GEORGETOWN, S.C. —  Committing his day to a deeper pocket off the Waccamaw River, Arkansas angler Stetson Blaylock caught the largest five-bass limit of the week, weighing 17 pounds, 15 ounces, and took over the lead at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite at Winyah Bay with a three-day total of 41-12.

Blaylock said his selected area provided bass with a comfortable habitat beyond the spawn. He admitted he started the day concerned that he was running out of fish, but his persistence was rewarded with a day of steady productivity.

“I really thought that it was drying up, and I was almost to the point of thinking, ‘Okay, I’m going to end up catching five 12-inchers and wherever it happens, it happens,’” Blaylock said. “I caught that first big one — a 4-pounder at 9:50 — and that let me know that things were happening there that I wasn’t aware of.

“I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that (the pocket) is so deep out in the middle, those fish have an opportunity to keep moving up and keep moving up. I don’t think you can fish it out.”

Blaylock caught his fish by flipping a Texas-rigged YUM Christie Craw and skipping a wacky-rigged YUM Dinger. He added a nail weight to the latter for a strategic presentation.

“I think that’s the difference between me and a lot of the guys; everyone’s probably throwing weightless wacky rigs, but it seems that putting that nail weight in it gets it down faster and maybe triggers a strike or two that a slow fall won’t,” he said.

Tides proved critical in two aspects of Blaylock’s success. First, the morning’s falling tide facilitated his skipping presentations by creating an increasingly wider gap between the water’s surface and overhanging limbs. Toward the end of his day, rising water ushered bedding female bass back into a catchable position.

Blaylock’s biggest bass, a 5-pounder, had dropped nearly out of sight when he spotted the bed during low water. Returning when there was more water over the spot allowed him to tempt his day-maker.

While most of the field again made the long run south from the takeoff spot to the Cooper River, Blaylock said he refused to let thoughts of what others might be doing distract him or diminish his confidence.

“These fisheries can hurt you and burn you so bad that I try not to worry about what’s going on and try to concentrate on the next bite,” he said “That first big one I caught surprised me. I had already thoroughly fished that area the first two days, and she was just sitting up there fresh and ready to go. That means there are more fish in there than I’d thought.”

Noting that fellow angler Koby Kreiger had also fished the same area, Blaylock said he’s comfortable returning to the spot for the final round.

“I don’t know if it will be easy to catch five big ones again, but the opportunity is there,” he said. “I’m past worrying about it. I’m just going to go in there and fish like I’m the only guy in there and hope I can get five more good bites.”

In second place, Canadian Cory Johnston ran to the Cooper River and found the day’s second largest bag, a limit of 17-6 that gave him a total weight of 40-4. Noting that he threw reaction baits and soft plastics, Johnston said he quickly dialed into what the bass were doing, and he was happy to discover that more bass are moving into the areas each day.

“Today, I feel that a lot more big fish have moved in. I probably caught 25 fish today,” he said. “We had a good tide today and not a lot of wind, so it was a ‘true’ tide, and that really helped. It’s a big area but there are three specific spots within the area. They’re hard-bottom spots, and there are a lot of fish on them.”

In third place, Alabama’s Clent Davis also had his biggest day of the week. His Day 3 limit of 16-6 gave him a total weight of 38-6. Fishing in the Waccamaw River, Davis fished reeds and trees on high tide and switched to arrowhead pads during low tide.

“I fished a Nichols Saber swim jig in the shad spawn color with a white Mister Twister Buzz Bug trailer all day,” Davis said. “I just have a lot of confidence in that bait. The last time we were here, I caught a pretty good bag on it. I’ve caught 15 keepers on it every day.”

Rounding out the Top 5 are Koby Kreiger with 36-10 and John Crews with 36-5.

Crews caught a 6-7 today to anchor his catch, but Jason Williamson of Wagener, S.C., leads the $1,500 Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award with a 6-10 he caught in the first  round of competition.

Takeoff on Championship Sunday will be at 7 a.m. ET out of Carroll Ashmore Campbell Marine Complex, and the final weigh-in is scheduled at the same location beginning at 3:15 p.m.

2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2019 Bassmaster Elite At Winyah Bay Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops

2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors:  Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley

2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Carhartt, Lowrance, Mossy Oak Fishing, T-H Marine, Academy Sports + Outdoors

Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite at Winyah Bay Host Sponsor: Georgetown County

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 510,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, BassPro.com Bassmaster Open Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

                    2019 Bassmaster Elite at Winyah Bay 4/11-4/14
                             Winyah Bay, Georgetown  SC.
                           (PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 3

