UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Kennedy claims first FLW Tour win

Steve Kennedy used a two-day stringer of 44 pounds, 14 ounces to capture first place on Kentucky Lake.

Alabama native captures tournament title on Kentucky Lake in dominating fashion

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. - Coming into the finals on Kentucky Lake, Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., had never finished higher than 16th place in any FLW tournament. To make matters more interesting, Kennedy had recently quit his job, moved out of his apartment and had been surviving check-to-check for as long as he could remember in an effort to pursue the difficult goal of becoming a professional bass angler.

However, even in his wildest dreams, Kennedy could not have foreseen what was to happen in Saturday's final-day weigh-in. Using a behemoth two-day catch of 44 pounds, 14 ounces, Kennedy obliterated the rest of the field - outfishing his nearest rival and 1998 FLW Champion Davy Hite by more than 10 pounds - to capture his first tournament title and a whopping first-place prize of $100,000.

"This has been the best two days of tournament fishing in my whole life," said Kennedy. "I practiced for about a week and never even caught one 4-pounder. It's hard to explain. I really just wanted to make the top 10. This is just incredible. Incredible."

What was even more incredible was the fact that he caught nearly every single fish all week from one fishing hole.

"I really hammered that hole over the last two days and I'm very surprised it held up," said Kennedy. "Just about every fish I caught came off that one hole. I still can't believe the fish that came off of that spot."

According to Kennedy, the magical location was situated just over a "big gravel flat" sandwiched between bushes and a grass line some 100 yards apart. On the final day of competition, Kennedy attacked his fish with a Carolina-rigged 5-inch green-pumpkin Senko, a Fat Free Shad junior crankbait in a chartreuse color and a Rapala DT-10 crankbait. His bait choices, fished in about 8 to 10 feet of water, were good enough to land a 21-pound, 13-ounce stringer in the finals - easily the largest sack of the day - and build upon his already formidable 4-pound lead in the semifinals.

"My hands still hurt from catching all of those fish," said Kennedy, who had visible black marks up and down his thumb and palms from his strenuous day on the water. "But it's worth it. This is something I've wanted to do for the last 10 to 15 years. And to accomplish what I did over the last two days, and to do this in an FLW final, it doesn't get any better than this."

A gentleman's second

Although Davy Hite of Prosperity, S.C., didn't win the big prize in Saturday's finals, few anglers were ever more gracious in defeat.

"Steve beat me fair and square. He was just a better fisherman this week," said Hite, who recorded a very respectable two-day catch of 34 pounds, 13 ounces. "When I was sitting there this morning, I could see the excitement on Steve's face. I could see the tears in the eyes of his family. I'm not saying I didn't want to win. We're all fierce competitors. But I thought this morning if I didn't win, it would be great to see Steve win."

Despite the second-place finish, Hite said that he had few regrets.

"It's been a great week," said Hite, who walked away with $35,000 in prize money. "I caught a lot of big fish and I made the top 10. And you can't ask for much better than second place. Basically, it was one step away from being a perfect week."

Hite said that he caught the majority of his catch fishing a Carolina-rigged Gambler Lizard and Ring Fry as well as a Rattleback jig.

Mr. Monsoor grabs third

Fishing in his very first FLW final, Tom Monsoor of La Crosse, Wis., showed few signs that this was only his rookie season on the tour. A stalwart of the EverStart Northern Division for years, Monsoor turned in a two-day catch of 29 pounds, 11 ounces to capture third place overall and a check for $20,000.

"I had a great time out there," said Monsoor. "This has been my dream."

However, had Monsoor not lost one of his favorite crankbaits in the finals, things might have turned out even better.

"I caught 37 fish today," he said. "But after I caught that big one, I lost my plug when it got snagged on the next cast. And unfortunately, I only had that one lure."

Surman infatuated with Kentucky Lake

Using a catch of 29 pounds, 7 ounces, Mike Surman of Boca Raton, Fla., finished the finals in fourth place. However, in addition to the $16,000 in prize money he took home, Surman also left with newfound respect for Kentucky Lake.

"It was just an awesome tournament," said Surman, who landed the majority of his catch fishing a Gambler Lizard and Bacon Rind. "This place is unbelievable. I caught about 75 fish today. There is no other place in the world where you can catch a 2 1/2-pounder after a 2 1/2-pounder after a 2 1/2-pounder. This is just a fantastic lake."

Thomas happy with result

Jeffrey Thomas of Broadway, N.C., used a 26-pound, 1-ounce catch to capture fifth place and a check for $14,000.

"I had a blast today," he said. "I just kept that bait in the water and hoped for the best. Overall, it turned out pretty good."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 pro finalists were Terry Segraves (sixth) of Kissimmee, Fla., with a catch of 24 pounds, 2 ounces; Todd Ary (seventh) of Birmingham, Ala., with a catch of 23 pounds, 5 ounces; Terry Baksay (eighth) of Monroe, Conn., with a catch of 18 pounds, 2 ounces; Gary Yamamoto (ninth) of Mineola, Texas, with a catch of 15 pounds, 10 ounces; and Kevin VanDam (10th) of Kalamazoo, Mich., with a catch of 15 pounds, 8 ounces.

