Connell sailed north into uncertain waters but excelled, taking 21st on the St. Lawrence and 22nd on Lake Champlain. He squeaked inside the cut at Lake St. Clair (49th) then was middle of the pack on Mille Lacs (24th), but it was just enough.
“This is my first professional year of fishing,” he said. “I didn’t come from FLW. I fished local tournaments, so really traveling to these lakes I’ve never been before and doing good was huge for me.”