CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - Sunday was the final day of competition at the 2020 SiteOne Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River in Clayton with a first place check of $100,000 dollars on the line.
Unlike the first 3 days of the SiteOne Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River, rough conditions greeted the 10 anglers competing for the title on Sunday.
The tournament boiled down to a 2 man race for the title between the leader the first 3 days, Paul Mueller, and Chris Johnston, who held down 2nd place through 3 days of fishing.
Mueller entered the day with just more than a 2 pound lead over Johnston, but unlike the first 3 days of fishing, where he averaged 25.5 pounds, Mueller would hit a rough patch and haul in 5 fish for 18 pounds 15 ounces on Sunday for a 4 day total of 95 pounds 14 ounces.
”It was rough right from the get-go and I made a decision to go. You know, I put all my eggs into Lake Ontario basket and, you know, I just didn’t think I could put together a good bag to contend in the river today just given the conditions. And I don’t have any complaints other than maybe I should have fished there a little bit longer. But you never know, I mean the winds building and the waves are getting- They’re not getting any smaller so what an incredible week,” said Mueller, who finished second.
Chris Johnston, meantime, was looking to rebound from a heartbreaking final day loss in Waddington last year, a tournament he led the first 3 days and he would do just that.
Johnston would reel in 5 fish on Sunday for a total weight of 22 pounds 12 ounces and a 4 day total of 97 pounds 8 ounces, giving him the 2020 SiteOne Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence title and making him the first ever Canadian to win a Bassmaster Elite event.
”It’s great. 2020′s been a crazy year fishing wise for me. I had 2 of the worst tournaments of probably my career and to bounce back here on the St. Lawrence of all places, it’s just incredible. Kinda at a loss for words and I’ve wanted this bad, especially on the St. Lawrence River. A big tournament win and it finally came together. Normally when the weather conditions come like this on the 3rd day, I’ve been burned. I couldn’t go out to the lake and today it was still open and luckily I got out there and was able to get it done,” said Johnston.
An incredible finish to a great week of fishing. A week most of the anglers said was one they will remember for years to come.
”I had a great time. These people in Clayton are awesome. I mean, I don’t know how, I’ve had hundreds of people every day come running down the dock and just talk to me and hey, I told my cameraman this morning on the way to our first spot. I said ‘man ‚you hungry today,’ I said when they get us on live I’m gonna ask for some sandwiches and man it wasn’t 30 minutes later here come a guy bringing me some sandwiches,” said Brock Mosley, who finished in third.