Bowmanville-born Cooper Gallant angles for Elite crown after Bassmaster Southern Open win

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Published April 4, 2022 at 10:06 am

Bowmanville’s Cooper Gallant is well on his way to competing for the Bassmaster Elite title, the highest honour in sport angling, after his triumph in the Bassmaster Southern Open last weekend.

The Southern Open, held in Jacksonville County, Tennessee, is the second of nine Bassmaster Open event held in the run-up to the ultimate prize, the Bassmaster Elite.

In such events anglers have three days to pull fish from the water, in this case the waters of Lake Cherokee. Their five largest fish are weighed and the fisherman with the highest total wins.

American contestant Bryan New led the standings after the first day. However Gallant, 24 from Bowmanville, caught up on day two, ultimately weighing in 36 pounds and one ounce between his five fish. The planned three-day open was cut down to two days because of strong winds.

New placed second with 35 pounds and four ounces while Jamie Bruce of Kenora, Ont., came in third with 34 pounds and seven ounces.

After two opens, Gallant stands seventh overall in the series. He plans on competing in all nine events to qualify for the Elite Series. Gallant won the prize pot of $52,533 USD and now qualifies for the 2023 Bassmaster Classic.

“Words can’t even describe what’s going through my head right now. It’s been a crazy life long dream of mine to one day qualify for the Bassmaster classic, and I made it happen today,” said Gallant on social media.

The waters of Lake Cherokee were colder than anticipated, so Gallant targeted smallmouth bass near rock structures 15-30 feet below the surface. The technique led to an eighth place rank on day one, and Gallant considered switching up his technique.

However the morning of day two he noticed the chilly waters and doubled down, jumping into first place.

The next Bassmaster Open runs April 14-16 on Virginia’s St. James River.

With files from Canada Press. Photo via Cooper Gallant Fishing.

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