Hodges goes wire to wire to claim Kentucky Lake title

BENTON, Ky. - Andy Hodges of Cadiz performed the rare feat of leading a bass tournament wire to wire, winning the Stren Series Central Division event on Kentucky Lake with a whopping 79 pounds, 6 ounces of bass over four days. His name never left the top spot on the leaderboard despite the fact that he was fishing against some serious heavy hitters in his first-ever Stren Series event. "This is the best fishing I've ever done in my whole life," said an exuberant Hodges prior to weighing in his winning bass. "I fished my heart out this week. I'm exhausted." Hodges overcame a surge from runner-up Curt McGuire, who fished his best day of the week today, bringing in 21-5 to end the week with 75-11. Hodges had 20 pounds of his own, though, to ultimately top McGuire by 3 pounds, 11 ounces. En route to the $25,000 victory, Hodges had to think outside of his box - he's a Kentucky/Barkley native - to topple such elite pros as Koby Kreiger and Craig Powers as well as known Kentucky/Barkley stalwarts like McGuire and No. 3 Sam Lashlee. Andy Hodges holds up his well-deserved trophy from the Stren Central on Kentucky Lake."I struggled on day two for a little while, and I'm really, really proud of myself for adjusting," he said. "I don't like to change, and I caught 22 pounds (on day two). It was just my week." While early talk indicated a hot shallow-water bite this week, the top three pros all fished relatively deep. Hodges fished a little of both, with his best fishing coming out of the deeper water. The key was a 1/2-ounce green-pumpkin football-head jig, and he broke so many of them off that he headed out this morning with only two of them left. After he caught a limit, he was courteous enough to hand one of them to his day-four co-angler, Chuck Loerzel. "I was fishing deep, dragging that jig along the bottom," he said. "Most of them are postspawn fish, so you had to put it right in their face." Hodges also fished a Sweet Beaver around shallow wood to land his bass. And while a shallow pattern did help him on his way to victory, it was a change to deeper water that ultimately allowed him to win. "During practice I caught a lot of fish shallow, but they weren't quality fish," he said. "Plus, in every bay I'd see a boat fishing bushes, so I started fishing deeper structure, and I kept moving farther out - and I kept catching them." The first day, Hodges said his boat sat in deep water but the fish he caught were shallower. Then came day two, when they just would not bite. He ultimately turned things around and had his best day on his toughest day, when he brought in 22-1 on Thursday. "The past two days, I caught them all deep," he said. "Today, I fished 4 feet down to 9 feet. I'm very much relieved. The caliber of guys here was top-notch. These are the guys I see on TV and in the magazines and on the Internet. To compete against them and win is something else." McGuire again settles for second Curt McGuire caught the dayTwo years ago, Curt McGuire of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., finished second at this very tournament on Kentucky Lake, and he's in second again despite catching the heaviest limit of day four. His 21-pound, 5-ounce stringer brought his four-day total to 75 pounds, 11 ounces, good for $10,000. McGuire is a seasoned Kentucky Lake pro, and he fished what he knew best - ledges - to land his bass this week. "I always fish ledges, and I always fish deep," he said of his Kentucky Lake strategy. "I fished anywhere from 8 to 15 feet, mostly on hard bottom and gravel patches. I live or die out there. I haven't made a cast at the bank here in three years." It was an observation McGuire made