UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Kenney goes deep, leads Rayburn

Despite his shallow-water prowess, Straight Talk pro JT Kenney caught his leading sack offshore.

LUFKIN, Texas - The bite was tough on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, but Straight Talk pro J.T. Kenney wasn't flipping out - literally or figuratively. In fact, the angler from Palm Bay, Fla. kept his cool and sacked up 19 pounds, 6 ounces to set the day-one lead by a margin of 2-4.

With hot, still conditions prevailing for most of the day, anglers largely struggled to establish consistency. Kenney, however, found himself enjoying a productive day marked with several good bites. An accomplished shallow-water fisherman, he got the job done offshore today.

"Everybody always talks to me about flipping and I did used to do that a lot, but I don't think I've caught a fish flipping since January on Okeechobee," Kenney said.Day-one leader JT Kenney shows off his fish for the cameras.

That's no accident, said the top pro. The attraction of deep water fishing has taken root in his mind and now Kenney can't get enough of this fresh new realm.

"This is my 11th year on Tour and, I don't want to say it gets mundane doing the same stuff all the time, but this new little window has opened up for me," he said.

Kenney held his cards low on bait specifics, but he noted that he caught his fish on moving baits and plastics. The action was steady and each cast, he said, held homerun potential.

"The thing I like about offshore fishing is you can win out there," he said. "You can find a spot and win a tournament on a spot, or two or three spots. Whereas, a lot of bank fishing is just randomly hoping you catch one here and there.

"Now, I might go out tomorrow and they might not be there. But offshore fish do tend to stay and they do tend to replenish. I think you can put yourself in position to win on offshore fish."

JT Kenney said he caught his day-one fish on a mix of moving baits and plastics.Kenney said he devoted about three hours of practice time to bank fishing and figured out a pattern that allowed him to dependably catch keepers. Dialing in the offshore game, though, was his primary focus and locating a few productive spots gave him to confidence to devote his day to the deep patterns.

Although he didn't divulge much about his specific tactics, Kenney did say that it was more than just chunking and winding. His fish were actually rather picky and determining just how they wanted to see the baits was essential to his success.

"You can fish these spots and unless you figure out how to trigger them to eat, you won't catch them," he said. "I luckily figured it out. It's about boat positioning and how you present the baits on the structure, whether it's brush or the drop-off, how they want it coming through is the key.

"One of those big ones I caught on my third cast, but it was good early. I had a good limit by probably 9 a.m. and I didn't cull anything after 11 - but I didn't fish any of my spots after 11 either. I figured I was in pretty good shape."

Durham takes second by an ounce

In the slimmest of margins thus far in the contest, Texas pro Tommy Durham took the No. 2 spot with Second-place pro Tommy Durham said his day turned out to be harder than he had expected.17-2 - just an ounce over third-place pro Phil Marks. Durham said that despite a strong showing, his was no easy path. Day one started hazy, cleared by mid morning and grew cloudy and windy late in the day. Durham said the

"It was a little harder than what I expected because the bite had been decent (in practice)," Durham said. "It was one of those days, with the weather changing, that I thought could either be 9 or 10-pound day or a 20-plus day, so I kind of hit it in the middle."

Durham said he caught approximately 25 fish today, about half of which were keepers. The afternoon bite was most productive, as was the offshore habitat.

"I spent a lot of time shallow and caught a limit shallow, but the bigger fish came deeper," Durham said. "This time of year you don't know. There are a lot of fish shallow and you'll catch some 3- and 4-pounders. But some of the 5- to 8-pounders are still deep."

Durham threw a crankbait for part of his day, but he caught most of his weight on plastics. Slow presentations, he said, were most effective.

Marks cranks to third

Strike King pro Phil Marks caught all of his fish cranking offshore.Marks started his day committed to hunting big fish offshore. He stuck with that plan and connected with three bass that fit the bill and two that were a little lighter than preferred. His third-place limit went 17-1.

"I had probably 16 pounds by 9 o'clock," he said. "I had two 2-pounders and I said, 'Well, I'm just going to fish for big ones and cull those in the process.' But the bite died about 11 and I never culled up."

Marks, who fished over rock and shell in 16-22 feet, caught three of his fish on a Strike King 6XD and two on a new Strike King prototype bait. He said the cyclical pattern of fall weather held back Rayburn's stellar potential.

"We had a front come through Saturday and fishing was great Sunday and Monday," he said. "You could catch 40-50 2- to 3-pounders. But I knew that with this weather getting slick and sunny, the bite would start tapering off. And that's what happened."

Lunker leads Combs to fourth

Local pro Keith Combs sacked up the fourth-place bag of 16-12. Anchoring that sack was a 7-pound,Nabbing a 7-pound, 5-ounce bass helped Keith Combs secure the fourth-place spot. 5-ounce largemouth that earned Big Bass honors. Cranking produced that toad, and his other fish, but Combs said he should have weighed a bigger limit.

