Bassmaster Elite Series pro James Elam caught a 17 1/2-pound sack on the final day to win the Fort Gibson Lake Bassmaster Central Open in Oklahoma on Saturday.
Elam, a resident of nearby Tulsa, Okla., finished with a 3-day total of 46-03. He topped runner-up and FLW Tour standout Stetson Blaylock by more than 3 1/2 pounds.
A noisy, sign-waving crowd of Elam’s fans cheered as he held the victor’s trophy high above his head. When he competes in the final Central Open of 2015 at Table Rock Lake, his win will earn him a berth to the 2016 Bassmaster Classic, which will be held on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake.
A 10-inch Berkley worm and a Zoom Brush Hog accounted for most of Elam’s bass. He Texas-rigged both baits with a 3/8-ounce sinker and 15-pound Seaguar InvizX Fluorocarbon line. A 3/16-ounce Owner Shakey Ultrahead dressed with a 7-inch Basskwondo worm also duped some key bass for Elam.
“It was tougher today,” Elam said. “I had to fish new water to get the bites I needed.”
Full details of his winning pattern will be published this week.
Here are the final totals for the Top-12 finishers:
1. James Elam: 46-02
2. Stetson Blaylock: 42-06
3. Terry Peacock: 40-02
4. Brad Whatley: 38-15
5. Stephen Browning: 38-15
6. Tommy Biffle: 37-12
7. Chad Grigsby: 34-12
8. Brian Clark: 31-04
9. Wayne Murray: 29-13
10. Randy Sullivan: 28-04
11. Roy Sanford: 26-09
12. Larry Puckett: 25-10