La Crosse’s Monsoor jumps up into 5th place

RICHMOND, Va. – Tom Monsoor moved into the top five in the MLF Tackle Warehouse Toyota Stop 5 presented by PowerStop Brakes on the James River in Richmond, VA, on Friday.
The veteran La Crosse angler advanced to Saturday’s semifinal round with a two-day 32 pound, 15 ounce total. Monsoor (pictured), was in ninth place with a big first-round catch of 18-03 on Thursday and followed it up with 14-12 on Friday.
Grae Buck, of Green Lane, PA, retained his first-place pace with 36-05 total. Jacopo Gallelli, of Horton, AL, moved into second place with 34-05. Dakota Ebare, from Brookeland, TX, is third with 33-07, while Michael Neal, from Dayton, TN, is one spot in front of Monsoor with 33 pounds.
Monsoor, 73, said he was surprised by his Friday catch.
“I didn’t think it was very good, but it was,” he said. “I went to my favorite spot right away and caught three little ones. Then I caught a 6- and a 4-pounder at 10 and lost one even bigger on my next cast. I never saw it, but you know when they are big.”
Monsoor has one more bite after that and lost that one, too. One tournament official told Monsoor if he would have boated those two fish he would have taken over first place.
Ironically, Monsoor got the two big ones and missed the bigger one at the dirty water discharge he discovered on Thursday.
“Bang, bang, bang. Caught those two and missed the big one in three straight casts,” he said. Then that was it for there.”
While Monsoor’s patented green-pumpkin orange swim jig worked best on Thursday, it was the black and blue jig that produced on Friday. The retired lifelong commercial fisherman was busy making more green-pumpkin orange jigs in his hotel room Saturday night after going through two dozen on Saturday.
“Rocks and snags. You throw one out and lose it the first cast sometimes, then tie another one on,” he said. “I only have four left in my boat, so I’m making more now.”
The top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advance to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros, based on cumulative weight from the first three days, continue competition on Championship Sunday, where weights are zeroed and anglers compete in a one-day shootout for the grand prize of up to $135,000, including the lucrative $35,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus for qualified anglers.