Home sweet home

BENTON, Ky. - After 13 years of tournament fishing without a major win, Terry Bolton didn't have a monkey on his back. He had a full-blown gorilla. Appropriately, Bolton's first victory came on the waters he grew up on - Kentucky Lake, site of the season-ending tournament of the EverStart Series Central Division, which Bolton has fished since its inception in 1998. Since 1995, Bolton has racked up 29 top-10 finishes in various FLW Outdoors tournament trails, but until today, victory has remained elusive. "I'm kind of like a Volkswagen," Bolton joked after the weigh-in. "I'm pretty good around the house, but I'm not worth a darn on the road."Terry Bolton Indeed, Bolton's Kentucky Lake record is stellar, with 20-plus of his 29 top-10s on either Kentucky Lake or its neighbor Barkley. He caught 16 pounds, 4 ounces on day three to enter the final day in third place, and he knocked it out of the park on day four with a jaw-dropping limit that weighed 21 pounds, 5 ounces. That sack included a 5-pounder and a crowd-pleasing 8-pounder that brought his two-day total to 37 pounds, 9 ounces. Although Bolton may have a history with Kentucky Lake, his victory this week came after intense practice following the recent FLW Tour event on Wheeler Lake. "Ever since I got home from the Wheeler Lake FLW event, I've fished a whole lot - four or five times a week," Bolton said. "I've been keeping up with the bass and staying in tune with the movements of the fish." Even though Bolton stayed in the top 10 the duration of the tournament, he started to get worried on day two, when he slipped into the finals in eighth. "After the second day, I really thought I was in trouble," he said. "I decided to do things differently this year, knowing that the ledges in the river channel were holding bigger fish. They just happened to show up on one I know really well." Bolton said the lake had been subjected to a lot of pressure, causing the fish to move on those ledges. Bolton picked up on that, noticing that the fish had moved off the bottom on the final day. "I just hopped the jig in front of them, and they bit," he said. Bolton caught his tournament-winning bass on a 10 1/2-inch Zoom Ole Monster worm and a 5/8-ounce homemade jig without a weed guard. Pro winner Terry Bolton is calm before the day-four weigh-in, knowing his stringer included an 8-pound bass.Bolton realizes that with his Kentucky Lake background, deep-water fishing is his speciality, and the deep-water fishing on Kentucky Lake is at a peak in June. The fish are invariably found on the ledges, but the key for Bolton was knowing how to adjust. "I spend a lot of time ledge-fishing," he said. "It's something you become accustomed to - realizing how the fish adjust, reading the screen on your depth finder. It's getting harder to fool (the fish), the more people who are out there." Bolton says that even though the win was a long time coming, he always knew it would eventually be his turn. As for this week, once the first two days were under his belt and he was in the finals, he says he felt a calm come over him, and he knew he had a chance. "I've always heard that once you learn how to win, it's contagious," he said. "I always knew I had the ability." Bolton also finished the season ranked fifth in Central Division points standings, earning a trip to the 2005 EverStart Series Championship. McGuire earns best-ever finish Curt McGuire took second place with a two-day total weighing 33-2.Curt McGuire of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., finished in the No. 2 spot with a two-day total of 33 pounds, 2 ounces that earned him $10,000. McGuire led day three with an 18-8 limit and brought in 14-10 today - a lower weight, but still the second-heaviest pro limit brought in on day four. Like most everybody else, McGuire fished ledges all week with a jig. "I was fishing really slowly, working a jig with slow hops," he said. "If you could find one rock or small brush pile, the fish would be stacked in it." McGuire said the ledges were huge but the spots he was fishing were relatively small, and he was making one cast to each ledge. He said that even though he registered his heaviest weight on day three, that was actually his toughest day. It continued to be a challenge on day four, with the fish changing positions on the ledges, and he credits his co-angler partner Chuck Rounds with showing him how to catch them. "They moved up off the bottom, and I couldn't figure out how to catch them," he said. "This morning I thought, `Something is bad wrong.' It frazzled me - got me off my game. Chuck is how I figured out they were on top." McGuire used a green pumpkin football-head jig to catch most of his bass, though he did find some success on a crankbait and 10-inch ribbontail worm. McGuire ranked 30th in year-end points standings, also earning an EverStart championship berth. Frasier battles wind for third No. 3 pro Larry Frasier blamed a heavier wind and lots of fishing pressure for his lower weight on day four.Larry Frasier of Owensboro brought in 17-12 on day three but only 11-6 on day four, winding up third with a two-day total of 29 pounds, 2 ounces that earned him $8,950. He described the waves in his area as wind-induced 4-foot rollers, and as such he experienced some equipment problems that hindered his final-day performance. "It affected my ability to fish," he said. "The boat trouble and the locals killed me." Frasier was the only final-round pro to fish Barkley Lake this week, and the Kentucky-Barkley regular says he prefers it that way. "I fish Barkley," he said. "Shawn (Penn) and Terry (Bolton) are Kentucky Lake fishermen. I like the shallower, stained water." Though he was fishing a different lake, Frasier too was targeting ledges, looking for a boat-sized area holding fish. "Every ledge, there's always one sweet spot," he said. "When you get on it, you know it. One of my ledges was inside a bay, and I caught two 5-pounders on it." This was Frasier's second EverStart top-10. Penn takes fourth place No. 4 pro Shawn Penn puts one on the scales.Eddyville pro Shawn Penn brought in a two-day total of 28 pounds, 6 ounces to take fourth place and $7,950. Penn is a BFL LBL Division heavyweight who has fished upper-level tournament trails regularly in the past but chose to keep it close to home in recent years in support of his family. As such, Penn typically fishes only one EverStart event a year - the Kentucky-Barkley one - and he is often among the final-round anglers. "I want to watch my kids grow up," he said. Penn has scored 22 top-10 finishes on Kentucky-Barkley in the BFL and EverStart Series. Davis earns another top-10 William Davis finished the tournament in the No. 5 spot.In 2005, William Davis of Russellville, Ala., has scored five top-10 finishes on three different tournament trails, and he earned his second EverStart top-10 this week with a fifth-place finish on Kentucky Lake. Davis led days one and two but struggled a bit on days three and four compared to his opening-round performance. His two-day total weight of 28 pounds earned him $7,450. "Wednesday I probably caught 30 keepers, catching them on every cast," Davis said. "It slowed way down and totally changed, but the key to being successful is being open-minded." Davis ended the season ranked sixth in Central Division points and will also compete in the EverStart championship, which will be held in his neck of the woods on Pickwick Lake. Best of the rest Rounding out the top 10 pros on Kentucky Lake: 6th: Sam Lashlee of Camden, Tenn., 27-8, $6,450 7th: Rodney Tidwell of Murray, 27-4, $5,450 8th: David Curtis of Trinity, Texas, 23-13, $4,950 9th: Billy Schroeder of Paducah, 22-10, $4,450 10th: Kelly Albert of Goodlettsville, Tenn., 16-1, $3,950 Curtis wins points race Pro David Curtis ranked No. 1 in both the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail and EverStart Series Central Division points standings.No. 8 Kentucky Lake finisher David Curtis capped off an awesome year with the 2005 Central Division points crown. Curtis earned 756 points over the course of four events in which he finished in the top 10 three times. He's also the 2005 Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail points champion. Coming up The top 40 pros in the year-end EverStart Central Division points standings will receive an automatic invite to the 2005 EverStart Series Championship, slated to take place on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala., Nov. 2-5. The total purse for that event is $1 million.

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/news/2015-03-28-birge-buzzes-ahead

Birge Buzzes Ahead

Today started off with a slightly miserable 31-degree air temperature, but it didn’t take long for the top 20 pros to really heat up on Lewis Smith Lake at the second stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude. Reports poured in throughout the day of big bass – especially big largemouths – being caught off beds. It looked at first as if one of the “largemouth lookers” might piece together a big enough bag to snatch the lead away from Oklahoma rookie Zack Birge, who struggled early to make his shallow topwater pattern work. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the young gun Birge has the coolness and patience of a veteran, and he stuck with his game plan of throwing a buzzbait and soft jerkbait rig until the sun had time to warm the shallows and spur the fish to become more active. Birge tallied 17 pounds, 11 ounces today, raising his three-day total to 54-8 and giving him a lead of 3-11 over Texas veteran Clark Wendlandt in second place. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 3

After three days, it looks as if tournament leader Zack Birge has the quality largemouth bite in the bushes wired. But behind him on the leaderboard are nine pros doing everything from sight-fishing to catching schooling bass and everything in between. Even with all the patterns in play, few have fizzled. The sight-fishers have reported finding new bedders, the schoolers are still schooling and a couple of guys have even started tapping floating docks. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-lewis-smith-lake-day-3-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

Day 3 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-topwater-takes-birge-to-the-top

Topwater Takes Birge to the Top

On a day when chilly, windy post-front conditions challenged many Walmart FLW Tour anglers who were relying on sight-fishing for spawning bass, Zack Birge bucked the trend and pulled out a pair of topwaters to haul in 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Birge jumped from third place past day-one leader Drew Benton to take over the top spot on Lewis Smith Lake in the event, which is presented by Evinrude. Birge’s two-day total of 36-13 has him positioned 1 pound ahead of Benton. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 2

The second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament on Lake Guntersville proved as remarkable as the first – or perhaps better, considering today’s parade of big fish included a 12-pound, 10-ounce behemoth caught by fourth-place pro Trevor Fitzgerald for the day’s Big Bass prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-hall-holds-steady-for-lead

Hall Holds Steady For Lead

Joe Hall of Lake City, Minn. wasn’t confident about his chances going onto the second day of competition of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville. Nonetheless, he held steady with a 27-pound, 5-ounce catch that only barely fell short of the 28-1 he weighed on the first day. With a two-day total of 55 pounds, 6 ounces, Hall holds a 1-pound, 12-ounce lead over Cameron Gautney going into the final day of the Mercury presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-missouri-anglers-lead-college-open

Missouri Anglers Lead College Open

Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almohtadi of Northwest Missouri State University of Maryville, Mo., took the lead in the opening round of the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake with 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Heading into Saturday’s second and final round, the University of Kentucky’s Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher sit in second place with 22-14, while Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy of the University of Alabama are currently third with 22-9. Details to follow. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-day-1-patterns-from-the-college-open

Day 1 Patterns from the College Open

The Northwest Missouri State University team of Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almontadi took the day-one lead in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. While their pattern seems to be effectively refined – they were using only one lure and had no others out on the deck – Nordbye and Almontadi don’t have this one sewed up yet. The rest of the top five is just a few pounds behind the leaders. Here’s how they made it into contention going into the final day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-gautney-under-pressure

Gautney Under Pressure

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Guntersville is just as misty and nasty as the first. Lucky for us, the first day of the Mercury-presented event featured huge catches throughout the field. READ MORE »