June 7, 2008 by Rob Newell
FLORENCE, Ala. - Local pro Randy Haynes of Counce, Tenn., saved the best for last on the fourth and final day of the Stren Series Southeast event on Pickwick Lake.
Before many of his friends and family who attended the weigh-in at the Wal-Mart in Florence, Ala., Haynes hoisted up an astonishing 22 pounds, 11 ounces of Pickwick bass - by far the biggest limit of the week - to come from fourth place and win with a four-day total of 73 pounds, 13 ounces worth $25,000.
"This feels great, it really does, because many of the best fishermen on this lake were here this week - that's what makes this special to me," Haynes said. "Don't get me wrong, I like the money, but that's not why I do this; I do this for the competition. I love the competition."
All week Haynes played out a carefully crafted strategy that involved saving one of his best spots for today.
"I never went to it all week," he said. "I didn't want anyone to see me on it during the week. I drove by it several times and never saw anyone on it, so I decided to save it until today.
"I did make a cast there in practice and caught a 5 1/2-pounder, and that's all I needed to see. I pulled up on that spot this afternoon and it was on fire. My partner and I caught what we needed to win off that spot."
As a side note, Haynes' co-angler - Greg Hamblin - won the Co-angler Division as well (click here to read the article).
During the week, Haynes relied on a variety of lures including a jig, a Carolina rig and a grub.
The jig was a ¾-ounce football head in green-pumpkin trailed by a Net Bait Paca craw fished on 17-pound fluorocarbon. The Carolina rig was sweetened with a Zoom Brush Hog, and the pearl grub was fished on ¼- and 3/8-ounce heads on 8-pound line.
Haynes described his best places on Pickwick as river-channel points and ledges that featured gravely chunk rock and shells.
Another local pro, Todd Rasberry of Florence, Ala., finished second with a four-day total of 71 pounds, 8 ounces worth $8,512.
Rasberry tried to track down a Pickwick win with his best performance of the week - 19 pounds, 14 ounces today - but he came up short.
Rasberry, who also happens to be the store manager for the Wal-Mart in Florence, had nothing but accolades for Haynes, his friend and fellow competitor.
"I knew he'd be one to beat out here," Rasberry said. "He's been the strongest angler out here for about the last three years; he's the best there is right now."
Rasberry spent the week on some of his best spots in Pickwick. He described several of the spots as being shell beds, grass points, gravel flats and river ledges.
His deep-water artillery consisted of a Texas-rigged Zoom Ol' Monster worm, a Carolina-rigged Zoom Brush Hog, a Strike King football jig, a Rapala DT-16 crankbait and a Norman DD-22 crankbait.
As for the crankbaits, Rasberry said chartreuse colors worked better in the morning in low light, and the shad patterns work better later in the day.
William Davis of Russellville, Ala., finished third with a four-day total of 70 pounds, 8 ounces worth $12,661.
As an indication of how strong Pickwick is fishing right now, Davis sat atop the leaderboard after day three, caught 17 pounds, 3 ounces today and still dropped back two places.
During the week Davis relied on a ¾-ounce LB's football-head jig trailed with a Zoom Super Chunk trailer fished on 20-pound-test P-Line and a DD-22 crankbait on 8-pound P-Line.
His primary locations were points in 8 to 15 feet of water along the old river channel.
Ryan Rigsby of Hixson, Tenn., finished the event in fourth place with a four-day total of 67 pounds, 9 ounces worth $6,810.
Rigsby spent the week up on Wilson Lake fishing a jig, a DD-22 crankbait and a Berkley Saltwater Power Mullet swimbait.
"The swimbait was really the key lure for me this week," Rigsby revealed. "I did catch some keepers on the crankbait and a ¾-ounce Cut Throat jighead with a Sweet Beaver on back, but the Power Mullet caught all my better fish."
Curt McGuire of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., rounded out the top five pros with a four-day total of 62 pounds, 11 ounces worth $5,958.
McGuire also spent much of the week on Wilson, but stayed down in Pickwick today.
"I kind of felt like my best spot up in Wilson was going away, so I just stayed down here today," McGuire said.
His two best lures this week were a Fat Free Shad fished on 8-pound-test line and a ¾-ounce Booyah football jig fitted with a Yum Papi Craw trailer on 15-pound-test fluorocarbon.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 pros in the Stren Series event on Pickwick Lake:
6th: Michael Murphy of Gilbert, S.C., four-day total of 59-0, $5,107
7th: Jonathan Newton of Rogersville, Ala., four-day total of 56-2, $4,682
8th: Jason Lambert of Savannah, Tenn., four-day total of 55-9, $4,256
9th: Bob Garrison of Baldwyn, Miss., four-day total of 54-14, $3,830
10th: Brandon Perkins of Counce, Tenn., four-day total of 49-2, $3,406
Stren Series Southeast Division Angler of the Year
With the final Southeast event in the books, Berkley pro Glenn Browne of Ocala, Fla., won the Stren Series Southeast Division points title for 2008 with a total of 722 points. Browne's finishes for the year included 19th at Seminole, fourth at Eufaula, ninth at Santee Cooper and 32nd at Pickwick.