Chris Johnston Leads Day Two of 2022 Bassmaster Elite Series Lake Oahe

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2022 Bassmaster Elite Series Lake Oahe Day Two Leader Chris Johnston – photo by Seigo Saito – B.A.S.S.

MOBRIDGE, S.D. — Chris Johnston’s primary spot on Lake Oahe doesn’t look particularly special, but it holds big smallmouth that have lifted him to the lead at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Lake Oahe with a two-day total of 37 pounds, 12 ounces.

Entering Day 2 in seventh place with 18-15, the Otonabee, Ontario, native caught 18-13 Friday and holds a 7-ounce lead over second-place Austin Felix and a 10-ounce lead over third-place Patrick Walters.

“I’m thrilled with it,” Johnston said. “I caught them all right where I caught them yesterday. I had them by about 9:30. There’s not a lot of fish there and I wasn’t seeing many left. But after I caught them yesterday morning, I didn’t see any fish. So, some new ones moved up today and I was able to catch them.”

While the north wind raced across Lake Oahe the entirety of the day, creating rough and wavy conditions, the 2021 St. Lawrence River Elite champion caught a limit quickly using mostly the new Spro CJ Smasher as well as a couple of other baits. A key adjustment, however, led to two big bites late in the morning.

“I am (Garmin) LiveScoping around and today they actually pushed out deeper on me,” Johnston said. “I had three good ones and I wasn’t seeing any more, so I pushed out deeper and caught two more big ones and left it after that.”

There isn’t anything remarkable about his primary area. While there is a hard bottom and access to deep water, Johnston said there is nothing that really sets it apart from anything else on the lake other than the quality it seems to hold.

He added that he has been the only angler in the area.

If I get bit there, they are big ones,” he said. “In practice, I caught two 4s there and every fish seems to be 3-plus pounds. There are just better quality fish in this one little area.”

With a limit filled and the wind battering much of the lake, Johnston began his journey back to check-in three hours early. Winds are predicted to calm down significantly and shift to the east on Semifinal Saturday, which will allow him to move more freely around Lake Oahe.

“I don’t think the fishing is going to be any better with the calm weather, but I can hit more spots,” Johnston explained. “Today I left almost three hours early to come back. I didn’t know how rough it was going to be. I figured I had a decent weight and there was no point in pushing it and beating my boat up. It will give me a lot more fishing time.”

As boat 80 on Day 1, Felix was discouraged to find several competitors on his best spot first thing in the morning, forcing him to scramble to collect the 14-2 limit that put him in 34th. But with a much more favorable boat number Friday, Felix vaulted up the leaderboard with the VMC Monster Bag thus far, a 23-3 sack of smallmouth that has him in second place with a two-day mark of 37-5.

“Honestly I could just get on something. With the wind the way it was the last two days, you can’t fish that much and the fish are on pretty obvious stuff. The spot I started on today had four boats on it (yesterday) so I kept driving,” he said. “Today, I got on it and my first drop was a 2 3/4, my second drop was a 5 1/2 and then it slowed down a little.

Lee (Livesay) pulled in and we took our time and grinded it out. We each probably caught 10 or 15 off of that hole.”

Felix’s bag today resembled more of what he thought Lake Oahe would be like when he finished his pre-practice last August.

“I had over 25 one day and over 26 another day,” Felix said. “There were giants everywhere. It wasn’t like you would catch six fish. You would catch a 5-pounder and 10 bass would follow it to the boat and sit under the boat, and you could catch all 10 of them if you wanted to.”

Walters held steady in third place with 37-2, adding 16-13 to his Day 1 bag of 20-5. He said he caught a quality smallmouth early on, but had to grind out the rest of his bites.

“It was probably 10:30 when I had three fish and by 11:30 I had five,” Walters said. “There are some good fish in the area. I thought 15 per day after three days would put you in the Top 10. I got lucky and got some really good bites the last two days.

“What I have seen is also better than what I thought. If you get a good day, I think I can catch more than what I caught the first day.”

With calmer conditions ahead, Walters said Lake Oahe could show what it is really made of the rest of the tournament.

“I think it can show out if I can get to my destination and fish for them,” he said. “I am catching them panning (forward-facing sonar) and catching them out deep — and with that water today, it makes it hard to fish. If you can get down there in an efficient amount of time and move around, you can catch them.”

