By MLF Communications Staff

After leading the Lewis Smith Lake FLW Pro Circuit since day 2, its no surprise that John Cox pulled out the win. What is surprising and long overdue is a victory for the angler on the Alabama fishery that has been antagonizing him for nearly a decade.

The 2016 FLW Cup Champion made the Top 10 on Lewis Smith Lake several times in the past with the Pro Circuit, including two previous runner-up finishes, but has never been able to seal the deal until now. The win put a $100,000 check in his pocket and added another piece of hardware to his already extensive trophy collection.

Spencer Shuffield stalked the top spot throughout the final day, making another big leap from 7th place into 2nd with the heaviest bag of the day 17-08 bringing his four-day total to 56-11. Although bites were stingy for the entire field, Coxs 16-10 stringer gave him a four-day total of 62-04 and a solid 5-09 lead to firmly secure the win.

Cox maintained the familiar strategy seen all week throughout the final day, refusing to allow himself to do what he does best sight-fish. Ultimately that proved to be the right call for the event, but Cox said a gut check late in the day is what sealed his victory.

I was idling to check-in when I realized I still had 7 minutes left to fish and called an audible I was feeling sick because it felt like it just wasnt enough [weight], said Cox. I knew someone was catching them. So, I pulled over to this pocket and fired my jig right down the drain. A 4-pounder came out and hit it but didnt take it so, I killed it for a second and she ate it.

I knew if I had a chance to win [a tournament on Smith] something magical had to happen. That was it.

Cox said he spent the week throwing a black-and-blue Dirty Jigs Swim Jig teamed with a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Meaty Chunk .

I put the trolling motor on high and swam that jig in and around every piece of shallow cover I could find in the pockets and creeks far up Ryan Creek, said Cox. I threw the jig on a 7-foot, 6-inch heavy Abu Garcia Fantasista Premier rod and an Abu Garcia Revo EXD 8:1 reel.

Cox said that rod and reel was a difference-maker, especially when the fish surprised him and he needed to pick up the slack.

This has been a really special week in so many ways, said Cox. I love this place and love fishing on Smith Lake, even despite my history so this win is incredible.

Day 4 (Final) Standings

1. John Cox -- 16-13 (5) -- 16-13 (5) -- 12-00 (5) -- 16-10 (5) -- 62-04 (20) -- $100,500

2. Spencer Shuffield -- 12-04 (5) -- 10-05 (5) -- 16-10 (5) -- 17-08 (5) -- 56-11 (20) -- $30,000

3. Cody Meyer -- 14-04 (5) -- 13-04 (5) -- 12-01 (4) -- 15-15 (5) -- 55-08 (19) -- $25,200

4. Kyle Cortiana -- 14-08 (5) -- 10-15 (5) -- 14-06 (5) -- 13-14 (5) -- 53-11 (20) -- $20,000

5. Kyle Hall -- 10-14 (5) -- 10-00 (5) -- 17-03 (5) -- 15-08 (5) -- 53-09 (20) -- $19,000

6. Tai Au -- 14-15 (5) -- 12-11 (5) -- 12-12 (5) -- 11-12 (5) -- 52-02 (20) -- $18,500

7. Zack Birge -- 11-13 (5) -- 15-03 (5) -- 12-06 (5) -- 11-08 (5) -- 50-14 (20) -- $17,500

8. Justin Cooper -- 13-04 (5) -- 14-02 (5) -- 11-14 (5) -- 10-15 (5) -- 50-03 (20) -- $16,000

9. Cole Floyd -- 16-02 (5) -- 11-05 (5) -- 11-01 (5) -- 9-07 (5) -- 47-15 (20) -- $15,000

10. Troy Morrow -- 13-11 (5) -- 10-13 (5) -- 13-12 (5) -- 4-11 (2) -- 42-15 (17) -- $14,000