"I probably messed up today," he said. "I went fishing offshore this morning and didn't anything for a while, but then I had a little flurry for about two hours from about 9 to 11 and I caught those five.

"The last day of practice, I had big fish still going shallow. I thought, 'Now that I have (my limit), I'll go hang with (the shallow bite) the rest of the day and that's what I did but never got another bite. I don't know what happened to those shallow fish. It was really good the last day of practice. I was shocked today to not get at least one or two."

Combs caught his fish between 12 and 22 feet. Pickings were slim, as he caught no more than one fish per spot.

McDonald stays shallow, earns fifth

Flipping particular types of shoreline cover was the key for fifth-place pro Bill McDonald.Bill McDonald, of Greenwood, Indiana ignored the talk of deep bites and stuck with his signature shallow flipping tactics all day. His efforts yielded a fifth-place limit that weighed 15-3.

He caught 10 keepers today, with most of his bites coming between 10 a.m. and noon. After that, he left his spot to preserve the remaining potential for day two. The key to his success was careful selection of his flipping targets.

"There are certain little areas that you're looking for," he said. "Those areas are the key. You can flip a lot of stuff and not get bit, but when you find the right little spot, you pretty well know that there's a fish there."


Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the FLW Tour Open event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir:

6th: Matt Herren, of Trussville, Ala., 14-13
7th: Art Ferguson III, of St. Clair Shores, Mich., 14-11
8th: Dion Hibdon, of Sunrise Beach, Mo., 14-7
9th: John Cox, of Debary, Fla., 14-0
9th: Kevin Walker, of Buna, Texas, 14-0

Keith Combs, of Huntington, Texas earned Big Bass honors for his 7-5.

Biggest bass of the day buoys Farris' co-angler lead

Clint Farris, of Joshua, Texas caught the day's biggest bass - an 8-pound, 11-ouncer that accountedCo-angler leader Clint Farris caught the day for the lion's share of a 16-2 limit and gave him the co-angler lead by a margin of 2-9. Paired with Marks, Farris said that keeping his bait busy was important.

"I was just throwing worms and hitting a lot of holes," he said. "It was a great day and I hope I can do it again tomorrow."

Farris didn't want to get too deeply into his tactics, but he said that he caught his fish on large Texas-rigged worms, which he worked slowly on each drop. His big fish bit around 12:30.

Tommy Mendoza, of Lake Charles, La. took second place with 13-9, while Scott Darragh, of Midlothian, Texas was third with 12-9. In fourth place, Darrel Denton, of Georgetown, Texas had 12-5 and fifth-place co-angler Ryan Edwards, of Stuart, Fla. had 10-15.

Best of the rest

Eleventh-place co-angler Colt Farris got to see his father, Clint Farris top their division on day one.Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the FLW Tour Open event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir:

6th: Jeff Sprague, of Edgewood, Texas, 10-7
7th: Matthew McClellan, of Tyler, Texas, 9-9
8th: Ben Todd, of Pierson, Fla., 9-8
9th: Clayton Batts, of Macon, Ga., 9-6
9th: Justin Caudle, of Shreveport, La., 9-6

Day two of the FLW Tour Open event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir continues at Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:30 a.m. (Central) at Cassels-Boykin County Park located at FM Road 3123 (Off State Hwy 147) in Zavalla, Texas.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2012-10-11-sam-rayburn-reservoir 

/news/2016-07-29-two-for-one

Two for One

The sibling partnership has done that with staggering ability. The two have a practice system in place that, while simple, has generated success north to south. That system, and the teamwork that makes it possible, is about to get its greatest test this week at Wheeler Lake. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-28-early-reports-from-wheeler

Early Reports from Wheeler

Starting this Sunday, the 50 Forrest Wood Cup competitors will hit Wheeler Lake bright and early for the first of three days of official practice. It’ll be the first time the anglers have been allowed on the Tennessee River reservoir since the pre-practice cut off date of July 17. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-celebs-seminars-on-deck-for-the-cup

Celebs, Seminars on Deck for the Cup

The 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart in Huntsville, Ala., on Aug. 4-7 will be crawling with some of the best bass anglers in the industry – both active pros and bassin’ legends. Fans in attendance will have the opportunity to personally wish their favorite anglers good luck before takeoff, snag a picture and an autograph from an industry superstar, or sit in on a seminar. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-bass-and-bbq-festival-set-for-forrest-wood-cup-expo

Bass and BBQ Festival set for Forrest Wood Cup Expo

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – FLW is adding some Alabama flavor to the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup with its Bass & BBQ Festival as part of the FLW Expo outside the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama, August 6 and 7. The BBQ Festival, presented by WQRV 100.3 The River, will feature four award-winning BBQ teams offering delicious fare to visitors at the Forrest Wood Cup. A portion of all... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-bk-s-year-as-the-champ

