Tom Monsoor reeled in his first FLW Tour professional bass tournament title on Sunday and it was a whopper as in $100,200.
The La Crosse native won the FLW Tour Qualifier presented by Costa Sunglasses on the Potomac River in Marbury, MD, by the slimmest of margins. Monsoor’s winning weight of 66-11 bested tour rookie Chad Warren of Sand Springs, OK, by a mere 5 ounces.
"They said I need 14-11 to win the title,"Monsoor said early this morning. When I saw 15 flash on the screen, I flipped. Man, am I every happy."
Monsoor led the 165 pro angler starting field on Thursday when he cracked 19-6 for second place. He moved into first place on Friday with 16-14. Monsoor's retained the lead by 2 ounces after Saturday's semifinal round with a three-day total 51-9.
Sunday was the longest day of his 15-year FLW career, but it was well worth it.
"I used my swim jigs, especially the black-and-blue," Monsoor said, in an exclusive interview with boblamboutdoors.com early today.
He also tried a Yamamoto Swim Senko and a Yamamoto Senko the final two days, but he never weighed in a fish on either.
"I used some other stuff, but I didn't catch any keepers," he said. "I also caught some catfish and perch, but my swim jigs worked the best."
Monsoor said he caught another quick limit early Sunday, but with high winds causing significant waves on the main river, Monsoor’s only option was heading back to Quantico for one last attempt
“At around 1:30, I caught two keepers - bang, bang," he said, reliving the moments for the umpteenth time to the media.
One of those was close to 4 pounds and one around 3 pounds, according to the Greater La Crosse Area's top pro angler. After culling two smaller fish, Monsoor was just over the 15-pound mark, just enough to nip Warren.
Monsoor has fished the tour since 2002, yet never won an event. The closest he came was in 2004 when he finished second at the Atchafalaya Basin.
"During Sunday's weigh-in, Monsoor said he figured he would maybe finish third or fourth.
"But I was hoping for second or third," he said, laughing.
However, he'll take the $100,200 and first place. It would have been $125,000 because Ranger donates that much to each tournament, he said. Anglers must be piloting Ranger boats no more than 4 years old. Unfortunately, Monsoor's Ranger boat is 6 years old.
"That's OK. I'm happy," he said, laughing again. "This is by far the biggest victory of my life."
Monsoor admits it has been an experience of a lifetime, but it continued into Sunday night and then again early Monday morning.
"I had over 70 calls, and I don't know how many TV and radio interviews. I finally shut off my phone at 9 o'clock and went to bed," he said. "Then I had to get up at 5 o'clock this morning for a film shoot."
Monsoor, one of the most popular pros on the granddaddy of all bass fishing tournaments in the world, also had to drive to a bait shop before the filming crew showed up.
"I gave away all my lures to some kids and I didn't have any left," he said. "Unreal!"
He was leaving for La Crosse by 10 a.m., on Monday, hoping to return home sometime Tuesday.
"I'm going home and play with my dog," he said. "This is a trophy I didn't have. That's all that changed. Nothing else has changed about me. Nothing else... never will."
TOP 10 PROS
1. Tom Monsoor – La Crosse, Wis. – 66-11 (20) – $100,200
2. Chad Warren – Sand Springs, Okla. – 66-6 (20) – $30,100
3. Chris Johnston – Peterborough, Ontario – 65-8 (20) – $25,000
4. Cody Meyer – Auburn, Calif. – 64-11 (20) – $20,000
5. Michael Neal – Dayton, Tenn. – 64-3 (20) – $19,000
6. Brandon McMillian – Clewiston, Fla. – 63-2 (20) – $18,000
7. Jeff Sprague – Point, Texas – 59-8 (20) – $17,000
8. Mike Surman – Boca Raton, Fla. – 59-1 (20) – $16,000
9. Brandon Cobb – Greenwood, S.C. – 57-11 (20) – $15,000
10. Andy Young – Mound, Minn. – 52-8 (17) – $14,000
SOURCE: FLW Tour