Ed Cole, shown, and his tourney partner, Billy Freeman, landed two fish exceeding 7.5 pounds to win the final 3X9 Series regular season event Tuesday.

As the last two-angler team cleared the scales Tuesday evening, the 3X9 Series concluded its 2020 regular season and top teams prepared to fish in the daylong championship event slated for Oct. 4.

This year’s series was marked by strong participation throughout the March through September schedule, by a COVID-19 related interruption and by quality six-plus-pound fish landed most every week.

This week was no exception to the big fish norm, with five bass over 7.5 pounds being weighed in.

Two of those large fish were contributed by the winning team of Ed Cole and Billy Freeman. The men’s total winning weight was 17.59 pounds, which earned them $880.

When asked about the win, Cole said, “Really was one of those evenings where all the moon and stars aligned. Billy’s first cast was the big fish. By 6:30 we had two seven-pounders in the boat. We caught another small fish to make three fish. After a short time, we caught a three-pound fish to cull the small fish. We were fairly confident we had enough weight to win, so we made the decision to weigh in early.”

In all, 45 teams competed this week, with 30 bringing at least one legal fish to the scales. The field weighed in a total of 75 fish, with a cumulative weight of 217.32 pounds, yielding an average per-fish weight of 2.90 pounds.

Once all the statistics were tallied, the top ten teams heading into the championship round were determined.

In descending order, from first place to 10th place were the teams of John Dulaney and Brian Young, David Kipp and Justin Rogers, Randy Fleeman and Chris Miller, Donnie Mathes and Tim Rake, John Riley and Andrew Foulkrod, Bill Blisard and Rodney Thompson, Gary Riggs and Billy Spears, Gary Johnson and Mike Soden, Levi Green and Perry Dixon Jr., and James Millsap and Jody Berger.

The championship event takes place on Stillhouse Hollow Lake

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