UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Ohio River

Kentucky karma

Pro Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., collects his second $100,000 check in Wal-Mart FLW Tour competition at Kentucky Lake.

BENTON, Ky. - You would think a 4 1/2-pound lead would be enough, but you're never safe at a standout bass fishery like Kentucky Lake. Auburn, Ala., pro Steve Kennedy came in with a hefty, 21-pound, 6-ounce limit Saturday and won his second Wal-Mart FLW Tour tournament at Kentucky Lake, quashing the title hopes of hometown favorite Terry Bolton of Paducah, Ky. ItBolton entered the day with a 4-pound, 9-ounce lead over second-place Kennedy and the rest of the pro finalists. Bolton seemed poised - finally, after many top finishes and even victories in lesser tournaments here - to win his first big-money event on his home lake. But when all the fish had been caught and counted Saturday, Bolton's 16-pound, 8-ounce limit couldn't stand up to Kennedy's 21-6. The final weight tally: Kennedy 37-5, Bolton 37-1 - a narrow 4-ounce difference. Steve Kennedy reacts after edging out Terry Bolton for the Kentucky Lake win."It's absolutely awesome. I had so many opportunities in the last year. I sort of had a pattern going. I had a bad tournament, and then I finished fourth. Another bad tournament, then third. I had a bad tournament before this one, so I just assumed I'd be second," Kennedy said. "It just feels great to have a good final day while the cameras were on and to get over that hump." Counting this one, Kennedy has collected two $100,000 winner's checks on the FLW Tour, both of them at Kentucky Lake. In 2003 the lake was extremely high, and Kennedy won here by throwing crankbaits and fishing Carolina rigs over flooded gravel flats. He used a completely different approach to win this year. "I was just fishing ledges out there on the main lake, throwing a football jig out there and dragging it on the bottom," said Kennedy, not exactly pinpointing his fishing area as "north of the (Hwy. 68) bridge" on Kentucky Lake. "It had no relation at all to three years ago. I actually found most of these places two years ago when Anthony (Gagliardi) won. I didn't have but about four or five places with fish on them." Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., weighs in his last bass, a 4-pound, 13-ounce kicker smallmouth that gave him victory.Kennedy said he caught his bass on a ¾-ounce, brown-and-purple PJ's Football jig with a green-pumpkin Kinami Doubletail grub. "I was throwing to about 12 feet (of water) and dragging it out to about 22 feet," he said. "But I caught most of them pretty shallow. It was just an awesome day. I probably caught 20 keepers today." While most of his fish were largemouths, Kennedy's effort was aided greatly when he caught one of his kicker bass - a 4-pound, 13-ounce smallmouth - not far from Kentucky Dam Marina shortly before check-in. "I caught this fish with about five minutes left," he said. "It was awesome because that fish jumped over the net the first time." Terry Bolton of Paducah, Ky., led the tournament Friday with five bass weighing 20 pounds, 9 ounces and then added five more bass weighing 16 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday for a two-day total of 37 pounds, 1 ounce. He finished second.Bolton's lost fish cost him Like Friday, all 10 of the pro finalists caught five-bass limits Saturday. In total, the pros caught 50 bass the last two days, and 49 of them were released alive. The one that didn't make it, however, belonged to Bolton. An audible gasp arose from the knowledgeable Kentucky Lake crowd when they realized that their hometown hope would incur an 8-ounce penalty when it counted most. Bolton's limit actually weighed 17-0 and would have given him the victory, but his official weight went down as 16-8 thanks to the penalty. "That's just the risk you take when you fish deep this time of year. I did everything I could to take care of that bass," said Bolton, who fished Kentucky