Louisiana Pro Nick LeBrun Goes Back-to-Back, Wins Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Toyota Stop 5
RICHMOND, Va. – After weighing in his first four fish on Sunday afternoon, Bossier City, Louisiana’s, Nick LeBrun was feeling the pressure at the Toyota Stop 5 on the James River Presented by PowerStop Brakes in Richmond, Virginia. Pro Dakota Ebare of Brookeland, Texas, one of the hottest bass anglers on the planet, had just weighed in a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 5 ounces and was atop the leaderboard with only LeBrun left to weigh in. LeBrun’s first four keepers weighed a total of 12 pounds, 5 ounces – his last fish had to weigh at least four pounds to have a chance at catching Ebare and earning back-to-back Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me wins.
Link to Photo of Toyota Stop 5 Winner Nick LeBrun
Link to Video of Day 4 Championship Weigh-in from Toyota Stop 5
Link to Video of Fish-Catch Highlights from Day 4 on the James River
Link to On-The-Water Photo Gallery from Day 4
“Let’s see that fifth keeper,” said longtime Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit emcee Chris Jones.
“How about a nice James River 5-pounder,” LeBrun yelled, pulling out a beautiful kicker fish that weighed 5 pounds, 4 ounces – more than enough to earn LeBrun his second career Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit victory, and the $100,000 top prize.
LeBrun became just the third angler in MLF history to ever win back-to-back Pro Circuit events after this victory and his win last month at the Pro Circuit event at Lake Guntersville. Pro Brett Hite of Phoenix, Arizona, was the first angler to accomplish the feat in 2008, winning back-to-back events at an FLW Tour (now Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit) event on Lake Toho and then an FLW Tour event on the California Delta just two weeks later. General Tire pro Mark Rose also accomplished the feat in 2017, winning back-to-back FLW Tour events on Lake Guntersville and Lake Travis.
“This was the most stressful tournament I’ve ever fished,” an emotional LeBrun said on stage after learning he had won. “I was running a long way every day and put over 450 miles in this week, and the running isn’t easy. It’s treacherous, especially when you’ve never been here before. I probably ran across areas I shouldn’t have and then once you get to your area, you are constantly looking at the tide and planning your strategy and timing for each area. My brain is fried right now.”
LeBrun’s key area this week was in the Chickahominy River. He said that of the more than 81 career events he has fished, he had never relied on his Power-Poles as much as he had this week. He targeted docks and cypress trees with an unnamed bluegill-colored squarebill crankbait and a wacky-rigged 5-inch junebug-colored V&M Chopstick with a 1/0 Hayabusa WRM201 hook.
“I rotated between a few different crankbaits, but the key was changing out the stock hooks to No. 2 Hayabusa TBL930 trebles with the NRB coating,” LeBrun said. “I was deflecting the bait off the trees to get them to react, and that hook was critical to keeping them buttoned up.”
His wacky-rigged Chopstick provided a finesse alternative when the fish weren’t interested in the squarebill.
“I’d lob it in there and let it sit and then barely shake it,” LeBrun said. “The rod would load up when they’d swim off with it. That was key this week for me to get the win. I set up on the spot today, caught four small ones and then the big ones started biting it pretty good. I caught a 5-pound fish and went to the other side of the dock and caught a 4-pounder; it was a special day, today.”
With two wins and more than $200,000 in winnings in just the last four weeks, LeBrun now sits in 10th place in the Bally Bet Angler of the Year race and looks to be well in the driver’s seat to qualify for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE, the Pro Circuit Championship.
“I’ve had a blessed year,” the Louisiana pro went on to say. “To add my name to the list of anglers that have won back-to-back – those are some awesome names to be mentioned with. The James River will always be a very special place to me.”
The Top 10 pros at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Toyota Stop 5 on the James River finished:
1st: Nick LeBrun, Bossier City, La., five bass, 17-9, $100,000
2nd: Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, five bass, 16-5, $30,000
3rd: Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., five bass, 15-14, $25,000
4th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 15-11, $20,000
5th: Braxton Setzer, Wetumpka, Ala., five bass, 14-7, $19,000
6th: Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, five bass, 13-0, $18,000
7th: Cole Hewett, Orange Park, Fla., five bass, 12-14, $17,000
8th: Robby Lefere, Jackson, Mich., five bass, 10-14, $16,000
9th: Martin Villa, Charlottesville, Va., five bass, 9-7, $15,000
10th: John Cox, DeBary, Fla., 15 bass, 8-9, $14,000
For a full list of results visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 50 bass weighing 134 pounds, 10 ounces caught by the final 10 pros Sunday. All of the final 10 pros weighed in a five-bass limit.
With five of six regular-season events now wrapped up in the 2022 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me season, Hayden, Alabama’s, Josh Butler currently leads the Bally Bet Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 896 pounds, while reigning AOY Michael Neal of Dayton, Tennessee, sits right behind him in second place with 882 points. Berkley pro Justin Lucas of Guntersville, Alabama, and Florence, Italy’s, Jacopo Gallelli are both tied for third with 863 points, while Columbus, Mississippi’s Mitch Crane rounds out the top five with 857 points.
