Andy Morgan Claims Hometown Win on Chickamauga

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MLF pro Andy Morgan weighed in 34 largemouth bass for 80-0 pounds on Championship Sunday to claim hometown win on Lake Chickamauga. (Photo by Garrick Dixon, MLF)
Morgan doesn’t mind taking a short moment to show off a fish for the cameras. (Photo: Richard Simms)

Andy Morgan ran away from the pack to win the Major League Fishing® (MLF) Bass Pro Tour event on Chickamuaga Lake by nearly 20 pounds. The win put a $100,000 check in his pocket. Morgan was in a far different mood Sunday afternoon than he was on Wednesday following his first round of fishing.

Wednesday Morgan was in 21st place and in danger of being cut from the field. But a strong recovery Friday sent him to Saturday’s Knockout Round and ultimately Sunday’s Top 10 Final. Morgan took the lead in the first ten minutes of fishing Sunday and never lost it.

Fishing a lake that he grew up on – and finishing the day in a pocket that he and his dad have won “a number of April tournaments in over the years” – Morgan weighed in 34 Lake Chickamauga largemouth for 80-0 pounds to run away with the Championship Round.

MLF Official Mike Ketcher keeps a watchful eye as Morgan releases a scorable bass. MLF anglers are required to return their fish gently to the water from “below the gunwale of the boat.” It’s illegal to just pitch fish in the water and doing so results in a penalty – a three-minute time out from fishing. (Photo: Richard Simms)

“I wanted to win one more tournament on Chickamauga,” Morgan admitted. “I can’t explain how hard it is to win an event at this level, and I can’t explain just how bad I wanted to win right here in front of my family and friends – I wanted it bad. It means the world to me to be able to come out here on this lake where I won my first tournament when I was 15, fish against this bunch of guys, and get that trophy. I’m awful proud of it.”

Jared Lintner finished second with 60-7, Todd Faircloth was third with 59-5, Jacob Powroznik was fourth with 54-4 and Mike Iaconelli completed the Top 5 with 54-2. Michael Neal, another Rhea County favorite fishing the Top 10 final, didn’t fare so well finishing in tenth place. He still earned a $12,000 check.

Morgan Committed to One Spot Early

As a camera boat followed Rhea County Pro Andy Morgan Wednesday afternoon, he fared well boating several bass. But he ended the day in 21st place, in danger of being of cut from the field. But a strong recovery Friday and Saturday catapulted into Sunday’s final. (Photo: Richard Simms)

Morgan fished Championship Sunday as one would expect a seasoned veteran to work his home fishery, committing his entire championship round to a long backwater north of Dayton that locals refer to as “The Branch”. Morgan woke up on Championship Sunday, looked at the weather forecast calling for heavy morning rain and afternoon winds, and knew immediately that he had an outstanding chance for a big day in two sloughs inside “The Branch”.

“As soon as I saw the weather, I knew that I wasn’t going to leave that area all day,” Morgan confirmed. “I was going to fish it all day long and figure it out, because I thought it had the best population of fish to work on. I knew it could all go down right in those two sloughs, and that I needed to just stay put and be patient.”

Before Morgan even gets the fish landed, MLF Official Mike Ketcher is up and ready with the scale. Ketcher said, “I never want them to wait on me.” All bass caught in MLF events are weighed and immediately released. (Photo: Richard Simms)

Morgan’s patience paid off. The Favorite Fishing pro worked his way around two areas he refers to as “Back Slough” and “Bus Slough” with a jig and Zoom Super Salt Plus Z Craw, a lipless crankbait and a vibrating jig, picking up 11 fish apiece in the first and second periods to claim and hold a 7-1 lead heading into the final period.

Jared Lintner, who spent a good part of his day sight fishing, had crept to within 2 pounds of Morgan midway through Period 2 and had located one spawner that he identified as “a double-digit fish.” But while Lintner added 11 fish to his SCORETRACKER™ total through the final 2 ½ hours of competition, eight of those were under 2 pounds; Morgan, meanwhile, connected with his two biggest fish of the day – a 5-7 and a 6-9 – and a 4-4 to gradually open up his lead.

“I had no other competitors in my area and the weather kept the local traffic out, so I had the whole place to myself,” Morgan said. “I’ve had some pretty special days on Chickamauga – I won my first Angler of the Year title on this lake – but today was the one day in my whole career where the deck was stacked for me to win.”

Morgan finished the week with 224-8, a record for weight caught in a Bass Pro Tour event. He and Lintner’s 106 fish caught is also a record.

Bass Pro Tour Stage Four By the Numbers

  • Total Weight 7,415 pounds, 9 ounces
  • Total Fish 3,829 fish
  • 5-plus pounds 74 fish
  • 6-plus pounds 36 fish
  • 7-plus pounds 17 fish

Records Broken

  • Total Event Weight 7,415 pounds, 9 ounces
  • Total Event Fish Caught 3,829
  • Most Overall Weight 224 pounds, 8 (Andy Morgan)
  • Most Fish Caught 106 (Jared Lintner & Andy Morgan)
  • Two-Day Weight 105 pounds, 6 ounces (Zack Birge)

Next Up on the Bass Pro Tour

The 80-man MLF Bass Pro Tour field will have a two-week break before returning to competition for Stage Five on Smith Lake in Cullman, Alabama, April 30 to May 5.

For more information on the MLF Bass Pro Tour and its anglers, rules and schedule, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.

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