Matt Lee – Go Big or Go Home?

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The field is officially set for the Knockout Round of Toyota Heavy Hitters presented by Venmo here on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. Carhartt pro Matt Lee finished Group A’s Qualifying Round in 5th place and is one of thirty-eight anglers competing tomorrow. On top of the opportunity to move on to Friday’s Championship Round, someone in tomorrow’s field will win an incredible $50,000 for catching the big bass of the day.

The Heavy Hitters format includes unparalleled Big Bass Bonuses for every round of competition, but the $50K and $100K Big Bass Bonus tied to the Knockout and Championship Rounds respectively, has captured Lee’s attention.

“Knowing I can earn an extra $50,000 with a single cast is hard to even wrap my mind around,” Lee said with a laugh. “It’s amazing and it’ll absolutely be on every anglers’ mind tomorrow, especially as the day wears on and some guys get too far behind on the SCORETRACKER.”

But Lee wasn’t overly concerned with catching the big bass of the day as he readied tackle for the Knockout Round; instead he was focused on catching enough scoreable bass to continue fishing and have a shot at a Bass Pro Tour trophy on Friday.

“I’m in an interesting position,” Lee explained. “I found a unique area out on the middle of Lake Toho I’ve had all to myself this week. I’ve mostly been fishing a unique squarebill crankbait (6th Sense Crush Flat 75X Crankbait) and have been catching a lot of fish out there. I’m talking like 40 fish with 14 scoreable bass over two days, but I’ve yet to catch anything over four-pounds.

Cranking setup:
Quantum Tour S3 6:1:1 reel
7-foot medium Quantum crankbait rod

Flipping setup:
Quantum Smoke S3 8:1:1 reel
7-foot 6-inch Heavy Quantum Smoke S3 flipping stick “My back-up pattern has been flipping a 6th Sense Stroker Craw in thick vegetation, but it’s been way less consistent. I had zero bites flipping Sunday and only caught one on it Tuesday, but it was a 5-plus pounder. That’s been my biggest all week and I
know the opportunity to catch a giant is there.”

While there has been a plethora of big bass caught on the Kissimmee Chain this week, including multiple fish over 8-lbs, catching numbers of scoreable bass has proved difficult. It’s Florida and a big bite can happen to anyone at anytime, but concentrations of fish have been harder to come by.

The Big Bass Bonus provides an interesting new wrinkle for BPT competitors and fans alike. Does the allure of a chance at $50,000 persuade angler like Lee, whose primary area has yielded numbers of quality bass but no giants, to search for a big bite and risk going home?

“In my case… no,” Lee grinned. “My first goal is to make it to the Championship Round, so I have to start in my numbers area slinging around a crankbait and a dropshot. From there we’ll see what happens in the afternoon. If my primary area doesn’t pan out, you’ll probably see me running around the lake like I’m lost about lunchtime looking for a biggun.”

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