OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – Travis Harriman of Huntsville, Ark., only brought one bass weighing 4 pounds, 4 ounces to the scale Saturday, but it was still enough to hang and win the third and final event in the MLF Toyota Series Plains Division at Lake of the Ozarks.
“I’m in disbelief,” said Harriman, who earned $40,000 for the victory. “When I checked in I thought for sure the writing was on the wall. I thought there was no shot one bass would bring it home.
“They say when it’s your time, it’s your time. Today is truly a testament of it. Thank the Lord above I got the one right bite that I needed.”
It truly was a dramatic week for Harriman from the start.
Initially, he just came into the event hoping to secure a berth into the Toyota Series Championship on his home waters of Table Rock Lake. Then he located an area of docks up the Niangua arm of the lake that had a significant amount of bait on them that seemed to change everything.
First thing in the morning he’d hit some deeper docks, which produced a 5-pound bite within minutes each of the first two mornings. Then he’d run some shallower docks where he noticed shad were flicking and bluegill were roaming around.
Around the deeper docks, he went with a 3/4-ounce Jewel Football Jig (green pumpkin/purple flash) and a Strike King Rage Scounbug trailer. Up shallow, it was a 1/2-ounce Jewel J-Lock Flip’N’ Jig in the same color with the same trailer. Both were tossed on 7-foot VIRTUS|Jewel Red Diamond rods, going with the flip/pitch model for the football jig and the Titan model for the J-Lock. He said the rod choice was key to be able to skip his jig to “where the sun don’t ever shine.” To get his fish out from the darkest recesses, he used 25-pound Strike King Tour Grade Fluorocarbon.
Considering his fast starts meant he barely touched all his good stuff, he was more than pumped to “burn it all down” on the final morning. Problem is, local anglers got there first, as he said almost all his initial starting docks had people fishing them first thing in the morning.
“That really got me off my rotation,” Harriman said. “I ended up going shallow a lot earlier than I had been, and I figured I’d have plenty of time to catch a limit.”
An entire day of fishing later, he’d only had two bites, and he lost the first one. That fish, for sure, was one he felt would haunt him.
“I was kicking myself over that lost fish,” Harriman said. “I’d fished clean all week long. You’re not supposed get them all out from under docks, but I had up until that one. I thought that one was going to cost me.
“What do you say? I’m glad it didn’t.”
Here are the final totals for the Top 10:
1. Travis Harriman, Huntsville, Ark., 15 bass, 42-12, $40,000
2. Cody Huff, Ava, Mo., 15 bass, 41-14, $15,500
3. Joe Grafeman, Camdenton, Mo., 15 bass, 41-14, $13,200
4. Jim Stamper, Montreal, Mo., 15 bass, 41-04, $10,000
5. Kirk Smith, Edmond, Okla., 15 bass, 40-11, $9,000
6. Adam Boehle, Warrenton, Mo., 15 bass, 40-07, $8,000
7. Drew Gill, Mount Carmel, Ill., 15 bass, 40-02, $7,000
8. Corey Cook, Lebanon, Mo., 15 bass, 40-01, $6,000
9. Michael Harlin, Sunrise Beach, Mo., 15 bass, 39-07, $5,000
10. Brad Jelinek, Lincoln, Mo., 12 bass, 37-13, $4,500