Alton Jones Jr. just completed a guest segment on "Bassmaster LIVE," but left unsaid was his near-$10,000 mistake on Day 2. Jones self-reported a penalty for making a cast with six fish in his livewell. It happens more times than you might expect on the Elite Series, in the excitement of the moment.
The penalty isn't as costly as it once was, which included culling your largest fish. Now it's simply a 2-pound penalty, and you can cull your smallest fish. But that penalty almost cost Jones a place in the Top 50 cut. He finished in a tie for 48th place with 29-14. Missing the cut would have hurt even more since it came on his first wedding anniversary.
"To just squeak into the cut after a mishap like that, I was excited to make it," Jones said Sunday. "I might have been in 48th place, but I felt like I won the tournament."
Jones caught only three bass on Day 3, but one was the biggest of the day, a 7-3 pounder, which helped him finish 43rd.
"I was skipping a swimbait under docks in a marina," Jones said. "On every cast, there were shad following my bait. That big one just choked it. I couldn't even see the bait."
The bait? "I'd rather not say, it's a secret swimbait," Jones said. "It was a big one though, a 7-inch swimbait."
Jones is having a good year. Although Angler of the Year points aren't final until after today, Jones isn't likely to move much from his current 19th place. He's made all three Top 50 cuts, finishing 23rd at Lake Martin and 38th at Grand Lake.