Canadian rookie Cooper Gallant showing well at first Elite Series event
OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — It's becoming quite an Elite Series debut for Canadian Cooper Gallant.
The 25-year-old from Bowmanville, Ont., will advance to the second round of his first-ever Elite Series event on Florida's Lake Okeechobee. Gallant stands ninth overall with a 10-fish weight of 40 pounds, 13 ounces.
American Brandon Cobb leads with 55 pounds, eight ounces. He also has the biggest fish of the tournament thus far at eight pounds, 12 ounces.
Gallant opened Thursday with a five-fish limit weighing 21 pounds, three ounces to stand ninth in the 104-angler field. On Friday, he brought in another five fish that weighed a combined 19 pounds five ounces for his overall total.
The top 50 competitors in the 103-angler field qualified for the third round. Joining Gallant on the water Saturday will be Jeff Gustafson, of Kenora, Ont., and Chris Johnston, of Peterborough, Ont.
Gustafson is in 30th spot at 34 pounds, 11 ounces. Gustafson opened Thursday with five fish weighing 17 pounds seven ounces before posting a five-fish limit of 17 pounds four ounces Friday.
Johnston stands 41st at 31 pounds. He opened with 17 pounds, six ounces on Thursday before bringing in five fish weighing 13 pounds, 10 ounces on Friday.
Cory Johnston, of Cavan,, Ont., finished 91st with 10 fish weighing 20 pounds 15 ounces.
The top 10 anglers after Saturday's round will advance to Sunday's final.
As impressive as Gallant's showing is, Cory Johnston had an Elite Series debut to remember in February 2019. He went into the final day leading the event on the St. Johns River in Palatka, Fla., but had to settle for second behind veteran Rick Clunn.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2023.
The Canadian Press