MLF Embedded: Lambert Carries Momentum of Record-Breaking Win into First MLF Competition
By Joel Shangle
May 23, 2018
It’s been a whirlwind of a week for MLF Select rookie Jason Lambert.
Lambert rolled into tournament headquarters in southern Oklahoma at 2 a.m. the day before his first Elimination Round in the Summit Select (following a 12-hour drive from an FLW Tour event in Tennessee). He took an extended power nap, showered, and then spent the rest of the day hopping from photo shoot to jersey signings to interviews to angler meetings, and finally to the boat yard to prep tackle.
Early the next morning, Lambert made his first cast in MLF competition, less than 72 hours after his made his last cast in one of the most extraordinary performances in the history of tournament bass fishing.
“I’m tired, but I don’t have much to complain about,” Lambert admitted. “It’s been a pretty good few days.”
Pretty good being a major understatement.
Lambert piled up an astounding 101 pounds, 9 ounces in the FLW Tour event on Kentucky Lake last week, beating second-place finisher Scott Martin by 28 pounds. In doing so, the fifth-year pro shattered the mark for largest margin of victory in an FLW Tour event – the previous record being 23-9 in 2012 – and became only the 11th FLW Tour angler in history to join the Century Club for weighing in 100 pounds or more in a tour-level event.
Lambert banked $100,000 in prize money for the win, bringing his winnings on Kentucky Lake to $322,600 over the last three years alone.
“We rolled into Kentucky Lake this year and (conditions) weren’t exactly what they’re supposed to be – things are behind schedule – but to go out and join the Century Club and set that 28-pound margin of victory and to be done by lunchtime the final day was pretty memorable,” Lambert says.
Lambert weighed in 24-6 on Day 1, 19-8 on Day 3, and then smashed 30-8 and 27-3 the final two days. His cushion was so massive that he stopped fishing around noon on Championship Sunday and motored back to the event venue, spending the next four hours before official weigh-in eating pizza and chatting with fans.
“I can honestly say that was the most fun day of my fishing career,” he says. “I had a lot of time in those four hours to reflect on what was happening, and to tell you the truth, I was a little anxious. I really wanted to see ‘100’ on that scale, but man, looking back on it now, that was a great day.”
Lambert’s challenge this week is to redirect his mind (and gear) from the familiar, deep-water ledge game of Kentucky Lake to the smaller, totally unknown, shallow-water fisheries of south-central Oklahoma. It’s a challenge that he’s anxious to apply the weight of his momentum to.
“I think it’s more confidence than momentum,” Lambert says. “I think when you’re fishing good and you’re making good, confident decisions, I think your success just multiplies. Once you get into that little zone, people would like to be able to bottle that up and open it when you need it. With this format – not knowing anything, showing up, seeing a body of water in front of you that you don’t even know the name of and just having to figure it out – it’s going to be a challenge, but I’m really looking forward to it.”