John Cox stayed atop the standings at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir FLW Pro Circuit for a third straight day as his 13-03 stringer gave him a 53-06 total. After beginning day 3 with an advantage of more than 5 pounds, he'll head into the final round with a 12-ounce lead over 2nd-place Cory Neece, who gained five places with a day-best 20-07 haul.
Darold Gleason, in 3rd with 53-01, is the only other angler within 7 pounds of Cox.
“I am honestly so thrilled to have caught 13 pounds today,” said Cox, who has four previous wins in FLW pro competition. “Nothing felt right. I pulled up to my magic spot and everything seemed okay – the wind was blowing a little bit from a different direction, but no big deal. I threw out there and caught a 12-incher and that was it. I tried to stay there and wait, but it just wasn’t happening.
“I ended up just running around until I saw something that looked good, then I’d stop and fish. I probably stopped 100 times and about every 10th stop I’d catch something.”
Cox had caught his fish earlier this week on a Berkley Frittside crankbait, but when his main area fizzled he was forced to switch to a Z-Man ChatterBait to cover more water.
“I couldn’t really throw the crankbait today because I was moving too fast,” Cox said. “I had the trolling motor on 100 and was always looking for my next cast.
“Nothing came on the same thing,” he continued. “One came off of an isolated stick. One came off of a laydown. One came on a rocky point. One came off of a drain in the back of a pocket. I got so lucky to catch what I did.”
The upside for Cox after day 3 was that he survived and still has the lead going into the final day.
“I was looking at my past results and it really seemed like I bombed on a lot of day 3s last year,” Cox went on to say. “I was thinking that I blew it again today and was going to drop to 5th or 6th and really have to get lucky and catch a big fish tomorrow. I still think I’ll need some big fish – Neece caught 20 (pounds) today and he’s on something magical – but I’m hoping my little area turns back on, and if it doesn’t we’ll scramble again and see what happens.”
Here are the 10 anglers who advanced to the final day:
1. John Cox: 53-06
2. Corey Neece: 52-10
3. Darold Gleason: 50-01
4. Sam George: 46-03
5. Tommy Dickerson: 45-08
6. Jonathan Canada: 45-08
7. Kerry Milner: 45-02
8. Scott Dobson: 43-08
9. Ron Nelson: 43-07
10. Alex Davis: 43-04
For full standings, click here.