BK’s Year as the Champ

Brad Knight plans on getting a good night’s sleep before this year’s Forrest Wood Cup on Wheeler Lake begins on Aug. 4. Sounds pretty straightforward, but there have been times during the past 12 months when dozing off wasn’t so easy for the defending Cup champion. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-1000-islands

Top 10 Patterns from the 1000 Islands

High wind and fluctuating water temperatures made things a little difficult for the anglers, but the top-10 pros adapted and utilized the whole playing field to exploit everything from deep smallmouth to shallow largemouth. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-for-win-at-flw-bass-fishing-league-great-lakes-division-event-on-mississippi-river-presented-by-navionics

McCartney, O’Keefe Tie For Win at FLW Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division Event on Mississippi River Presented By Navionics

LA CROSSE, Wis. (July 25, 2016) – Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-on-the-mighty-miss

McCartney, O'Keefe tie on the Mighty Miss

Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi River presented by Navionics. For his win, McCartney earned $5,540 after bonuses, and O’Keefe took home $3,540. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-country-music-superstar-dustin-lynch-to-perform-free-concert-in-huntsville-presented-by-wdrm-102-1

Country Music Superstar Dustin Lynch to perform Free Concert In Huntsville presented by WDRM 102.1

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Country music superstar Dustin Lynch will perform a free concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at the Propst Arena in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Sunday, August 7, starting at 4 p.m., prior to the final weigh-in of the world championship of professional bass fishing, the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The concert is presented by WDRM... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-canterbury-s-next-challenge-

Canterbury’s Next Challenge

At the time of writing, Canterbury had been picked by every pundit and 50 percent of players overall, which is a decent bump over Morgan at 47 percent. The dollars attached obviously make a difference, but there’s no doubt that everyone expects great things. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-jay-kendrick-the-rookie-

Jay Kendrick – The “Rookie”

A rookie by designation if not by experience, Forrest Wood Cup contender Jay Kendrick finished 34th in the standings in his first year on the Walmart FLW Tour to clinch a spot in the championship. What makes it even more fortuitous for him is that because the Cup is taking place on Wheeler Lake, he’ll be able to stay at his own house for the event, which is just about 30 minutes from takeoff at Ditto Landing. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-fan-freebies-and-contests-at-the-cup

Fan Freebies and Contests at the Cup

One pro angler is going to win $300,000 at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart Aug. 4-7 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Ala. That’s good for him. For fans, the chance to win is pretty good too. FLW and its partners and sponsors have lined up a sweet selection of giveaway prizes for the Cup and the accompanying FLW Expo, ranging from a tricked-out bass boat to a fishing trip with Jimmy Houston. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-1000-islands-top-10-baits

1000 Islands Top 10 Baits

The top pros from the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands kept it pretty simple to catch both largemouths and smallmouths from this massive fishery that includes the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Drop-shots, spinnerbaits and jigs all saw action and got it done from the lake to the river. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-penn-state-taps-docks-at-chautauqua-

Penn State Taps Docks at Chautauqua

The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-thompson-co-angler-champ-on-1000-islands

Thompson Co-angler Champ on 1000 Islands

The 1000 Islands is a great place to take a vacation, especially if you are from the south and want to escape the heat. That is exactly what co-angler Joe Thompson of Clayton, Ga., did and wound up capturing the top spot in the co-angler division bringing home a Ranger Z117 with a 90 hp motor. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-penn-state-university-wins-flw-college-fishing-northern-conference-event-on-chautauqua-lake

Penn State University wins FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Event on Chautauqua Lake

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. – The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-michigan-s-dobson-leads-wire-to-wire-wins-costa-flw-series-event-at-1000-islands-presented-by-mercury

Michigan’s Dobson leads wire-to-wire, wins Costa FLW Series Event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury

CLAYTON, N.Y. – Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 68 pounds, 8 ounces. For his win, Dobson earned $82,669, including a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-dobson-dominates-1000-islands

Dobson Dominates 1000 Islands

Scott Dobson didn’t expect it to come so quickly, but 30 minutes is all it took for him to find the winning pattern during his first day of practice for the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. That pattern would lead him to three consecutive limits of more than 20 pounds, including today’s final-round bag worth 21-12 – the day’s biggest limit, yet his smallest of the tournament. His three-day total weight of 68-8 earned him a check for more than $37,000 along with a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp engine for being Ranger Cup qualified. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-2

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 2

Strong winds limited competition to only the St. Lawrence River on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands, but that was no problem for the majority of the top 10. Even though most of them fished Lake Ontario on day one, they were able to adjust and stay on the fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-dobson-extends-lead-at-1000-islands

Dobson Extends Lead at 1000 Islands

A windy day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands didn’t stop day-one leader Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., from sacking up the biggest bag of the day. Dobson threw down an impressive 22-pound, 3-ounce limit to extend his lead to 5 pounds over Cal Climpson – a noted Lake Ontario maestro. Dobson’s two-day total stands at 46-12, and with lighter winds tomorrow some big bags are expected. READ MORE »