Lake ledges with a 5/8-ounce homemade jig and green-pumpkin Zoom trailer, a ¾-ounce spinnerbait and a 10 1/2-inch Zoom worm. "I caught it on a worm in the top of the head, and it was stressed from the spawn. Sometimes they die, and that's just part of it. Of course I was worried, but there was nothing I could do about it." While he lost an agonizingly close one at home due to unfortunate circumstances, just missing his first tour-level win, Bolton seemed to take the disappointment much better than the crowd. "It's a tough way to lose, but rules are rules, and and that's the way it goes," said Bolton, who admitted that he was more concerned about a big fish that he lost on a spinnerbait than he was about the penalty. "If it was meant to be my time, it would have happened. If I would have caught that fish, who knows what would have happened?" "I hate to win because of a dead fish, but I'll take it," Kennedy said. Bolton earned $36,000 for second place. Third place went to Gary Yamamoto of Mineola, Texas, for a final-round total weight of 30 pounds even. He caught 14-14 Saturday, including this 7-4 kicker largemouth.Yamamoto flips, Fritts rebounds, Lytle steady Third place and $25,000 went to Gary Yamamoto of Mineola, Texas, for a final-round total weight of 30 pounds even. He caught 14-14 Saturday, including a 7-4 kicker largemouth. "That was the most exciting time of my day," Yamamoto said about the big bass. "I was bored stiff just trying to catch only eight fish." Yamamoto said he started the day trying to fish deep, but caught nothing and moved back to the shallows, where he filled out his limit on a prototype cut-tail worm that he called a "swimming Senko." "I guess it's not going to be a prototype for long," he laughed. David Fritts of Lexington, N.C., caught the second-heaviest limit of the day - 18 pounds, 15 ounces - and came back from a 10th-place performance Friday to finish the tournament in fourth place with a weight of 29-4.David Fritts of Lexington, N.C., caught the second-heaviest limit of the day - 18 pounds, 15 ounces - and came back from a 10th-place performance Friday to finish the tournament in fourth place with a weight of 29-4. He earned $20,000. "This lake's been good to me," said Fritts, who threw crankbaits this week. "I really had a good chance to win, but I got really frustrated yesterday because I couldn't cast in that wind. But I had a lot of fun today. I probably caught 50 or 60 keepers." Curt Lytle of Zuni, Va., caught 13 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday and finished the week in fifth place with a weight of 27-8.Curt Lytle of Zuni, Va., caught 13 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday and finished the week in fifth place with a weight of 27-8. He collected $18,000. "It was going good. The current was flowing, I caught four fish in 45 minutes, and I thought, `This is going to be the day,'" said Lytle, who stuck to flipping and pitching the shallows on the lower end of Barkley Lake. "Then somebody at the Army Crops of Engineers turned off the water, and that was it. It was like the Dead Sea. But that's the way it goes." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pro finishers in FLW Tour competition at Kentucky Lake: 6th: David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., 26-5, $17,000 7th: David Walker of Sevierville, Tenn., 24-13, $16,000 8th: Jim Moynagh of Carver, Minn., 24-10, $15,000 9th: Matt Herren of Trussville, Ala., 22-13, $14,000 10th: Toshinari Namiki of Mineola, Texas, 22-10, $13,000 Standings update With just one tournament remaining, Anthony Gagliardi retook the lead in the pro standings after posting a big comeback weight on day two and finishing 27th at Kentucky Lake. He has 868 points. Bunched up behind him are Jim Moynagh (833 points), Matt Herren (832) and Gabe Bolivar (828), plus Ray Scheide (800). Coming up The next Wal-Mart FLW Tour event, the sixth and final regular-season tournament, is scheduled for Lake Champlain at Plattsburgh, N.Y., June 21-24.

Tags: headline-story  jeff-schroeder 

/news/2015-08-03-balog-back-on-top

Balog Back on Top

Joe Balog of Harrison Township, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Balog earned $6,418. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-03-edwards-finally-brings-it-home

Edwards Finally Brings it Home

Gary Edwards of Milton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 11 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division tournament on the Ohio River. For his victory, Edwards earned $6,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-01-browne-sticks-to-the-bank-to-win

Browne Sticks To The Bank To Win

A lot would have had to happen for Glenn Browne to relinquish his hard-earned lead on the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano on Lake Champlain. It turned out that a lot did happen, but with help from his friends and a great pattern, Glenn Browne socked 18 pounds, 7 ounces on the final day for a 63-pound, 8-ounce total and a payday of $34,097 plus a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-hp outboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-01-champlain-midday-update-day-3

Champlain Midday Update Day 3

Day three of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain started with a beautiful sunrise and light rain that had tapered off by the beginning of takeoff. For leader Glenn Browne, the beauty was soon marred by a breakdown that occurred shortly into his run south. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 2

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Plano on Lake Champlain definitely shook up the leaderboard. While Glenn Browne took a huge lead, the rest of the pack swapped around and remained pretty tight. Browne is catching his fish down south near Ticonderoga, but the north end has also produced very well for the rest of the field. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-browne-crushes-again-leads-by-6-

Browne Crushes Again, Leads By 6+

Averaging 20 pounds or more is a difficult thing to do in a multi-day tournament on Lake Champlain, but Glenn Browne might be on his way to doing it in the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano. After two days, the Ocala, Fla., pro has run to Ticonderoga twice and sacked up nearly identical bags for a total of 45 pounds, 8 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-champlain-midday-update-day-2

Champlain Midday Update Day 2

While day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was wracked by high winds and rain in the morning, day two has been almost as good as Champlain can be. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-cioppa-leads-on-champlain

Cioppa Leads On Champlain

David Cioppa of Hopkinton, Mass., weighed 22 pounds, 13 ounces late in the weigh-in to grab the lead after the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. Cioppa weighed all largemouths and says that he caught the entirety of his weight by about 9 a.m. from one location in the northern end of the lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 1

Lake Champlain was rough and wild on day one of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano, and a bunch of the anglers still got it done in a big way. David Cioppa caught largemouths in the Inland Sea, but the rest of the top guys spread out all over the massive lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-champlain-midday-update-day-1

Champlain Midday Update Day 1

Takeoff was placid enough, with a beautiful sunrise and a light breeze in the slightly protected corner that is Plattsburgh. By about 6:30 a.m., day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was already beginning to get rough. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-21-top-picks-from-icast

Top Picks From ICAST

A few days of walking the floor at ICAST is enough to exhaust a body, but it isn’t enough to know exactly what’s worthwhile. For that, you need some time to reflect and probably a few tournament seasons to fly by to see what rises up. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-renfrew-fished-to-win

Renfrew Fished to Win

Ian Renfrew of Phoenix, New York, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Renfrew earned $4,695. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-docks-and-rocks-key-for-synders

Docks and Rocks Key for Synders

Rus Snyders of Nashville, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Snyders earned $2,703. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-jig-crankbait-carry-powroznik

Jig, Crankbait Carry Powroznik

Ryan Powroznik of Prince George, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament on the James River. For his victory, Powroznik earned $7,507. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-persistence-pays-for-arning

Persistence Pays for Arning

Ray Arning Jr. of Walnut Hill, Illinois, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Arning earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-rod-roundup

New Rod Roundup

Rod companies continue to impress each year with a new crop of lighter, faster and more affordable (sweet!) rods. On the subject of price, these days, a tournament pro or an average angler could be fishing with rods that cost less than $100 apiece, but without giving up anything in the realm of quality. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-terminal-tackle

New Terminal Tackle

Don’t skimp where it counts the most – terminal tackle. Hooks, weights, jigheads and the like are the keys to taking all those new soft baits and swimbaits to the fish, hooking them and getting them in the boat. Here’s the best stuff we saw on the floor at ICAST 2015. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-flw-announces-2016-tour-schedule

FLW Announces 2016 Tour Schedule

FLW announced the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour regular-season schedule today in a live press conference held at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando, Fla. With the help of six veteran Tour pros, the company unveiled each of the six events, one-by-one, to a crowd of observers gathered around the FLW booth. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-reels-to-try

6 New Reels to Try

Whether you need to replace an old reel or you’re just looking to add to the arsenal, here are some of the latest and greatest from ICAST. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-lines-from-icast-2015

6 New Lines from ICAST 2015

Line might just be the most important part of the package when it comes to landing fish. From presenting the bait to getting them in the net, your line is involved the entire way. If you’re looking for something new to try, the following lines are worth a shot. READ MORE »