pounder on back-to-back casts. From then on, I was like, ‘we can do this thing.’

“I started running with my gut. I pulled up on the next place and caught a 5-pounder. Next place, I caught a 7-pounder and two 6-pounders.”

From there, he knew he’d done something special and figured he might have a shot at some history.

“I was thinking about that today,” he admitted. “I was like, ‘I feel like this could be a record, but I really don’t know.’ It’s been insane with the technology. A handful of people are on hot streaks … just because of LiveScope.”

Of course, just strapping a transducer to the trolling motor and a screen to the boat doesn’t make you a winner. It takes a confluence of skills to hit the sort of heights Shaw did this week.

“I would say it’s my knowledge on the lake and my knowledge with technology,” he said of his record-setting week. “There are several guys out here that know the lake like I do, but they don’t really know the technology like I do, and they didn’t really understand what was going on.”

Shaw spent the event targeting offshore fish on hard spots and shell beds, following them out from the spawn to their summer haunts. Chickamauga is known for some extremely smart bass, and Shaw experienced that this week – in order to generate bites well, he really needed some bait in the area and a group of fish.

“I caught a few single fish, but not many at all,” he said. “Most of my bigger ones were out of groups. I probably got 10 or 15 percent of the follows I got to bite. I would have to have a group competing over the bait to get a bite.”

Setting his LiveScope range out to 120 feet, he was winding up big almost every cast.

“I won’t cast unless I see fish. The main key today was casting as far as I could,” he said. “I was staying as far off them as I could, just bombing a cast. That’s really the only way I could get them to bite. I would catch them at like 80 [feet], but most of the time I would hit them when they were at 100 [feet].”

Throwing a Rapala CrushCity Freeloader on a 1/8-ounce head as well as a 3/4-ounce V&M Pacemaker Football Jig on Joe Burns Custom Rods, Shaw fished different places every day of the event.

“It’s been everywhere,” he said. “I’ve caught them in 10 foot and I’ve caught them in 30 foot. I’ve just followed the fish. There are several places where they were earlier in the week, and I knew they’d be moving out as the week [went on]. I basically stayed on the fish as they moved out further and further.”

In the end, he made it look a lot easier than it was, when it really was a historic accomplishment for a 20-year-old college student.

Here are the final totals for the Top 10:

1st: Banks Shaw, Harrison, Tenn., 15 bass, 82-12, $44,000
2nd: Brody Campbell, Oxford, Ohio, 15 bass, 58-7, $18,300
3rd: Fisher Anaya, Eva, Ala., 15 bass, 56-15, $12,750
4th: Chad Mrazek, Montgomery, Texas, 15 bass, 56-8, $10,750
5th: Dillon Falardeau, Hixson, Tenn., 15 bass, 54-1, $9,750
6th: Hayden Marbut, Birmingham, Ala., 15 bass, 53-13, $8,375
7th: Kyle Norsetter, Cottage Grove, Wis., 15 bass, 51-3, $7,300
8th: Ethan Greene, Eufaula, Ala., 15 bass, 50-14, $6,800
9th: Ethan King, Wilsonville, Ala., 15 bass, 50-12, $5,300
10th: David Williams, Newton, N.C., 15 bass, 48-8, $4,700

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