The four-day Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Toyota Stop 5 on the James River Presented by PowerStop Brakes was hosted by Richmond Region Tourism in cooperation with the Henrico Sports & Entertainment Authority. The event will premiere on the CBS Sports Network in early September.
In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of 154 anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The Top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advanced to Saturday, then only the Top 10 pros based on cumulative weight from the first three days continued competition on Championship Sunday, where weights were zeroed and the winner was determined by the heaviest weight from the final day of competition.
The Toyota Stop 5 on the James River Presented by PowerStop Brakes was the fifth of six regular-season Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me events in 2022. The sixth and final regular-season event for Pro Circuit anglers will be the Covercraft Stop 6 at Lake Champlain Presented by Wiley X, July 29 through Aug. 1 in Plattsburgh, New York.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2022 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE Presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where they will compete for up to $235,000. The 2022 TITLE will be on the St. Lawrence River in Massena, New York, on Aug. 16-21, and is hosted by the Town of Massena.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Gary Yamamoto Baits, General Tire, Lew’s, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Republished Direct from MLF:
LeBrun Locks up Back-To-Back Wins With 17-9 On the James River
RICHMOND, Va. – All week long, Nick LeBrun looked in control as he posted consistent bags the first three days to lead the field going into Championship Sunday at Toyota Stop 5 Presented by PowerStop Brakes on the James River. But the Louisiana pro saved his best for last with a limit weighing 17 pounds, 9 ounces to on Championship Sunday win his second straight event.
Just over a month removed from his triumph on Lake Guntersville, LeBrun added another big trophy and $101,000 more to his bank account. He’s just the third angler to complete the feat, joining Brett Hite (2008) and Mark Rose (2017) as the only back-to-back champions on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me or FLW Tour.
“It was all God this week, he’s got everything set up for me, and I’m just trying not to mess it up,” said LeBrun alongside his wife Jolene on Father’s Day. “That I get to live my dream and have an amazing wife and kids and to win another tournament shows how good He is. My wife is the best mama in the entire universe.”
LeBrun looked comfortable on the James as he caught solid bags all week long, but his first trip to the Virginia fishery had him a little uneasy considering the long runs he chose to make and the tidal swings.
“This was the most stressful tournament I’ve ever fished,” LeBrun admitted. “I was running a long way every day and put over 450 miles in this week and the running isn’t easy – it’s treacherous, especially if you’ve never been here before. I probably ran across areas I shouldn’t have and then once you get to your area, yo’re constantly looking at the tide and planning your strategy for each area. I’m spent after this week.”
LeBrun targeted the Chickahominy River, but unlike many who made the trek there this week, LeBrun focused on cypress trees and docks and was able to ride a strong morning bite each day of the tournament. On the final day, he had the luxury of fishing it as long as he wanted after backing off to conserve the area for the first three days. The bite still happened early for him as he bagged his winning total well before lunchtime.
“It was a current seam around docks and trees,” LeBrun said of the winning spot. “It was a little section with a lot of cypress trees and that’s how I like to fish. It took a lot of effort to make the casts and get the bait in there correctly with the current.”
LeBrun did most of his damage early in the week with an ultra-shallow bluegill-colored squarebill. On Day 3, he added a wacky-rigged 5-inch V&M Chopstick with a 1/0 Hayabusa WRM201 hook into the mix to secure the win.
“I rotated between a few different crankbaits, but one key was changing out the stock hooks to No. 2 Hayabusa TBL930 trebles with the NRB coating,” he said. “I was deflecting the bait off the trees to get them to react.”
His wacky rig provided a finesse alternative.
“I’d lob it in there and let it sit and then barely shake it,” LeBrun said. “The rod would load up when they’d swim off with it. That was key this week for me to get the win. I set up on the spot today, caught four small ones and then the big ones started biting it pretty good. I caught a 5-pound fish and went to the other side of the dock and caught a 4-pounder; it was a special day.”
When reminded by Chris Jones on stage that he’s just the third person to accomplish the back-to-back feat, LeBrun was humbled and looking for the right words to describe the accomplishment that put him in the exclusive company of Hite and Rose.
“Those are some scary, famous, and awesome names to be mentioned with,” he said. “The James River will always be a special place to me. It was a dream day today.”
Top 10 Pros
1. Nick LeBrun – 17 – 9 (5) – $101,000
2. Dakota Ebare – 16 – 5 (5) – $30,000
3. Mitch Crane – 15 – 14 (5) – $25,000
4. Michael Neal – 15 – 11 (5) – $20,000
5. Braxton Setzer – 14 – 7 (5) – $19,000
6. Cole Floyd – 13 – 00 (5) – $18,000
7. Cole Hewett – 12 – 14 (5) – $17,000
8. Robby Lefere – 10 – 14 (5) – $16,000
9. Martin Villa – 9 – 7 (5) – $15,000
10. John Cox – 8 – 9 (5) – $14,000
Republished Direct from MLF: