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“It’s not that serious in life; all you do is stress yourself out,” he said. “I knew what lives in that area and I just needed five of the good ones. At some point you've just got to go fishing.”

The most difficult part of the day was at 10 a.m. when he started thinking of the fish he’d caught in other places days earlier and not packing up and leaving to chase them.

“I knew the fish to win were in this spot,” he said.

He sorted through 20 keepers, with more short fish than on any previous day of competition. He upgraded by ounces every time he used his balance beam.

He stuck with his program of fishing a River2Sea Ish Monroe Phat Matt Daddy Frog around slop mats and reeds. Read more