several weeks ago that ultimately determined how he was going to fish the tournament this week. "I knew at home a big wave (of spawning fish) had come up three weeks ago, and I knew they were done," he said. "They had to go somewhere. I knew some of them had to be postspawn." The fish that comprised his hefty day-four sack were actually located Tuesday in practice but wouldn't bite for him until today. "I checked on them on day two - not a bite," he said. "Today, it was on." Indeed, McGuire's co-angler partner, Stephen Smith, took home the co-angler trophy, making him the third co-angler that McGuire has guided to a win in three years. "He netted my 4-pounder with his 4-pounder still in the net," McGuire said of Smith, who caught 18 pounds today. McGuire's primary bait was a Booyah football-head jig. Lashlee rises to third Sam Lashlee ended up in third place with 65-3 over four days.This event's defending champion, Sam Lashlee of Camden, Tenn., ultimately took third place and $9,000 (plus a $5,000 Ranger bonus) with a four-day catch of 65 pounds, 3 ounces. His limit today weighed in at 15 pounds, 4 ounces. "The fish were in the bushes," he said. "I ran to New Johnsonville the first day, and every day I made a shorter trip." Lashlee estimates his day-one run totaled 75 miles, and he ran about 60 miles on the second day. On the third and fourth day, his trip totaled around 50 miles, and today he ran close to the White Oak Creek area. "The second day is when I started fishing ledges harder," he said. "That's when I knew that I'd better get on the ledges to have a chance to win." That day, Lashlee visited the river islands and culled every fish out thanks to a very productive drop. "The third day, I made a mistake and went flipping," he said. "Today, I fished too much of the stuff that I've been fishing, and I struggled. I should have looked for new stuff." Lashlee mostly relied on a 1/2-ounce and a 3/4-ounce Strike King football-head jig in green pumpkin with a big Denny Brauer chunk. He also reported catching lots of bass on a Strike King Series 5 crankbait. "It was a slow bite," he said. "I was having to move my bait really slow." Partners Kreiger, Powers take fourth and fifth Koby Kreiger took fourth place with 63 pounds, 3 ounces.Koby Kreiger and Craig Powers are well-known among the tournament trails for sharing everything from rooms to fishing info to tournament winnings, and they took fourth and fifth place, respectively, at this week's event. Kreiger brought in 63 pounds, 3 ounces of bass over four days to earn $8,000 and his second Stren Series top-10 finish of the season. "It was pretty much the Andy Hodges show all week," Kreiger said. "I caught a lot of fish but came up a little short." Powers fished a Pop-R all week to bring in 60 pounds of bass over four days and earn $7,000. "I had such a good time," he said. "My wife's probably going to leave me, but I'm staying here tonight and fishing tomorrow. I've been getting 40 to 50 bites a day. My left hand is so sore I can't stand it." Rest of the best Carl Svebek took sixth place with a four-day total of 56-15.Rounding out the top 10 pros on Kentucky/Barkley: 6th: Carl Svebek, Siloam Springs, Ark., 20 bass, 56-15, $6,000 7th: Charlie King, Shreveport, La., 18 bass, 55-13, $5,500 8th: Kristofer Anderson, Lees Summit, Mo., 20 bass 55-1, $5,000 9th: Troy Eakins, Nixa, Mo., 20 bass 54-13, $4,500 10th: Sam Newby, Pocola, Okla., 19 bass, 53-11, $4,000 Coming up The next Stren Series event is a Western Division contest at the California Delta near Oakley, Calif., May 16-19. The next Central Division tournament is the third event of the season. It will be held at the Columbus Pool near Columbus, Miss., June 6-9.

