Tourney Patterns

How Chris Jones won the AR River Open

Home “lake” jinx? Check. Fished history? Check. Astronomical odds to get back in the Classic? Check. Welcome to Chris Jones’ world dude! He did this exact same thing in 2013 — Open outta Muskogee >> win >> Classic — here’s how he did it this time.


Chris don’t need no practice on that river man! Lol just kiddin’…sorta:

> “…before the meeting I knew I wanted to fish 1 day up at Muskogee and 1 day at Kerr Pool (pool 15 below the launch).

> “If I got to make the final day, I knew my best chance to catch a good sack was at Kerr.”


Thursday he went to Kerr:

> “We didn’t have good weather, I caught 12-13 lbs and knew that’s all I needed to be in it.

> “It was sunny and hot, not much wind. I had several bites but they’d roll on the jig so I’d have to flip back in there [water willows] several times with a YUM Bad Mamma or Christie Critter (both black neon).

> “It was too slow to catch a big bag.”

He caught 1 on a BOOYAH Poppin Pad Crasher (dart frog = black/yellow), and the other 4 were on the plastics which he flipped after fish swirled on a prototype white BOOYAH swim jig (white) with a 3.25″ YUM Craw Chunk (pearl silver flake).

Friday he “played it safe” and stayed in Three Forks Pool (pool 16), a creek he knew:

> “I knew I was in contention and knew I had to catch a limit to stay in it.

> “…isolated logs and stumps I knew guys didn’t beat up in the week, stuff I’ve known for years. I probably ran 100 pieces of it to catch 7 keepers.”

> “…flipping a Christie Critter and Bad Mamma, black/blue and bama magic.

> “I lost about a 3-lber that really hurt, and I was sitting in 8th going into the final day. I’d told myself that if I ever made the top 12 I’d never leave Three Forks because they turn all the [release] fish loose there. There’s the river and current there, and there’s nowhere for fish to go except to the bank.

> “The was the plan, but all of the top 3 [guys after day 2] were on [those] fish [so he knew] can’t catch more than 13 [lbs] there.”

13 wouldn’t do it for him so:

> “…my only chance was go to Kerr. When I left the house it was a little foggy and windy, drizzling rain…major front coming. Whenever I’ve caught a giant sack at Kerr, it’s been that situation.

> “It was overcast when we put in — it rained off and on. We were right ahead of that front coming.

> “Basically I said I’m gonna finish 12th or catch a giant sack. So I ran down there and it was on. I caught 30 keepers, lost 2 keepers and still weighted 19 lbs.

> “I fished the same way I did Thursday, but the points I caught them on [0-3′] had to have wind on them and I switched to black/blue because it was real dark.”

All his day 3 fish came on a 3/8-oz prototype BOOYAH swim-jig (b/b/purple/chart) with a 3.25″ YUM Craw Chunk (black neon). 7′ 4″ H swim-jig rod, BPS Johnny Morris Platinum Reel (8:1), 60-lb Vicious Braid.

> “You had to pump it…shake that jig when you got around a little clump of water willow. When it was matted, I’d reel it up quick, give it a little pause, let it sink and they’d get it.”


> That BOOYAH swim-jig will be out sometime next year. It’s based on an AR “secret” jig that Chris and a few other guys wanted modified. Word is it comes through hard and soft cover real well and it doesn’t roll over. Will be 1/2- and 5/16-oz.

> “My Garmins were key. I was running stuff that was real hairy [so the maps were key] but the most important part was that new Garmin Force. It’s so fast and so quiet — I could keep it on high and go point to point [without starting the big motor].”

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