Tennessee’s Banks Shaw Earns 1st Career Victory At Toyota Series Presented By Phoenix Boats At Lake Chickamauga

  • Saturday, May 4, 2024
Banks Shaw
Banks Shaw
This week, nobody could touch pro Banks Shaw of Harrison, Tennessee, in the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats event on Lake Chickamauga . He finished Day 1 in third with 23 pounds, 11 ounces, then added 26-13 on Day 2 to take a 9-pound lead and slammed the door with 32-4 on the final day.

With a total of 82-12, 20-year-old Shaw won by 24-5, which edged past Alec Morrison’s 24-pound win last summer at Sam Rayburn to set a new record winning margin at the Toyota Series level. For the win, Shaw pocketed $44,000 and locked in a spot in this fall’s Toyota Series Championship on Wheeler Lake.

With a 13th-place finish, Matt O'Connell put the wraps on an impressive campaign to win Fishing Clash Angler of the Year in the Central Division.

A geography major at the University of North Alabama, Shaw calls Chickamauga home and reckons he’s idled about 90 percent of the lake.
This week, every time he dipped into his bag of tricks he came up with a winner, and he ended up romping to his first win with MLF.

“It’s unreal. I don’t know what to say right now,” he said. “I’m not really chill at all. I can just hold it in a bit. I had ‘em early; I really didn’t think anybody would have 42 pounds and beat me. I let it set in out on the lake.”

To hear him tell it, the final morning was one for the record books. Though Chickamauga is no stranger to 30-pound bags, doing it on Day 3 of a major tournament with fish scattered between beds and ledges isn’t exactly normal.

“This morning, I ran like four places and only caught one tiny keeper,” Shaw said. “I just had a gut feeling to run back in a creek and hit a place, and I pulled up and caught a 7-pounder and a 6-pounder on back-to-back casts. From then on, I was like, ‘we can do this thing.’

“I started running with my gut. I pulled up on the next place and caught a 5-pounder. Next place, I caught a 7-pounder and two 6-pounders.”

From there, he knew he’d done something special and figured he might have a shot at some history.

“I was thinking about that today,” he admitted. “I was like, ‘I feel like this could be a record, but I really don’t know.’ It’s been insane with the technology. A handful of people are on hot streaks… just because of LiveScope.”

Of course, just strapping a transducer to the trolling motor and a screen to the boat doesn’t make you a winner. It takes a confluence of skills to hit the sort of heights Shaw did this week.

“I would say it’s my knowledge on the lake and my knowledge with technology,” he said of his record-setting week. “There are several guys out here that know the lake like I do, but they don’t really know the technology like I do, and they didn’t really understand what was going on.”

Shaw spent the event targeting offshore fish on hard spots and shell beds, following them out from the spawn to their summer haunts. Chickamauga is known for some extremely smart bass, and Shaw experienced that this week – in order to generate bites well, he really needed some bait in the area and a group of fish.

“I caught a few single fish, but not many at all,” he said. “Most of my bigger ones were out of groups. I probably got 10 or 15 percent of the follows I got to bite. I would have to have a group competing over the bait to get a bite.”

Setting his LiveScope range out to 120 feet, he was winding up big almost every cast.

“I won’t cast unless I see fish. The main key today was casting as far as I could,” he said. “I was staying as far off them as I could, just bombing a cast. That’s really the only way I could get them to bite. I would catch them at like 80 [feet], but most of the time I would hit them when they were at 100 [feet].”

Throwing a Rapala CrushCity Freeloader on a 1/8-ounce head as well as a 3/4-ounce V&M Pacemaker Football Jig on Joe Burns Custom Rods, Shaw fished different places every day of the event.

“It’s been everywhere,” he said. “I’ve caught them in 10 foot and I’ve caught them in 30 foot. I’ve just followed the fish. There are several places where they were earlier in the week, and I knew they’d be moving out as the week [went on]. I basically stayed on the fish as they moved out further and further.”

In the end, he made it look a lot easier than it was, when it really was a historic accomplishment for a 20-year-old college student.

The top 10 pros on Lake Chickamauga finished:

1st: Banks Shaw, Harrison, Tenn., 15 bass, 82-12, $44,000
2nd: Brody Campbell, Oxford, Ohio, 15 bass, 58-7, $18,300 (includes $1,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus)
3rd: Fisher Anaya, Eva, Ala., 15 bass, 56-15, $12,750
4th: Chad Mrazek, Montgomery, Texas, 15 bass, 56-8, $10,750
5th: Dillon Falardeau, Hixson, Tenn., 15 bass, 54-1, $9,750
6th: Hayden Marbut, Birmingham, Ala., 15 bass, 53-13, $8,375
7th: Kyle Norsetter, Cottage Grove, Wis., 15 bass, 51-3, $7,300
8th: Ethan Greene, Eufaula, Ala., 15 bass, 50-14, $6,800
9th: Ethan King, Wilsonville, Ala., 15 bass, 50-12, $5,300
10th: David Williams, Newton, N.C., 15 bass, 48-8, $4,700

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Pro Ethan Greene of Eufaula, Alabama, earned Thursday’s $500 Berkley Big Bass Award with a largemouth weighing in at 7 pounds, 10 ounces. Friday’s Day 2 $500 Berkley Big Bass Award went to pro David Williams of Newton, North Carolina, who weighed in a 8-pound, 7-ounce largemouth.

Kendall Parnell of Monticello, Kentucky, won the Strike King Co-angler Division Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 36 pounds, 7 ounces. Parnell took home the top co-angler prize package worth $34,000, including a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers on Lake Chickamauga finished:

1st: Kendall Parnell, Monticello, Ky., 15 bass, 36-7, Phoenix 518 Pro boat w/115-hp Mercury outboard
2nd: Nycholas Swanson, Cedar Falls, Iowa, 13 bass, 36-0, $5,375
3rd: Charles Huggins, Jr., Springfield, Ohio, 14 bass, 33-12, $4,300
4th: Kenny Goodman, Apison, Tenn., 11 bass, 28-12, $3,650
5th: Josh Boone, Richmond, Ky., eight bass, 28-6, $3,150
6th: Cooper Jett, Norton Shores, Mich., 11 bass, 28-4, $2,650
7th: Jacob Turner, Abbeville, S.C., 11 bass, 27-13, $2,300
8th: Travis Bowen, Duffield, Va., 10 bass, 27-8, $1,825
9th: Kevin Henderson, Honea Path, S.C., 11 bass, 27-5, $1,680
10th: Michael Miller, Greenville, S.C., 13 bass, 26-11, $1,290

Kevin Henderson of Honea Path, South Carolina, earned the $150 Berkley Big Bass co-angler award on Thursday with a 6-pound, 12-ounce bass, while Friday’s Day 2 $150 co-angler award went to Slick Jones of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, who weighed in an 8-pound, 12-ounce giant.

The Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats at Lake Chickamauga was hosted by Fish Dayton and the Rhea Economic & Tourism Council. It was the third and final regular-season tournament for the Toyota Series Central Division. The next event for the Toyota Series Central Division will be the 2024 Toyota Series Championship, Nov. 7-9 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Alabama. For a complete schedule of events, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The 2024 Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and the Western Division Presented by Tackle Warehouse – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International and Wild Card divisions. Anglers who fish in any of the six divisions or the Wild Card division and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship for a shot at winning up to $235,000 and a qualification to REDCREST 2025. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard. The 2024 Toyota Series Championship is hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Madison County Commission, and the Huntsville Sports Commission.

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Toyota Series include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, Fishing Clash, FX Custom Rods, General Tire, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, REDCON1, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, WIX Filters, YETI.
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