Japanese pro Masayuki Matsushita earned the Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the Day with a 5-11 smallmouth, but Brandon Cobb still holds the overall Big Bass with the 5-12 he landed on Day 1.

Rathdrum, Idaho, native Brandon Palaniuk remains atop the Progressive Insurance Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings with 647 points, but missed the cut with a 66th-place finish. Johnston has moved to second with his strong performance thus far with 602 points and Fayetteville, Tenn., native Brandon Lester is third with 600.

Wisconsin pro Jay Przekurat leads the Falcon Rods Bassmaster Rookie of the Year race with 517 points followed by Missouri’s Cody Huff with 475 and Tennessee’s Jacob Foutz with 456.

The field will be cut to the Top 47 anglers for Semifinal Saturday, and the Top 10 will compete on Championship Sunday for a first-place prize of $100,000.

Bassmaster LIVE Coverage of Day 3 will begin on FS1 at 7 a.m. CT and run through noon before transitioning to Bassmaster.com from noon to 2 p.m. The weigh-in will begin at the Walleye Up Statue around 3 p.m. on Bassmaster.com.

The tournament is being hosted by the Mobridge Chamber of Commerce.

2022 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2022 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Progressive Insurance, Ranger Boats, Rapala, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha
2022 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Daiwa, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Marathon, Strike King, Triton Boats, VMC
2022 Bassmaster Conservation Partners: AFTCO, Yamaha Rightwaters

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S., which encompasses the Bassmaster tournament leagues, events and media platforms, is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 515,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), TV show, radio show, social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, St. Croix Bassmaster Opens Series presented by Mossy Oak Fishing, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Strike King Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Abu Garcia Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Team Championship, Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series powered by TourneyX, Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup Championship presented by Skeeter and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic.

2022 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Lake Oahe 8/18-8/21
Lake Oahe, Mobridge  SD.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 2

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Chris Johnston         Otonabee Ontario CANADA 10  37-12  100
Day 1: 5   18-15     Day 2: 5   18-13
2.  Austin Felix           Eden Prairie, MN        10  37-05   99
Day 1: 5   14-02     Day 2: 5   23-03
3.  Patrick Walters        Summerville, SC         10  37-02   98
Day 1: 5   20-05     Day 2: 5   16-13
4.  Marc Frazier           Newnan, GA              10  36-06   97
Day 1: 5   16-04     Day 2: 5   20-02
5.  Caleb Kuphall          Mukwonago, WI           10  36-04   96
Day 1: 5   14-14     Day 2: 5   21-06
6.  Brandon Card           Salisbury, NC            9  34-04   95
Day 1: 5   21-10     Day 2: 4   12-10
7.  Taku Ito               Chiba JAPAN             10  34-01   94
Day 1: 5   17-04     Day 2: 5   16-13
8.  Tyler Rivet            Raceland, LA            10  33-11   93
Day 1: 5   14-12     Day 2: 5   18-15
9.  Matt Robertson         Kuttawa, KY             10  33-09   92
Day 1: 5   16-01     Day 2: 5   17-08
10. Jake Whitaker          Hendersonville, NC      10  33-03   91
Day 1: 5   17-02     Day 2: 5   16-01
11. Drew Cook              Cairo, GA               10  32-00   90
Day 1: 5   20-06     Day 2: 5   11-10
12. Jeff Gustafson         Keewatin Ontario CANADA 10  31-12   89
Day 1: 5   19-09     Day 2: 5   12-03
13. Brandon Cobb           Greenwood, SC           10  30-13   88   $1,000.00
Day 1: 5   18-13     Day 2: 5   12-00
14. Cody Huff              Ava, MO                 10  30-09   87
Day 1: 5   14-05     Day 2: 5   16-04
15. Frank Talley           Temple, TX               9  30-06   86
Day 1: 5   18-00     Day 2: 4   12-06
16. Bryan New              Saluda, SC              10  30-00   85
Day 1: 5   19-05     Day 2: 5   10-11
17. Pat Schlapper          Eleva, WI               10  30-00   84
Day 1: 5   10-15     Day 2: 5   19-01
18. Lee Livesay            Longview, TX            10  29-11   83
Day 1: 5   10-10     Day 2: 5   19-01
19. Luke Palmer            Coalgate, OK            10  29-06   82
Day 1: 5   13-05     Day 2: 5   16-01
20. Scott Canterbury       Odenville, AL           10  29-04   81
Day 1: 5   15-07     Day 2: 5   13-13
21. Seth Feider            New Market, MN          10  29-02   80
Day 1: 5   15-14     Day 2: 5   13-04
22. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS        10  28-13   79
Day 1: 5   16-07     Day 2: 5   12-06
23. Masayuki Matsushita    Tokoname-Shi JAPAN      10  27-15   78   $1,000.00
Day 1: 5   13-12     Day 2: 5   14-03
24. Chad Pipkens           Dewitt, MI              10  27-11   77
Day 1: 5   15-11     Day 2: 5   12-00
25. Chris Zaldain          Fort Worth, TX          10  27-10   76
Day 1: 5   16-02     Day 2: 5   11-08
26. Gerald Swindle         Guntersville, AL        10  27-05   75
Day 1: 5   15-05     Day 2: 5   12-00
27. Caleb Sumrall          New Iberia, LA           9  27-01   74
Day 1: 5   18-08     Day 2: 4   08-09
28. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA              10  27-00   73
Day 1: 5   18-03     Day 2: 5   08-13
29. Darold Gleason         Many, LA                10  26-10   72
Day 1: 5   14-03     Day 2: 5   12-07
30. Drew Benton            Blakely, GA             10  26-03   71
Day 1: 5   14-12     Day 2: 5   11-07
31. Skylar Hamilton        Dandridge, TN            8  25-15   70
Day 1: 5   16-00     Day 2: 3   09-15
32. Kenta Kimura           Osaka JAPAN             10  25-14   69
Day 1: 5   12-03     Day 2: 5   13-11
33. Cory Johnston          Cavan CANADA            10  25-07   68
Day 1: 5   10-06     Day 2: 5   15-01
34. Buddy Gross            Chattanooga, TN         10  25-04   67
Day 1: 5   12-15     Day 2: 5   12-05
35. Hunter Shryock         Ooltewah, TN            10  24-10   66
Day 1: 5   12-09     Day 2: 5   12-01
36. Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR              10  24-03   65
Day 1: 5   09-14     Day 2: 5   14-05
37. Alex Redwine           Blue Ash, OH            10  24-02   64
Day 1: 5   12-11     Day 2: 5   11-07
38. KJ Queen               Catawba, NC              7  24-01   63
Day 1: 5   19-01     Day 2: 2   05-00
39. Jay Przekurat          Stevens Point, WI       10  23-14   62
Day 1: 5   16-15     Day 2: 5   06-15
40. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ              10  23-10   61
Day 1: 5   12-08     Day 2: 5   11-02
41. Bob Downey             Detroit Lakes, MN       10  23-09   60
Day 1: 5   15-04     Day 2: 5   08-05
42. Josh Douglas           Isle, MN                 8  23-07   59
Day 1: 5   18-10     Day 2: 3   04-13
43. Bryan Schmitt          Deale, MD               10  23-07   58
Day 1: 5   14-11     Day 2: 5   08-12
44. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                 10  22-14   57
Day 1: 5   13-01     Day 2: 5   09-13
45. Brad Whatley           Bivins, TX              10  22-12    0
Day 1: 5   16-03     Day 2: 5   06-09
46. Gary Clouse            Winchester, TN           8  22-12   55
Day 1: 4   10-14     Day 2: 4   11-14
47. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN        10  22-11   54
Day 1: 5   10-02     Day 2: 5   12-09
48. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA               10  22-09   53   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   09-15     Day 2: 5   12-10
49. Wes Logan              Springville, AL         10  22-09   52   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   10-00     Day 2: 5   12-09
