Hite holds early lead

Brett Hite grabbed the day one lead in the FLW Tour event on Kentucky Lake presented by Evinrude with a 24-14 bag.

What goes around comes around. And for Brett Hite, an all-star Walmart FLW Tour season that began with a statement win in the season-opener on Lake Okeechobee has wound its way throughout the country to Kentucky Lake for the season-finale, where he once again jumped out in front today.

Hite’s 24-pound, 14-ounce limit leads a star-studded top 20 that includes ledge-fishing experts, three former Forrest Wood Cup champions, three past AOY winners and a pack of FLW millionaires, all of them hoping to end Hite’s chances of bookend 2014 Tour victories.

This tournament, which is presented by Evinrude and hosted Henry County Alliance, is a ledge-fishing shootout. Everyone knows it. But for Hite, the keys to besting everyone else today were timing and precision.

“Luckily I had an early boat draw,” he says. “I ran to a spot I found late in the day on the third day of practice. One other guy came in there right after me, but I got lined up in the right position. It was literally cast after cast, and it was all big ones. First thing this morning, it was obvious the fish were active. As the day progressed, it was one or two here and there.

“It [the school] is spread out a little,” adds Hite, whose limit today included the Bridgford Big Bass, a 7-pound, 5-ouncer. “It’s a pretty good stretch, but there are a couple of key spots where the shells are, and there are some stumps and gizzard shad.”

The front deck of Hite’s Ranger is littered with rods, and he rolled through his options each time he needed to re-trigger the school.

Once the morning flurry subsided, Hite slid off onto a shallow flat, poled down and let the school rest – but he stayed just close enough that he could run back out and defend the school from any other anglers who might want to pluck a few grown ones for their livewells. Fortunately, no one else ever found the school.

Today was a day of mixed reports from most of the anglers near the top of the standings. Some caught them all day. Some experienced flurries of activity. Some had to grind. The only consensus is that Kentucky Lake is not fishing exactly at its peak potential, as it was in the Rayovac FLW Series event a few weeks ago. The schools are smaller, and they’re being pressured into moving around on the ledges. Many anglers bounced around a lot to compensate, but not Hite. He didn’t need to today, though he has other options tomorrow.

“I’m excited about going fishing,” he says. “I’ve got a couple other ledges I didn’t hit today that are in that same area where not a lot of other guys are fishing.”

Thus far, Hite’s pre-tournament game plan has been spot-on. He had a goal in mind for weight today, and when he reached it mid-morning, after catching about 20 keepers, he pulled the plug to avoid burning up the school.

“I wanted to get around 25 pounds,” Hite says. “You can’t win it the first day, but you can lose it. When you start throwing back 3 1/2-pounders, those are going to be crucial later in the tournament.”

What’s scariest for anyone trying to catch him is that Hite doesn’t need current or wind. All of his big ones today bit when the lake was slick calm, with almost no flow. If he can match his performance today, which he seems confident can happen, he’ll be tough to catch in his quest for a second wire-to-wire victory.

Ledge master Randy Haynes weighing a big one. He rarely misses a cut on the TVA.

2nd place - Randy Haynes - 22 pounds, 11 ounces

Here we go again. Fantasy Fishing players rejoice, because everyone’s favorite Tennessee River pick Randy Haynes is back in the top 10 and making a bid for the crown. And if recent history is any indicator, he could very well be the Kentucky Lake King once again this week.

Haynes quietly fished his way into striking distance at the recent Rayovac FLW Series event on Kentucky Lake for two days, then on the final day dropped a 27-pound bomb that propelled him into the lead.

Haynes is poised to do it all again at this week’s Tour event. After day one, he’s situated just 2 pounds, 3 ounces off Brett Hite’s lead, where all the pressure is on Hite to hold out for the next three days. That’s an uncomfortable place to be with one of the most consistent ledge fishermen in the game right behind him.

Haynes stuck with one lure all day, but he’s not revealing what it was. Truthfully, the key is not in the lure, but in his strategy. Haynes’ motor is always running. He’s one of the most efficient ledge anglers in the game. That’s how he’s able to fish 30 to 50 spots a day in a tournament.

All day today, he hopped from spot to spot. Each one he checked with his electronics, and he marked fish on every spot. But Haynes never made a cast unless he saw that the fish were the right size and that they were positioned just right to feed.

“Things clicked today,” Haynes says. “I got to run and gun and fish plenty of spots. That’s the way I like to fish. I had a handful of spots to myself. I probably hit 40 spots today and rotated on those 40. I fished some spots that didn’t have fish on them in practice. I’m not spending much time on any spots. I’m just hoping I hit each one right. There’s a certain deal I’m looking for, and when I see it, I fish it.”

