The Johnston brothers, Cory and Chris, have been dominating northern tournaments for years. Case in point, the two have won the last three Angler of the Year titles in the FLW Costa Northern Division (Cory in 2015 and 2016, Chris in 2017).
Yet, while the older Cory has tasted victory by himself in some minor-level events, Chris had never won at the major or minor levels. That is, until this past weekend.
Despite hailing from Canada, Chris showed he’s pretty good in Florida, as he followed up his top 10 at the FLW opener on Okeechobee with his first major victory at the Harris Chain this weekend.
Johnston began his tournament in Lake Griffin on day one, but most of his time in Harris. He’d located a hydrilla edge in about 12 feet of water where bass were foraging around a shad spawn. The shad were piled into a 100-yard-long indention in the edge of the grass, and Johnston worked on them with a jerkbait and a gold lipless crankbait.
That area dwindled as the tournament went on, though, which forced him to try a schooling spot shown to him by second-place finisher Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson. That proved to be the key decision, as he milked it with a custom white vibrating jig with a Jackall Rhythm Wave 4.8 swimbait for the win.
Johnston – a former No. 1-ranked angler – had slipped during the 2017 season, but he’s quickly climbing again. He jumped from 69th to 46th with this victory.
An oddity of this tournament is home many anglers ranked 100 or lower that made the top 10. Gustafson was in the 100s but is now 94th after finishing runner-up, but take a look at the rest of the top 10:
3rd John Hunter – 137th
4th Glenn Browne – Not Ranked (missed 2017 season)
5th Buddy Gross – 182nd
6th Matt Greenblatt – 161st
7th Tony Dumitras – Not Ranked (missed 2017 season)
8th Kurt Dove – 177th
9th Jared McMillan – Not Ranked (rookie)
10th Anthony Gagliardi – 24th