Tags: headline-story  jennifer-simmons 

/news/2015-05-23-brown-rallies-for-seminole-win

Brown Rallies for Seminole Win

When the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Seminole started on Thursday, hot, slick conditions prevailed. The air temperatures pushed into the 90’s, water temperatures hovered between 80 and 85 degrees – summertime was on. Or was it? READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-jeter-takes-co-angler-crown

Jeter Takes Co-Angler Crown

Call it a local’s sweep at the Rayovac FLW Series on Lake Seminole. While local pro Clint Brown of Bainbridge, Ga., won the boater Division, his Bainbridge neighbor, Greg Jeter won the Co-angler Division to make it a local twofer. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-lake-seminole-day-3-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 3 Midday Update

Second place pro Clint Brown was gaining some serious ground on Reneau as Brown had boxed four solid keepers for about 11 pounds on his very first spot – all caught from protected backwaters with a topwater. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-reneau-grabs-lead-on-seminole

Reneau Grabs Lead On Seminole

Though Reneau has weighed in 15-1 and 20-7 over two days for a total of 35 pounds, 8 ounces, he says he is only getting about six bites per day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 2

A shake-up occurred on day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole. Day one was all about slow, summertime fishing in the lake’s deep timber. Overnight a frontal passage dropped water and air temperatures and left a north wind howling down the lake. As a result, the timber bite cooled off and those fishing shallower waters climbed up the leaderboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-lake-seminole-day-2-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 2 Midday Update

The hot summer at Seminole turned back into spring this morning as a cold front blew through the area dropping air temps some 10 degrees with a blustery north wind. Sweatshirts were needed again as the cold air felt more like April than May. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-enfinger-leads-on-seminole

Enfinger Leads On Seminole

Enfinger said he got off to a “fast start” this morning, sacking a limit by 10 a.m., but he only upgraded twice after that, catching about eight keepers on the day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-1

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 1

Bradley Enfinger took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole fishing suspended bass in timber. Others in the top-5 fished both wood and grass on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-lake-seminole-midday-update

Lake Seminole Midday Update

Lake Seminole is known to be more of a quality lake than a quantity lake and that trait showed on the morning of day one as anglers who were catching fish were not necessarily getting many bites, but 3-pound pluses seemed to be the norm for the ones hauled in over the gunnel. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ledges-lift-wilson-to-top

Ledges Lift Wilson to Top

Tim Wilson of Gas City, Indiana, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 29 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Choo Choo Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Guntersville. For his victory, Wilson earned $5,584. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-two-in-a-row-for-fox

Two in a Row for Fox

Dwight Fox of Gainesboro, Tennessee, weighed four bass totaling 16 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Cumberland. For his victory, Fox earned $4,463. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-bluff-walls-carry-meredith

Bluff Walls Carry Meredith

GROVE, Okla. – Mitch Meredith of Hulbert, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Meredith earned $7,165. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-tidwell-slows-down-for-title

Tidwell Slows Down for Title

MCCORMICK, S.C. – Brian Tidwell of Seneca, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Clarks Hill Lake. For his victory, Tidwell earned $3,021. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ginter-gets-the-win

Ginter Gets the Win

CELINA, Ohio – Gary Ginter of Maplewood, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Ginter earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-jig-does-the-trick-for-roselle

Jig Does the Trick for Roselle

MARBURY, Md. – Mike Roselle of La Plata, Maryland, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Potomac River. For his victory, Roselle earned $6,235. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-thrift-by-3

Thrift by 3

The “numbers game.” It’s a term that Bryan Thrift used to describe his fishing on Lake Eufaula back in 2013 when he finished runner-up to Randy Haynes in a Walmart FLW Tour event. The method to his numbers madness was to hit as many solitary objects – stumps, brush piles, rocks, logs – on the bottom of Lake Eufaula as humanly possible in an eight-hour tournament day. When Thrift saw that Lake Eufaula was back on the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour schedule for May of this year, he grinned that patented Bryan Thrift grin because he already knew how to crunch the numbers at Eufaula. And Thrift is still grinning. After sacking up a final-day catch of 15 pounds, 5 ounces to top off 69-14 for the week, Thrift made the numbers work for his fourth FLW Tour win. He added another $125,000 to his bank account. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-lake-eufaula-day-4-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-morrow-thrift-neck-and-neck

Morrow, Thrift Neck and Neck

Georgia pro Troy Morrow brought in 15 pounds, 4 ounces on the third day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula to increase his tournament total to 54-13. Morrow maintains his lead for the second consecutive day, but he won’t sleep comfortably tonight with North Carolina hammer Bryan Thrift just 4 ounces off the lead with 54-09. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-top-5-patterns-from-lake-eufaula-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Eufaula Day 3

Troy Morrow is leading the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula. However, with one day left to fish, he has a big problem going into the last day: Bryan Thrift. The Shelby, N.C., pro is just 4 ounces behind Morrow. Here’s how Thrift and the rest of the top five caught their fish. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-lake-eufaula-day-3-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »