Keith’s Kentucky Lake KO

Check out Keith Williams' 9-pound Kentucky Lake kicker which sealed his first FLW Tour win.

MURRAY, Ky. - Even though the Walmart FLW Tour event took off from Kentucky Lake's north end, pro Keith Williams committed to the New Johnsonville, Tenn., area from the start. In fact, he never made a single cast into Kentucky waters during the four days of practice or the four days of competition. What drew the Land O'Lakes pro to the lake's south end was its plentiful hydrilla. On Williams' first day of practice, he pulled up to a grass flat and within 10 casts had caught a 7-pounder. He explored the area some more and discovered there was a road bed in front of the flat. Furthermore, a small ditch came off the flat and into the road bed. Best of all, the grass in the area was submerged, meaning most of Williams' fellow competitors overlooked it. Keith Williams was on fire on the final day, sacking 24-3 on a 10-inch Zoom Ol "All of a sudden, I saw (BASS Elite Series pro) Skeet Reese coming right at me," he said. "That was the final day of their tournament, so, of course, I immediately left. And with him were about 40 other boats, so I kind of wrote the area off." But as practice continued, the area continued to replenish. The top of the road bed was approximately 10 feet deep, and it contained the perfect mix of shell beds and hydrilla. Williams estimated this spot was 75 miles south of the Kentucky Lake Dam Marina, the takeoff location the first two days of the tournament. Within this general area, he had three 100-yard stretches of ledges among which he rotated. For most of the week, his primary bait was a big 3/4-ounce football-head jig that he tipped with a Zoom Brush Hog. But after seeing his co-angler partner from day three catch 19-11 on a big worm, he made the switch. His worm of choice on day four was a 10 1/2-inch Zoom Ole Monster in plum color. He Texas-rigged the worm with a 5/16-ounce Tru Tungsten weight and tied it on 20-pound Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line. "Seventy percent of my bites came on the initial fall. I would put the boat in anywhere from 20 to 30 feet, and I would make long casts up toward the ledge. In the morning, especially on cloudy days, they were way on top of the road bed, and I was keeping my boat deep and making really long casts to keep from spooking them, and I was throwing shallow - maybe even 8 feet." Williams' five-bass limit weighed 24 pounds, 3 ounces, bringing his two-day total in the final round to 42 pounds even. Pro Keith Williams holds up the first-place check worth $125,000.His kicker fish weighed 9 pounds, 1 ounce and was the biggest bass caught during the entire four-day event. "That was the first fish I caught this morning. Right then I knew that I had a chance to win if I could settle down and catch a limit. When you catch a 9-pounder, it's your time." The Conway, Ark., pro has fished the FLW Tour since 2000. He's had considerable success, including seven top-10 finishes, but this is by far his biggest paycheck. He said the $125,000 is great, but the self-assurance it will give him for the future is what means the most. After all, Williams didn't just defeat the FLW Tour field, he out-dueled the area's top local angler and perhaps the greatest pro to ever pick up a rod and reel. "There have been a lot of ups and downs over the years, and this will really give me a confidence boost. I had a few good years when I first started fishing the Tour, but then I hit a dry spell. I even considered not fishing, but Land O'Lakes has always been there supporting me. If it wasn't for them keeping me in it, this wouldn't have happened." Missed fish will haunt Young David Young has had a tremendous run on his home waters of Kentucky Lake. At the recent Stren Series event, he finished second by a tiebreaker. He also took second this week, but by a larger margin - over 2 pounds. In 1997, he also finished second at the FLW Tour event on Kentucky Lake. That tournament, won by David Fritts, was decided by only 2 ounces. Mayfield, Ky., pro David Young finished the tournament in second place with 39 pounds, 10 ounces. While Young has several victories, the major win still eludes him. Early this morning it looked like a sure thing. "I told my cameraman to get ready right before I made my first cast," he said. "Sure enough, I caught a nice keeper, and I caught another keeper on my second cast." From there, the day took a difficult turn. Young had a 7-pounder all the way to the boat that actually broke off his hook. He lost another 7-pounder and a 5-pound smallmouth that rolled off right at the edge of the net. Needless to say, it will make for some excellent television coverage. "It was unbelievable; I should have had 30 pounds. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see those fish come off." Young said the key to his success this week was fishing a mixture of mussel and rock. The Mayfield, Ky., pro estimated that half of his spots were homemade. "I never went to the spot I had saved for today. I never went four or five miles from where we took off this morning (Kenlake)." Young's key bait was a 1-ounce Spaits Spoon. As day four concluded, he used a Bill Norman DD22 in chartreuse and blue to give the fish something they hadn't seen yet. "When the sun was shining, that spoon was just like a flashlight going off down there. The fish could see it from 20 to 30 feet away." For 39 pounds, 10 ounces, including 19-9 Sunday, he earned $50,000. Nixon falls to third Larry Nixon finished the FLW Tour event on Kentucky Lake in third place, earning $40,000.Like many others, Chevy pro Larry Nixon targeted mussel-laden ledges in 18 to 22 feet of water. Day four was by far his toughest day as he managed only 14 pounds, 3 ounces. The three previous days he surpassed the 20-pound mark with relative ease. When practice began, he used a crankbait and a jig, but all they would produce were tons of little fish. He then switched to the Spaits Spoon, and it made all the difference in the world. "I got my tail kicked on that thing two years ago in Ultimate Match Fishing by Kelly Jordon," said the three-time FLW Tour champion. "It is huge and it floats kind of funny, but they absolutely hammer it. Once the tournament started, I never weighed a bass on another lure. Sometimes you had to force-feed them, but if you got one, you could get them every cast." Nixon said he lost two bass early in the day, and then his best school shut down. "I was fishing from the Eggner Ferry Bridge (Highway 68/80) down almost to Paris." Combined with his day-three total of 19-8, he finished with a final-round weight of 33 pounds, 11 ounces. He earned $40,000. "That was one of the most fun tournaments I've fished in a long time. But I'm still not happy. Every time you make a top-10, you want to win." Rose rises to fourth Marion, Ark., pro Mark Rose finished the event in fourth place with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 11 ounces.Mark Rose is known as an excellent TVA angler who loves to drag a jig over deep main-river ledges. He did plenty of that this week, and his jig of choice was a 3/4-ounce Strike King football head tipped with a Strike King Rage Chunk. He also mixed in a Strike King Series 6 crankbait. The Marion, Ark., pro would start every morning just south of the Eggner Ferry Bridge. He would then make a long run about 15 miles south of Paris. Rose weighed 18-11 today after catching only 14 pounds Saturday. His final-round total was 32 pounds, 11 ounces. "I just fished a conservative tournament the last couple of days," he said. "I had a small one today that I couldn't cull; I was hooked up with a 4-pounder, but it jumped and spit my jig." After taking second at the recent Walmart Open, this was Rose's second consecutive top-10 finish. For finishing fourth, he earned $30,000. "Confidence brings success, and I'm really starting to feel comfortable out there again." Fox fifthRookie pro Travis Fox is enjoying his first FLW Tour top 10. Rookie pro Travis Fox took fifth in his first FLW Tour top-10 appearance with a two-day total weight of 31 pounds, 1 ounce, good for $20,000. His day-four limit weighed 13 pounds, 2 ounces. During the opening round, Fox caught his fish on a PJ's football-head jig with a Yamamoto twin-tail grub. He said the jig helped him locate and feel the shell beds. During the final round, he caught his bass on a blue-and-chartreuse DD22 crankbait and a 10-inch Lucky Strike Worm. He tied his baits to 12-pound Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line. "Practice was awesome, the tournament was awesome - my week was just outstanding," said the Springdale, Ark., native. Fox focused on ledges north of Kenlake State Park Marina. When the fish were on top of the ledges, the crankbait was his best lure. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pro finishers at the FLW Tour event on Kentucky and Barkley lakes: 6th: Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., 30-9, $19,000 7th: Ron Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark., 30-4, $18,000 8th: Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn., 28-9, $17,000 9th: Bobby McMullin of Pevely, Mo., 25-13, $16,000 10th: Kenneth (Boo) Woods of Hazard, Ky., 21-2, $15,000 Coming up The sixth and final FLW Tour qualifying event is scheduled for Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, N.Y., July 9-12. AOY update National Guard pro Brent Ehrler saw his comfortable lead in the Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year race shrink to only three points after five events. To date, Ehrler has accumulated 905 points, and two-time Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt, a Kellogg's pro, has tallied 902 points. Behind them are Chevy pro Luke Clausen with 900 points and Andy Morgan with 881 points.

Tags: headline-story  brett-carlson 

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Dobson Sticks With Jerkbait for Win

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Football Jig Helps Bates Net Title

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Hipsher Hops Ledges for Victory

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Lauer Wins on Ohio River

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Creature Bait Does it for Berhorst

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Wendlandt Back at the Top

It’s been 14 seasons since Clark Wendlandt last stood on a Walmart FLW Tour stage and hoisted a tournament championship trophy. Since that time, the Texas pro has experienced ups and downs, including an Angler of the Year title (his third) in 2009 and a major medical issue that sidelined him for most of the 2014 season. All that’s in the past now, however, and Wendlandt is right back where he belongs in the world of bass fishing – in first place after the final day on the Potomac River in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

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Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Clark Wendlandt didn’t pull off any secret techniques to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. He simply found an area with the right quality of bass to win and managed it perfectly despite facing a medley of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges. The rest of the top 10 stuck with the standard Potomac targets too, namely grass, docks and wood cover. The only underlying trend of the top 10 is that they found areas to themselves. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 got it done at the 2015 Tour finale. READ MORE »

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Potomac River Day 4 Coverage

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Wendlandt Receives Helping Hand

Not to discredit Clark Wendlandt’s skills as a bass fisherman, but if it wasn’t for an extreme act of kindness on the part of fellow competitor Shin Fukae, Wendlandt wouldn’t be where he is this evening – leading through three days of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Wendlandt suffered a mechanical failure with his rig just a couple of hours into competition that prevented him from running his big motor on plane. He was stuck, more or less, and planned to fish with the trolling motor as best he could before being towed back to the ramp early. If it’d played out as planned, Wendlandt would have lost significant fishing time and probably wouldn’t have weighed in a limit. Fukae would let nothing of the sort happen when he came across Wendlandt on the water and heard what had happened. In 16th place and fishless at the time, Fukae insisted that Wendlandt trade boats, effectively ending his tournament and giving Wendlandt the chance to catch 14 1/2 pounds and maintain his lead with a three-day total of 47-02. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 3

Pouring rain, gusting winds, a remarkable act of kindness, an Angler of the Year title on the line – day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River certainly was not boring. To say the top 20 anglers were waterlogged after Saturday would be any understatement, but as nasty as the weather was, it wasn’t the biggest story of the day. Shinichi Fukae generously helped Clark Wendlandt retain his lead, while Scott Martin sealed the deal on his first AOY title. Meanwhile, a number of other anglers scrambled to adjust with what the weather and the Potomac are throwing at them. Here’s how the rest of the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

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Potomac River Day 3 Coverage

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/news/2015-06-26-wendlandt-in-familiar-territory

Wendlandt in Familiar Territory

A lot of flip-flopping took place on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. When the scale closed, it was three-time Tour Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt who found himself on top with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 10 ounces. Wendlandt caught 17-13 today – the day’s second-heaviest limit – and leads Potomac local Bryan Schmitt by 1-12 going into the weekend. Wendlandt missed part of last season after suffering a heart attack but has rebounded with good success this season. He has won three times on Tour but hasn’t finished in first place since Beaver Lake in 2001. Details to come on the patterns of the top five. READ MORE »

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Potomac River Day 2 Coverage

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/news/2015-06-25-jersey-boy-leads-the-pack

Jersey Boy Leads the Pack

Talk about a traffic jam. And, no, we’re not talking about the streets around the Washington, D.C. area. We’re talking about the standings at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Adrian “Jersey Boy” Avena leads the way with a 16-pound, 12-ounce limit, but a total of 41 pros weighed in at least 12 pounds. Many pros lamented the tough bite today, but the results say otherwise as 114 limits were brought to the scale on the pro side. Troy Morrow trails Avena by just 1-06, and 1 ounce behind Morrow is one of the most successful tidewater bass anglers of all time, Bryan Schmitt. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 1

It might seem impossible for 405 miles of water to fish small, but space was hard to come by on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The creeks near takeoff at Smallwood State Park have seen as much traffic as a Washington, D.C. highway at rush hour. On the flip side, anglers who were able to develop patterns that got them away from the crowds, such as day-one leader Adrian Avena, have been able to reap the benefits of what has been a stingy fishery. Here’s how the rest of the pros in the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-aoy-shake-up-martin-makes-his-move

AOY Shake-Up: Martin Makes His Move

Scott Martin has been talking about winning the Angler of the Year title since before the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season started. It’s on his mind and for good reason: Angler of the Year is the only major FLW title he hasn’t won in what Martin has built into one of the most decorated professional fishing careers in FLW Tour history. Today, on the first day of competition at the Tour finale on the Potomac River, Martin has unofficially moved into the lead in the AOY race for the first time all season. READ MORE »

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Potomac River Day 1 Coverage

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Richardson Wins All-American

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All-American Midday Update Day 3

Big changes might be coming in the standings of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake, as some of the top 10 leaders struggled this morning to catch limits. Canadian angler Curtis Richardson, who currently is leading, had only one 3-pound keeper by midmorning. And second-place boater Billy Schroeder, who had fished just below the Paris Landing Bridge for the first two days, finally bailed out from there after catching four keepers this morning. READ MORE »