UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

Hodges goes wire to wire to claim Kentucky Lake title

Andy Hodges caught 79 pounds, 6 ounces of bass this week and led all four days en route to being crowned Kentucky Lake champion.

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: jennifer-simmons  headline-story  2007-05-02-kentucky-lake 

/news/2016-02-12-top-10-photos-from-lake-okeechobee-

Top 10 Photos from Lake Okeechobee

FLW’s coverage crew was all over the place during the Walmart FLW Tour kickoff presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. The following photos are some of the best taken during a week of wild weather swings and big bass. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-10-dudley-links-up-with-livingston-lures

Dudley Links Up with Livingston Lures

Livingston Lures has added three-time Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year David Dudley to its pro-staff. The Virginia pro joins two-time FLW AOY Andy Morgan and former FLW Rookie of the Year Stetson Blaylock on the Team Livingston roster. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-10-power-pole-extends-partnership-with-flw

Power-Pole Extends Partnership with FLW

FLW announced yesterday that JL Marine Systems, manufacturer of Power-Pole shallow-water anchor systems, has signed a sponsorship extension for the 2016 season. This will be the sixth consecutive season that the two organizations have partnered. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-flw-college-fishing-western-conference-opens-season-on-shasta-lake

FLW College Fishing Western Conference Opens Season on Shasta Lake

REDDING, Calif. – FLW College Fishing is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 20 for the first of three regular-season stops in the Western Conference. A full field of college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-lake-shasta-set-to-host-costa-flw-series-opener-presented-by-minn-kota

Lake Shasta Set to Host Costa FLW Series Opener Presented by Minn Kota

REDDING, Calif. – The Costa FLW Series is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 18-20 for a tournament presented by Minn Kota when as many as 300 pros and co-anglers will take to the water for the first stop of 2016 in the Western Division. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-montgomery-targets-prespawn-bass-for-win

Montgomery Targets Prespawn Bass for Win

Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, Ala., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-top-10-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee

Oklahoma’s Bradley Hallman sewed up his first Walmart FLW Tour victory at the season-opener on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats by pitching and punching reed heads in the South Bay area with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver. Hallman stuck with his program despite up-and-down air temperatures, high winds and all the curveballs Mother Nature could throw at him. Here's how the rest of the top 10 got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-08-top-10-baits-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Baits from Lake Okeechobee

The Walmart FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee went from a tight race to a runaway in a hurry when Bradley Hallman just wouldn’t stop catching the big ones. As for the lures he used, and those put to work by the rest of the top 10, some Okeechobee staples were applied as well as a few oddball baits. If you’re thinking of heading down to the Big O or anywhere else in Florida soon, you might want to acquire a few of the lures they fished. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-hallman-wins-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Wins Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought just two bass to the scale Sunday totaling 6 pounds, 8 ounces, but it was still enough to earn the win at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s four-day cumulative total of 16 bass weighing 71 pounds, 2 ounces earned him the win by an impressive 14-pound, 14-ounce margin over second-place pro Alex Davis of Albertville, Alabama, and $100,000 in the tournament that featured 169 of the best bass-fishing anglers in the world competing in the first FLW Tour event of the regular season. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-big-hall-man-on-okeechobee

Big (Hall)Man on Okeechobee

It was the Bradley Hallman show all week long at Lake Okeechobee at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. Though, the Norman, Okla., pro struggled on day four and brought in only two fish for 6 pounds, 8 ounces, he pulled off the wire-to-wire victory in his first event on Tour. The 13-pound, 9-ounce lead that Hallman built up through the first three days of competition was enough that he didn't actually have to weigh his fish today. Hallman's tournament total of 71 pounds, 2 ounces far exceeded the 56-04 caught by runner-up Alex Davis. For the win, Hallman earned $100,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-lake-okeechobee-day-4-coverage

Lake Okeechobee Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 3

Across the board, weights fell off on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina and Resort and the Hendry County Tourism and Development Council. No one in the top 20 crossed the 20-pound mark. Cloud cover, which prevented the water temperature from rising much above 65 degrees, and low water clarity might both have slowed the replenishment of bass moving into spawn. Tournament leader Bradley Hallman experienced a bit of a stall in the action as well, bringing just four fish to the scales, but he still managed to increase his lead to 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-hallman-extends-lead-on-day-three-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Extends Lead On Day Three At Walmart FLW Tour On Lake Okeechobee Presented By Ranger Boats

Anchored by an 8-pound, 10-ounce kicker, pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought four bass to the scale Saturday totaling 14 pounds, 3 ounces to extend his lead to more than 13½ pounds heading in to the final day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s... READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-can-anyone-catch-hallman-

Can Anyone Catch Hallman?

Despite catching only four keepers on day three, Norman, Okla., pro Bradley Hallman extended his lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. With a day-three weight of 14 pounds, 3 ounces and a tournament total of 64-10, his margin over second-place angler Alex Davis is now 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-montgomery-wins-flw-bass-fishing-league-bulldog-division-opener-on-lake-eufaula

Montgomery Wins FLW Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division Opener on Lake Eufaula

EUFAULA, Ala. – Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-okeechobee-day-3-coverage

Okeechobee Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 2

Fueled by 25 mph north winds, the Lake Okeechobee washing machine cleansed some livewells today, keeping them free of the 20-pound limits that are so common here when the weather is sunny, 75 and calm. However, a few 20-plus-pound limits still snuck through the rinse cycle to grace the scales. The biggest limit once again belonged to Bradley Hallman of Norman, Okla. He added 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the 25 he caught on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-oklahoma-s-hallman-extends-lead-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Oklahoma’s Hallman Extends Lead at Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro angler Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the scale Friday to extend his lead on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman will bring an 8-pound, 8-ounce advantage into day three of the four-day competition that features 169 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-cales-earns-co-angler-win

Cales Earns Co-angler Win

Co-angler Tim Cales of Sandstone, W.Va., earned his second win with FLW after sacking up 30 pounds, 11 ounces over two days in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-hallman-way-in-front

Hallman Way in Front

Bradley Hallman is doing his best to make the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats a one-man show. But Alabama pro Alex Davis hopes to spoil Hallman’s hopes of a wire-to-wire victory. Today, Hallman weighed in 25 pounds, 7 ounces to raise his two-day total to 50-07. He’s led the tournament each day thus far. Davis weighed in 20-15 to move from third to second but is still 8 1/2 pounds behind the leader. READ MORE »