MUELLER WINS ELITE SERIES AT LANIER

Updated: Feb 18, 2019

For Chris Zaldain, this week has been an exercise in extreme patience.

Former B.A.S.S. Nation Champion Paul Mueller proved he belongs in the big leagues of professional fishing by winning a spotted bass shootout on Georgia’s Lake Lanier. Mueller earned $100,000 by winning the Toyota Bassmaster Elite at Lake Lanier today.

Desperate to fill out his five-bass limit with bigger spotted bass, Mueller returned to a deep ridge that had produced most of his big spotted bass on previous days. There, he managed to dredge up two big spotted bass that pushed him ahead of Texas angler Chris Zaldain by less than a pound.

Connecticut angler Paul Mueller celebrates with his family after winning the Toyota Bassmaster Elite At Lake Lanier with a four-day total of 69 pounds. Photo by B.A.S.S. / Seigo Saito

“I struggled today,” Mueller said. “I had run out of options, so I went back to my primary spot and caught a 5 1/4 (pounder) and then a 4. Without those two fish, I don’t win.”

Mueller had 18 pounds, 8 ounces for the day, giving him a four-day total of 69-0. It could have been even more. “There were still fish on that spot when I left,” he added. “At the end of the day, I lost a couple of big ones. I could have had a 20-something bag today.”

He described the structure as a large, underwater ridge with two shallower areas on top and very deep water on each side. He caught most of his spotted bass the first day on a Reins Bubbling Shad on a Do It Molds Freestyle Jighead, but the big producer the rest of the time was a 3 1/4-ounce Reins Fat Rockvibe Shad Swimbait on a 1/2-ounce herring head underspin jighead with the spinner removed.

“Who would have