John Cox already had an impressive résumé – four career victories, two runner-up finishes in the FLW Angler of the Year race and the 2016 FLW Cup championship. Sunday in Texas, he added another accolade to the FLW record books.
Cox weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12-09 to claim a wire-to-wire victory at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir FLW Pro Circuit. His four-day total of 65-15 was enough to win by a 2-07 margin and earn his fifth career victory in FLW pro-level competition. Each of those five victories have come from a different fishery in a different state.
“This was the best win I’ve ever had,” said Cox, who moved into a tie with David Dudley at No. 6 all-time with five career wins. “I usually start off the year pretty slow and get better through the season. To start the season with a win, I don’t even know what to say. I’m so thankful – this is just incredible.”
Cox caught all of his fish on the first two days of competition from one spot, making one specific cast with one specific bait. He described the area as a 3-foot high spot with a little bit of sand and rock with hydrilla all around it, right at the mouth of one of the best-known spawning creeks on Sam Rayburn.
“I had to make the same cast the entire time,” Cox said. “I could feel the crankbait come over their backs – it felt like logs – and then one would just smoke it.”
After mining the same spot for the first two days with a Berkley Frittside 5 Crankbait (Lone Ranger- and ghost morning dawn-colored), the area fizzled on Saturday. Cox was forced to scramble for the final two days of competition, but in true John Cox-fashion he was able to find just enough weight to hang on and earn the win.
“The last two days have been the hardest that I’ve ever had to grind, ever, just to catch a limit,” Cox said. “Coming back to the weigh-in today, I thought I had blown it.”
Cox managed to scratch up limits on Saturday and Sunday throwing a Dirty Jigs swimjig with a black and blue Berkley Powerbait Maxscent Meaty Chunk and a Z-Man Original ChatterBait with a black and blue Berkley Powerbait Grass Pig. He also added two small keepers Sunday on an unnamed frog.
“The key was definitely the Frittside crankbait and catching all of them on that spot,” Cox went on to say. “I didn’t even own a crankbait rod until this year.”
Cox’s crankbait was thrown on a 7-foot, 6-inch Abu Garcia Veritas Winch rod paired with an Abu Garcia Revo EXD casting reel.
Here are the final totals for the top 10:
1. John Cox: 65-15
2. Tommy Dickerson: 63-08
3. Darold Gleason: 62-14
4. Corey Neece: 59-09
5. Ron Nelson: 57-05
6. Scott Dobson: 56-10
7. Kerry Milner: 54-00
8. Sam George: 52-13
9. Alex Davis: 52-12
10. Jonathan Canada: 51-11
For complete final standings, click here.