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FLW’s Scott Mooneyham on Close Calls and His First Win

Aug 15, 2016 - Pro fisherman Scott Mooneyham won his first FLW Bass Fishing League win recently, and he blogs that a series of close calls led him full circle to the winner’s circle.

When I recently pulled off my first FLW Bass Fishing League win, finishing a single ounce ahead of the second-place finisher on Lake Gaston in late April, a friend posted on Facebook, “You went back and got it. So close last time.”

He wasn’t talking about the previous Piedmont Division tournament on Kerr Lake a month earlier, where I finished near the bottom. Rather, his reference traced back to another BFL tournament on Lake Gaston, though seven years earlier. The story behind that event had become notorious among a few of my fishing buddies. It was the most bizarre tournament fishing day of my life – one filled with joy, agony and regret.

To appreciate the sense of redemption and relief that I felt by winning on Lake Gaston this year, it’s necessary to understand what happened on that day in 2009…

… After the bite slowed down toward the middle of the day, we moved on and I pulled up to some brush that ran by a creek-channel swing. Tossing a spinnerbait, I hooked a 2 1/2-pounder on the first cast. That enabled me to cull a 14-inch fish. I found the smallest fish in the livewell quickly, even though I had not been using cull tags. After making another cast or two, and with two hours still left in the tournament day, it occurred to me that it was time to use cull tags. Surely I was going to catch another good bass. I had been doing it all day.

I pulled all the fish out of the livewell so that I could get a good gander at the size of each, and began attaching the cull tags. Then I tossed them back in the livewell. One, two, three, four – where’s my fifth keeper? Panic started to set in. I looked in the livewell. Yep, just four. I reached under a cable cutaway that runs along the side rail to the bilge area on that particular boat. I felt nothing. I looked under everything; still nothing.

After 15 minutes of searching, my co-angler and I reached the only obvious conclusion: My fifth keeper must have somehow flipped out of the boat.

Read the full post at FLWFishing.com.

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