Monroe Sticks With Old-School Swimming Worm for Elimination Round Win
By Joel Shangle
May 14, 2018
VIDALIA, Louisiana – MLF Cup veteran Ish Monroe has been known to throw a frog or two in his tournament career. And heading into Elimination Round 1 at the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup out of Vidalia, Louisiana/Natchez, Mississippi, Monroe had a frog tied on and ready to go.
It turned out that Monroe’s frog rod stayed on the deck of his Nitro Z7 all day long, and a bait he didn’t even have tied on to start the day – an old-school paddletail worm – accounted for all 14 of his fish as the Daiwa pro piled up 23 pounds, 11 ounces on the Cocodrie Lake Complex (the Black River and Cocodrie Lake near Monterey, Louisiana) to hold off a hard-charging Skeet Reese for Monroe’s first MLF Elimination Round win since 2013.
“The area really looked good for a frog, but it didn’t really turn out to be a good day to throw that bait,” Monroe said. “Once I tied on that swimming worm and caught a couple of fish with that, I just stuck with it. I thought that was going to be my ticket.”
While the rest of the field (Skeet Reese, Takahiro Omori, Aaron Martens, Dean Rojas, Denny Brauer, Jeff Kriet and Mark Davis) divided their time among jigs, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits, Monroe spent the majority of the round swimming a 7-inch Zoom Ultravibe Speed Worm around the Cocodrie Lake shoreline.
It was a slow start for the California native – he caught two scoreable fish for just over 4 pounds in Period 1 – but Monroe caught his first fish of Period 2 just 4 minutes into the period, and then racked up six of the last 10 fish before the end of the period to add nearly 10 pounds to his total.
Reese made his fellow Californian sweat out the last half of Period 3, though. Throwing a buzzbait as the afternoon sun warmed the waters of the Old River, Reese rang up seven scorable fish for 9-12 in the final 40 minutes of competition to climb to within 2 ounces of Monroe.
“Man, that was a lot of fun, but I must’ve lost 15 pounds of fish in the last period,” Reese admitted. “I just couldn’t quite get it done.”
Monroe now moves on to the Sudden Death Rounds on 2,850-acre Lake Bruin near St. Joseph, Louisiana, along with Reese, Kriet, Omori, Martens and Wheeler.