FLW action resumes June 18-21 at Wheeler Lake in Florence, Ala.

Related links:

Quick Bites: FLW Kentucky Lake, Day 4
Press release

Tags: headline-story  gary-mortenson 


Devere Takes BFL Wild Card Win

The decision of what to fish come tournament time can be difficult for most. For others – like Mike Devere – relying on a single bait that you have confidence in is all you need. Devere’s one bait, one rod method was strong enough to carry him to victory by nearly 2 pounds in the BFL Wild Card held on Lake Hartwell. READ MORE »


Hanselmania 4.0

Saturday, in Paducah, Ky., on the shores of the Ohio River, Ray Hanselman rewrote history for the second time this season. After winning all three 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division events, which had never been done before, Hanselman came to Kentucky and won the Rayovac FLW Series Championship. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 3 Coverage

The final day of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River will largely be fished on the Tennessee River, as all but two anglers rolled up it to chase smallmouths. READ MORE »


Hanselman on the Verge of Four-Peat

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River was fished primarily on the nearby Tennessee River and resulted in a major shuffling of the leaderboard. In the end, Ray Hanselman rose from second to first and will lead the top 10 into the final day with 30 pounds, 14 ounces. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 2

After two days of competition, Ray Hanselman leads the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River, but as the leaderboard has reflected, the river’s hefty smallmouths are certainly capable of producing some fireworks and providing some surprises. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 2 Coverage

Down at Paducah, the start of day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship was just about perfect – a light wind, temps in the low 40s and no fog. That’s not the case elsewhere. READ MORE »


Barnes Blasts 21 on the Ohio

On day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River David Barnes Sr. of China, Maine, hauled exactly 21 pounds of smallmouth across the stage to take the lead on a day that was tough for many. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 1

Shortly after David Barnes electrified the Rayovac FLW Series Championship weigh-in with his leading weight of 21 pounds of smallmouths, Ray Hanselman followed suit with an all-smallmouth limit weighing 19 pounds. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 1 Coverage

Updates from day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River. READ MORE »


McCaig Wins Neely Henry Regional

There are times that a little local knowledge helps you in a bass tournament, and then there are times it does not. And sometimes, it pays to ignore past experiences altogether, as Mark McCaig figured out en route to winning the Oct. 22-24, 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Neely Henry out of Gadsden, Ala. By disregarding what his local experience might have suggested he do and approaching the tournament a little differently, the Oxford, Ala., boater posted a three-day total weight of 45 pounds, 7 ounces to take home the $20,000 winner’s purse as well as a 2015 Ranger Z518C with 200-hp outboard. READ MORE »


Goodwin Wins at Lake of the Ozarks

Day-two leader Shonn Goodwin of Moore, Okla., held on to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Mercury at Lake of the Ozarks Oct. 22-24 by bringing four bass to the scale on the third and final day. Those fish weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces. His three-day total of 14 bass weighed 43-13. For the win, Goodwin earned $20,000 and a new Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »


Walters Wins Wateree BFL Regional

Todd Walters relied on a combo pattern to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional on Lake Wateree. The North Carolina boater fished rocky cover upstream and brush piles in the lake's clear lower end. The two-part program produced a three-day winning weight of 47 pounds, 4 ounces, which was 11 pounds better than second place. READ MORE »


Uribe By An Ounce

After Jody Jordan brought 24 pounds, 5 ounces to push his total past 66 pounds on the final day the crowd waited with bated breath for day two leader Joe Uribe Jr. to bring his fish to the scale. As Uribe transferred his third bass from the bag to the scale, he shook his head and whispered back “you’ve got it,” to the watching Jordan. READ MORE »


Anderson Wins KY Lake Regional

You might say there weren’t any surprises at the 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Lowrance on Kentucky Lake Oct. 15-17. The techniques of the top 12 pros who fished the final day were typical of the Tennessee River in fall: surface fishing with frogs and Zara Spooks and winding Rat-L-Traps and ChatterBaits. The winners weren’t surprising either: Ryan Sykes of Hamilton, Ohio, won the co-angler division for the second consecutive year, and Tennessee pro Brent Anderson earned his sixth win on the Kentucky/Barkley system since 2009. READ MORE »


Grover Takes Co-angler Title on Clear Lake

Rick Grover of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., pulled in 55 pounds, 5 ounces of bass for the Rayovac FLW Series co-angler win on Clear Lake. All told, it was worth a new Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower outboard and $5,000. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Midday Update Day 3



Uribe Takes Lead and AOY at Clear Lake

Joe Uribe Jr. jumped into the lead going into the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake. Uribe caught 20 pounds, 13 ounces on day two for a total of 44 pounds, 8 ounces and was the only pro to weigh more than 20 pounds both days. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 2

When the scales had closed after the second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake, no doubt more than a few anglers breathed a sigh of relief that they were still in contention. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Midday Update Day 2

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake has been a little slower than day one. READ MORE »


Crutcher Cracks 29-9

Midway through a weigh-in that was noticeably lacking in super-sized bags, Mark Crutcher of Lakeport, Calif., lit up the leaderboard with 29 pounds, 9 ounces of Clear Lake goodness. READ MORE »