50. Matt Arey              Shelby, NC              10  22-04   51   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   12-02     Day 2: 5   10-02
51. Justin Hamner          Northport, AL           10  21-15   50   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   09-06     Day 2: 5   12-09
52. Koby Kreiger           Alva, FL                10  21-11   49   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   13-15     Day 2: 5   07-12
53. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN          10  21-11   48   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   12-15     Day 2: 5   08-12
54. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX          10  21-02   47   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   10-07     Day 2: 5   10-11
55. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL              10  20-15   46   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   13-13     Day 2: 5   07-02
56. Justin Atkins          Florence, AL            10  20-14   45   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   13-13     Day 2: 5   07-01
57. Todd Auten             Lake Wylie, SC          10  20-11   44   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   09-14     Day 2: 5   10-13
58. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            9  20-04   43   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   14-11     Day 2: 4   05-09
59. Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC           9  19-15   42   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   11-13     Day 2: 4   08-02
60. Scott Martin           Clewiston, FL           10  19-15   41
Day 1: 5   10-03     Day 2: 5   09-12
61. Carl Jocumsen          Queensland AUSTRALIA    10  19-10   40
Day 1: 5   10-12     Day 2: 5   08-14
62. Derek Hudnall          Zachary, LA             10  19-07   39
Day 1: 5   09-00     Day 2: 5   10-07
63. Jason Williamson       Aiken, SC                8  19-04   38
Day 1: 3   04-08     Day 2: 5   14-12
64. Ray Hanselman Jr       Del Rio, TX             10  18-15   37
Day 1: 5   07-07     Day 2: 5   11-08
65. Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL          10  18-13   36
Day 1: 5   11-11     Day 2: 5   07-02
66. Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID             9  18-11   35
Day 1: 4   11-15     Day 2: 5   06-12
67. Ed Loughran III        Richmond, VA            10  17-14   34
Day 1: 5   10-11     Day 2: 5   07-03
68. Kyle Welcher           Opelika, AL             10  17-11   33
Day 1: 5   09-04     Day 2: 5   08-07
69. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL         10  17-08   32
Day 1: 5   07-10     Day 2: 5   09-14
70. Jacob Powroznik        North Prince George, VA  9  17-01   31
Day 1: 5   11-06     Day 2: 4   05-11
71. Shane LeHew            Catawba, NC              9  16-12   30
Day 1: 4   09-14     Day 2: 5   06-14
72. Joseph Webster         Hamilton, AL             9  16-09   29
Day 1: 4   07-06     Day 2: 5   09-03
73. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            7  16-00   28
Day 1: 2   03-12     Day 2: 5   12-04
74. Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY              8  16-00   27
Day 1: 3   09-02     Day 2: 5   06-14
75. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN           10  15-09   26
Day 1: 5   09-15     Day 2: 5   05-10
76. Michael Iaconelli      Pittsgrove, NJ          10  14-10   25
Day 1: 5   05-15     Day 2: 5   08-11
77. John Cox               Debary, FL              10  14-05   24
Day 1: 5   09-05     Day 2: 5   05-00
78. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY             10  14-05   23
Day 1: 5   08-04     Day 2: 5   06-01
79. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             7  13-11   22
Day 1: 4   08-11     Day 2: 3   05-00
80. Mike Huff              London, KY               7  13-04   21
Day 1: 5   09-00     Day 2: 2   04-04
81. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             7  13-04   20
Day 1: 5   08-07     Day 2: 2   04-13
82. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              8  11-15   19
Day 1: 5   06-11     Day 2: 3   05-04
83. Joshua Stracner        Vandiver, AL             6  11-05   18
Day 1: 5   10-03     Day 2: 1   01-02
84. David Williams         Newton, NC              10  10-11   17
Day 1: 5   05-10     Day 2: 5   05-01
85. Daisuke Aoki           Minamitsurugun Yamanash  8  10-06   16
Day 1: 5   07-04     Day 2: 3   03-02
86. David Fritts           Lexington, NC            4  09-15   15
Day 1: 4   09-15     Day 2: 0   00-00
87. Jonathan Kelley        Old Forge, PA            5  08-02   14
Day 1: 2   04-12     Day 2: 3   03-06
88. Matty Wong             Honolulu, HI             6  07-11   13
Day 1: 5   06-09     Day 2: 1   01-02
89. Jacob Foutz            Charleston, TN           4  07-08   12
Day 1: 3   06-09     Day 2: 1   00-15
90. Gregory DiPalma        Millville, NJ            4  04-02   11
Day 1: 1   01-00     Day 2: 3   03-02
———————————————————————–

PHOENIX BOATS BIG BASS
Day
1   Brandon Cobb             Greenwood, SC       05-12      $1,000.00
2   Masayuki Matsushita      Tokoname-Shi JAPAN  05-11      $1,000.00

———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        78       428      1120-03
2        69       403       928-06
———————————-
147       831      2048-09