CLAYTON — Brock Mosley was ecstatic when he successfully reeled in what turned out to be a 6-pound, 10-ounce largemouth bass, drastically helping his chances of making the top 10 and therefore earning him a spot in the final day of the Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence tournament.
As he strut around his boat, holding the bass in one hand fist pumping with the other, he kept shouting, “Baby luck.”
That’s because only four days ago, on Wednesday, his wife, Leslie, gave birth to their second daughter, Gradi Lynn.
While she gave birth in Mississippi, he was in Clayton, preparing for the Bassmaster tournament.
Needless to say, his head was spinning.
“Wednesday my head just was not in the game,” Mosley said. “And honestly, that’s why I’m largemouth fishing, because what I’m doing is fairly simple and I can just put my head down and fish.”
Fellow angler, Hank Cherry, helped Mosley get his mind right for the tournament after an admittedly terrible three days of practice.
“He saw me in practice and how my head wasn’t in it and how I was worried and just wasn’t being my normal self,” Mosley said. “And once the baby got here, he said, ‘Man, just calm down, the baby is here, she’s healthy, your wife is healthy, go out there and just do your thing.’”
Mosley sits in fifth place with a total of 64-3 after bringing in a 20-4 bag Saturday.
Unlike many of the other anglers in the top 10, Mosley has stuck to fishing in the St. Lawrence River. The joke on the Bassmaster website is that Mosley has barely burned through a tank of gas since he hasn’t strayed far from the take-off point in Clayton.
The back drop for Mosley nearly 6-10 largemouth were the docks and banks of Clayton, often with people sitting on their property, watching him perform.
After attempting shallow waters for a couple of hours in practice, Mosley knew that’s where he felt the most comfortable.
“I caught three, four pounders all in this vicinity and I had seen some more big ones,” Mosley said. “I actually found some more areas up the river, but I was just trying to survive to be honest with you, I was just trying to not bomb. And then in the first two hours of day one, I had 19 pounds and I really started getting dialed in to what they were keying on. Other than just docks, they were on flat rocks and boulders too.”
Mosley has had the good fortune of catching both a 6-pound smallmouth and 6-pound largemouth in this tournament. However, despite reeling in one of the bigger smallmouth bass to grace Bassmaster this week, he struggled to consistently catch the brown fish. Pivoting to largemouth has kept him in the game.
“If the smallmouth were cooperating on the river, that’s what I would have been doing, because I nearly won here two or three years ago on smallmouth,” Mosley said. “I just couldn’t get the smallmouth to really have enough confidence to run into enough good ones to compete every day. To me it’s real easy to go out there right now on the river and only catch 11-12 pounds of smallmouth a day, and we’ve seen that.”
When Mosley caught the 6-10 largemouth, which was caught live on the Bassmaster broadcast also being shown on ESPN2, he knew it would play a huge role in getting him to Sunday. But when the true size of the fish was revealed at weigh-in, it caught him off- guard.
“I had no idea it was that big when I was reeling it in,” Mosley said. “I knew it was a big one, I was thinking four and half and then once I got it in the boat and took a step back I was like, ‘that’s a five pounder.’ Then I put it on my scale and it said over six and I’m like, ain’t no way. That means I just caught a six-pound small mouth and six-pound largemouth in the same tournament.”
Mosley trails the leader, Paul Mueller, by 12 pounds and 12 ounces going into Sunday, making it incredibly difficult to collect the $100,000 first-place prize. To optimize his Sunday limit, he plans on starting with smallmouth and then moving back to largemouth.
“I may start on the smallmouth, we’ll see how the winds (are) doing when we get here in the morning,” Mosley said. “The smallmouth areas that I got, I believe they’re biting first thing in the morning and then they’re setting off, so if I can go out there and catch a four-five pound smallmouth to go with my largemouth, then I’ll be ahead of the game.”
With heavy largemouths harder to come by, being able to snag a few three- or four-pound smallmouths early could pay dividends.
“I’m just having fun, fishing the way I want to fish and enjoying every minute of it,” Mosley said.