Walker Adds to Lead at Stop 5 Lake Champlain

Alabama pro brings 2-pound lead into Monday’s final day of competition

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (June 16, 2024) – Through two days, pro Jacob Walker of Springville, Alabama, has been in command on Lake Champlain. Sacking up over 21 pounds on Day 1 and 21-1 on Day 2 for a 42-5 total, the first-year Invitationals pro is handily leading Tackle Warehouse Invitationals Stop 5 Presented by 7 Brew Coffee.

Leading the way with LiveScope and smallmouth bass, Walker has an impressive cast in pursuit. Also ‘Scoping for smallmouth, pro Nick Hatfield of Greeneville, Tennessee, and local favorite Alec Morrison of Peru, New York, are both over the 40-pound mark and on his heels. In fourth with 39-1, Milford, Delaware’s Kurt Mitchell is relying on largemouth from docks and rocks, and there are some other notable largemouth anglers in the hunt as well (plus the usual cadre of folks looking at screens). Day 2 on Champlain did put one pattern pretty much to bed – it looks like the smallmouth spawn is about wrapped up.

Only the top 30 pros, based on their two-day cumulative weight, now advance to Championship Monday. The three-day tournament, hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau, featured a roster of 150 anglers competing for a top prize of up to $115,000 and an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2025.

Over the last few years, with the development of the open water bite on Champlain, fishing with company has become more common than ever before on the big lake. It makes sense – you can see a long way, and smallmouth are not sneaky about being hooked. But it might make finding something new – or an untapped area – all the more valuable. This week, Walker has been able to fish in relative peace and quiet, and he seems to have a lot of fish at his disposal.

“It was a little slower start than I expected,” said Walker, who works for a tackle shop in Alabama. “I wasn’t nervous, I was just excited. I was kind of rushing myself, I think. I lost a couple. On one particular rod, I had the drag at a certain point, and then I changed it last night – I think that’s why I was losing them. It was too loose, and they were eating it, and I would swing on them and it would peel. I tightened the drag down and hit ‘em with it hard, I lost a few more, but I caught a lot more.

“I don’t know at what point I had 20 (pounds), I feel like it was probably pretty early, 10 o’clock or so,” he added. “Today was a game of numbers, I swung on a lot more today, to try to catch as much as I could – I caught at least 60 today. The last place I found, I caught at least 25, and they were all over 3 pounds. But, I was trying to catch one over 4, to make a big difference, and I did, eventually.”

Fishing a few areas in a couple of miles of water, Walker isn’t doing anything groundbreaking from a technique standpoint. But, he’s doing it well, and he’s on the cusp of a huge win.

“I still don’t feel like I’m leading,” he said. “It’s really hard to get excited when I catch one, because they’re all pretty close, and I can’t really tell how big they are. If I knew it was a 4½ (pounder), I’d probably be screaming. I’m not anxious or nervous or anything like that, but I still have to catch them. They’re going to catch them even if I don’t – the job’s not done, so I’m not fired up yet.”

Walker has finished runner-up in a Bassmaster Open on Lay Lake – his home fishery – and he’s had a lot of success this season, including some close calls along the way. Now, he’s a day away from his first high-level W.

“Not that I doubt myself, or that anyone doubts me, but it’d prove it – to myself and everybody,” he said. “It would be a big deal for sure, but, I don’t know what’d it’d mean – I hope I can tell you tomorrow.”

The top 30 pros now advancing to the final day of competition on Lake Champlain are:

1st:        Jacob Walker, Springville, Ala., 10 bass, 42-5
2nd:       Nick Hatfield, Greeneville, Tenn., 10 bass, 40-5
3rd:       Alec Morrison, Peru, N.Y., 10 bass, 40-4
4th:        Kurt Mitchell, Milford, Del., 10 bass, 39-1
5th:        Matt Becker, Ten Mile, Tenn., 10 bass, 38-11
6th:        Drew Gill, Mount Carmel, Ill., 10 bass, 38-11
7th:        Brody Campbell, Oxford, Ohio, 10 bass, 38-2
8th:        Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 38-1
9th:        Hunter Eubanks, Landrum, S.C., 10 bass, 37-14
10th:     Jake Lawrence, Buchanan, Tenn., 10 bass, 37-12
11th:     Troy Stokes, Trenton, Mich., 10 bass, 37-11
12th:     Brett Carnright, Plattsburgh, N.Y., 10 bass, 37-10
13th:     Nick LeBrun, Bossier City, La., 10 bass, 37-7
14th:     Erik Luzak, Fenelon Falls, Ontario, Canada, 10 bass, 37-6
15th:     Jaden Parrish, Liberty, Texas, 10 bass, 37-5
16th:     Colby Dark, West Monroe, La., 10 bass, 37-0
17th:     Britt Myers, Jr., Lake Wylie, S.C., 10 bass, 37-0
18th:     Chad Mrazek, Montgomery, Texas, 10 bass, 36-15
19th:     Marshall Hughes, Hemphill, Texas, 10 bass, 36-15
20th:     Mitchell Robinson, Landrum, S.C., 10 bass, 36-14
21st:      Flint Davis, Leesburg, Ga., 10 bass, 36-12
22nd:    Bryan Labelle, Hinesburg, Vt., 10 bass, 36-10
23rd:     Evan Barnes, Dardanelle, Ark., 10 bass, 36-9
24th:     Ken Thompson, Roaring Springs, Pa., 10 bass, 36-9
25th:     Cole Breeden, Lebanon, Mo., 10 bass, 36-9
26th:     Spike Stoker, Cisco, Texas, 10 bass, 36-9
27th:     Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., 10 bass, 36-7
28th:     Ryan Latinville, Plattsburgh, N.Y., 10 bass, 36-6
29th:     Jason Reyes, Huffman, Texas, 10 bass, 36-5
30th:     Jordan Wiggins, Cullman, Ala., 10 bass, 36-4

Complete results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Pro Taylor Parker of Lake View, Alabama, was the recipient of Sunday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass award, as he brought a bass to the scale that weighed in at 6 pounds, 3 ounces to earn the prize.

Overall, there were 625 bass weighing 2,047 pounds, 1 ounce caught by 127 pros Sunday. The catch included 124 five-bass limits.

In Tackle Warehouse Invitational competition, the full field of 150 anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Saturday and Sunday in a five-fish, weigh-in format. Only the top 30 pros, based on their two-day cumulative weight, advance to the final round on Championship Monday, where they will compete for the grand prize of up to $115,000. The winner of the Tackle Warehouse Invitational Stop 5 at Lake Champlain Presented by 7 Brew will be determined by the heaviest three-day cumulative weight and will receive an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2025 on Lake Guntersville in Huntsville, Alabama.

The final 30 anglers will launch at 6:30 a.m. ET Monday from the Plattsburgh City Marina, located at 5 Dock St. in Plattsburgh. Monday’s Championship weigh-in will also be held at the marina and will begin at 2:30 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all launch and weigh-in events and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLFNOW!® live stream and coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

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