WHAT. A. DAY!
Day 5, Championship Friday, was an absolute rollercoaster ride of emotions as we all huddled around our screens to watch Joe Okada and Josh Blosser battle head-2-head for the Lake Mille Lacs’ Event Crown!
Yesterday we all saw Joe Okada have another great day of fishing as he put up a PWS record of 76 pounds and 8 ounces of walleyes! As Day 4 came to an end it was evident that Joe was feeling the toll of four days of tournament fishing out in the hot sun. How did Joe look this morning? Laser focused is a good way to sum it up.
Battling against Joe was Josh Blosser. Josh, in his own rights, has been having a very consistent week finding and catching good quality fish. Perhaps, the most defining thing about Josh’s first four-days of the tournament was how he caught fish in flurries and was able to make big weight jumps in very little time.
Fast forward to lines in at 8 AM CST and Joe Okada struck first with a nice fish. From there, Joe was off to the races consistently picking up fish throughout the day. In the rearview was Josh. As Josh fell behind in the morning hours, he never let Joe move out of reach, grinding every fish with his black and blue Strike King plastic and ½ oz swim jig.
It was not until about 12:20 PM when the tides started to turn for Joe Okada, and not in a good way. Joe was up nearly 20 pounds until Josh caught fire and wound up on a flurry of hooksets, like we have seen so many times this week with him. Soon Josh had the lead cut down to less than three pounds. Boom, lightning struck Josh’s jig and plastic once again to the tune of a $35K, 3-pound 3-ounce, Mille Lakes Walleye on the end of his line. This was the final legal fish he caught for the day, enough to move Josh past Okada by exactly 15 ounces.
Now all eyes are on Joe and Josh, split screen action was showing every cast and reaction of our matchup. Joe knew time was of the essence with about 15 minutes left and he went to work using his electronics in hopes of marking and catching the winning fish.
Joe’s current position was not producing and Joe made a quick run to check a spot he was catching fish from earlier in the day. Joe arrived at his second spot, and it took him no longer than six minutes to second guess his move. Again, we heard the motor on Joe’s boat start up and off to another spot was Joe. Now regulation time was less than eight minutes to go and Joe needed a fish badly. Searching, searching, and searching, Joe’s last spot of the day did not have a markable fish on it. Joe never made a cast within the last few minutes.
The 1:00 PM hour struck and lines are officially out. To everyone’s awe the camera turned to Josh. Josh had just won the Mille Lacs Event after mounting an incredible comeback and beating a dominating Joe Okada. A speechless Josh Blosser sat idle in the water soaking up all the emotions of the last five days of fishing. A few hundred yards away we saw a very happy, emotional, and proud competitor watch his younger brother win his first ever H2H PWS tournament. Robert Blosser met Josh with a hug on the water – a cool moment indeed!
What. A. Moment. This is why we as anglers and fans of the sport do what we do – moments like this. No one could have scripted this better – simply awesome!
Another big piece of this tournament tells the Battle On Bago AOY story. Again, something that makes the H2H PWS extremely dynamic is the AOY breakdown and how our anglers move and advance after each tournament. See the results below.