   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR              15  41-12  100
  Day 1: 5   11-06     Day 2: 5   12-07     Day 3: 5   17-15
2.  Cory Johnston          Cavan CANADA            15  40-04   99
  Day 1: 5   11-02     Day 2: 5   11-12     Day 3: 5   17-06
3.  Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL          15  38-06   98
  Day 1: 5   12-14     Day 2: 5   09-02     Day 3: 5   16-06
4.  Koby Kreiger           Alva, FL                15  36-10   97
  Day 1: 5   08-11     Day 2: 5   12-11     Day 3: 5   15-04
5.  John Crews Jr          Salem, VA               15  36-05   96
  Day 1: 5   11-13     Day 2: 5   08-15     Day 3: 5   15-09
6.  Luke Palmer            Coalgate, OK            15  35-13   95
  Day 1: 5   14-02     Day 2: 5   12-06     Day 3: 5   09-05
7.  Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC             15  35-03   94
  Day 1: 5   15-11     Day 2: 5   08-11     Day 3: 5   10-13
8.  Scott Canterbury       Odenville, AL           15  34-04   93
  Day 1: 5   11-15     Day 2: 5   07-01     Day 3: 5   15-04
9.  Jesse Tacoronte        Kissimmee, FL           15  33-14   92
  Day 1: 5   10-14     Day 2: 5   13-07     Day 3: 5   09-09
10. Patrick Walters        Summerville, SC         15  33-12   91
  Day 1: 5   11-04     Day 2: 5   10-00     Day 3: 5   12-08
11. Caleb Sumrall          New Iberia, LA          15  33-04   90  $10,000.00
  Day 1: 5   07-11     Day 2: 5   13-07     Day 3: 5   12-02
12. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN          14  32-06   89  $10,000.00
  Day 1: 5   13-04     Day 2: 5   13-15     Day 3: 4   05-03
13. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS        15  31-15   88  $10,000.00
  Day 1: 5   09-11     Day 2: 5   11-15     Day 3: 5   10-05
14. Rob Digh               Denver, NC              15  31-14   87  $10,000.00
  Day 1: 5   09-13     Day 2: 5   11-01     Day 3: 5   11-00
15. Jake Whitaker          Fairview, NC            15  31-13   86  $10,000.00
  Day 1: 5   10-14     Day 2: 5   10-00     Day 3: 5   10-15
16. Lee Livesay            Gladewater, TX          15  31-08   85  $10,000.00
  Day 1: 5   07-11     Day 2: 5   17-03     Day 3: 5   06-10
17. Tyler Rivet            Raceland, LA            15  31-02   84  $10,000.00
  Day 1: 5   09-15     Day 2: 5   10-08     Day 3: 5   10-11
18. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL            15  30-14   83  $10,000.00
  Day 1: 5   09-10     Day 2: 5   12-01     Day 3: 5   09-03
19. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ              15  30-12   82  $10,000.00
  Day 1: 5   12-06     Day 2: 5   10-06     Day 3: 5   08-00
20. Shane LeHew            Catawba, NC             14  30-06   81  $10,000.00
  Day 1: 4   07-05     Day 2: 5   11-11     Day 3: 5   11-06
21. Bill Weidler           Helena, AL              12  30-05   80   $7,500.00
  Day 1: 4   08-10     Day 2: 5   14-10     Day 3: 3   07-01
22. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY             15  29-15   79   $7,500.00
  Day 1: 5   08-10     Day 2: 5   11-01     Day 3: 5   10-04
23. Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY             15  29-14   78   $7,500.00
  Day 1: 5   10-09     Day 2: 5   09-10     Day 3: 5   09-11
24. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL             15  29-09   77   $7,500.00
  Day 1: 5   10-09     Day 2: 5   07-08     Day 3: 5   11-08
25. Hunter Shryock         Newcomerstown, OH       10  29-02   76   $7,500.00
  Day 1: 5   15-08     Day 2: 3   08-01     Day 3: 2   05-09
26. Chris Johnston         Peterborough Ontario CA 15  29-00   75   $7,500.00
  Day 1: 5   07-01     Day 2: 5   13-04     Day 3: 5   08-11
27. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX              15  28-06   74   $7,500.00
  Day 1: 5   12-01     Day 2: 5   07-07     Day 3: 5   08-14
28. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN        15  28-06   73   $7,500.00
  Day 1: 5   10-07     Day 2: 5   08-00     Day 3: 5   09-15
29. Garrett Paquette       Canton, MI              12  28-00   72   $7,500.00
  Day 1: 5   12-08     Day 2: 2   05-07     Day 3: 5   10-01
30. Brandon Card           Knoxville, TN           14  27-02   71   $7,500.00
  Day 1: 5   09-09     Day 2: 5   08-06     Day 3: 4   09-03
31. Dale Hightower         Mannford, OK            14  26-05   70   $7,500.00
  Day 1: 5   09-05     Day 2: 5   09-02     Day 3: 4   07-14
32. Mike Huff              Corbin, KY              15  25-15   69   $7,500.00
  Day 1: 5   07-06     Day 2: 5   11-09     Day 3: 5   07-00
33. Ray Hanselman Jr       Del Rio, TX             15  24-04   68   $7,500.00
  Day 1: 5   10-11     Day 2: 5   07-05     Day 3: 5   06-04
34. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO        12  22-08   67   $7,500.00
  Day 1: 5   07-05     Day 2: 5   12-12     Day 3: 2   02-07
35. Todd Auten             Lake Wylie, SC           6  18-11   66   $7,500.00
  Day 1: 1   03-01     Day 2: 5   15-10     Day 3: 0   00-00
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Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
 1        62       342       631-04
 2        60       347       674-12
 3        28       159       349-12
----------------------------------
         150       848      1655-12