Scott Martin is working on a limit of ledge fish in excess of 19 pounds.

3rd place - Scott Martin - 22 pounds, 8 ounces

Along with tournament leader Brett Hite, Scott Martin had an early boat draw and put the opportunity to access his best spot first thing in the morning to good use by catching 22 pounds, 8 ounces of Tennessee largemouths. He’s currently in third place.

“I had an early boat draw. That was a blessing,” Martin says. “I had about 18 to 19 pounds by 9 and even lost a good one – my third fish of the day was a gorilla.”

Martin’s fish also seemed to be immune to current. Flow or not, they were going to chew.

“If you get those big schools fired up, you can catch them really quick,” he says. “Current doesn’t really matter to me. It [the bite] is kind of an ebb-and-flow deal. They move up for awhile, then they move down.”

The former Forrest Wood Cup champ is rotating through a selection of about 15 rods. Any one can be the trigger, including one of several deep-diving crankbaits he’s tossing. The key, he says, is being ready to capitalize when the fish do slide up onto the ledge and feed. Because once they drift back into deeper water, he has to work a lot harder to make them bite. It’s that timing that is critical, yet difficult to master on the Tennessee River.

Martin illustrated it like this: He caught about 20 keepers, while his co-angler struggled, even though they were throwing very similar lures. But because Martin had the perfect angle and was ready to drop the perfect cast into the school when the fish turned on, he wrecked ’em.

Tomorrow, he plans to run a similar program. He didn’t have to hit any of his day-one spots twice, and with a late boat draw tomorrow he’ll be fishing during what he thinks is actually the prime window.

“I might be able to get on my starting spot again tomorrow, if someone lets me come in,” he says. “But the good thing about a late boat draw is that the fish have been biting better from 2 to 5 p.m. So I’ll get to maximize my day.”

4th place (tie) - Charlie Ingram - 22 pounds, 6 ounces

Among the late-flight contingent of top 10 pros is Charlie Ingram, who took advantage of his familiarity with Kentucky Lake to sack up 22 pounds, 6 ounces on day one.

“It went good today,” Ingram says. “I fish this lake a lot because I don’t live but an hour from here. I stayed on one spot all day, and it paid off.”

Ingram’s key spot is a 50-yard stretch that’s loaded up. His fish are sliding up into 10 to 12 feet of water to feed, then backing off into deeper water between flurries. He says he caught them steady all day on two lures.

“I’ve got the baits figured out,” Ingram says. “The spot is pretty good. I’ve got some other spots, but I hope I don’t have to use them.”

Getting to the key spot requires a lot of travel, which means calm conditions, like the anglers had all day today, can help Ingram’s cause and maximize his fishing time. He’ll also have to plan for an early boat number tomorrow, which will cut into his fishing.

Still, if his magic spot holds up, Ingram will be right in the hunt as we prepare to cut the field to 20 boats after Friday’s competition ends.

Texas pro Tom Redington is swathed in protective clothing and catching bass on day one of the FLW tour event on Kentucky Lake.

4th place (tie) - Tom Redington - 22 pounds, 6 ounces

Structure fishing is one of Tom Redington’s favorite ways to catch fish, and on day one at Kentucky Lake, the Lake Fork fishing guide proved that he can compete with the best. He opened the event with a 22-pound, 6-ounce limit to tie Charlie Ingram for fourth place.

Interestingly, Redington was a touch disappointed with the way his day went.

“I was really expecting it to be better,” he admits. “I found a lot of schools, like everyone else, but there was a lot of pressure. I’d pull up and catch one, and then it was done. Usually you can grind on them and catch a few more.”

According to Redington, these ledge bass get weary of all the crankbaits and jigs scooting by their faces. They hear the trolling motors whirling overhead and perhaps sense the pinging of sonar signals. That causes them to break off from their prespawn mega-schools.

His strategy for countering “the funk” is to go with the ‘odd-ball pattern.” He’s throwing tiny finesse lures, jumbo lures and even some wild-and-crazy color patterns – like crankbaits in the dusty, faded packages in those colors no one buys. He even made a couple of keepers bite by reversing his angle on the ledge.

It’s not the way he prefers to fish, which would be to peg a couple of active schools then yo-yo between them all day, so that each gets time to rest. Yet, this system seems to be working, if not every time.

“The last spot we pulled up on was the best school of the day,” says Redington, who fished about a dozen spots today. “We had a little chop on the surface, and I thought it would be perfect. But we couldn’t get them to bite.”

Tomorrow, Redington hopes he’ll be able to pull up on schools with no other boats around, find bass lined up on the ledge and ready to eat, and then throw “ordinary lures.” But if not, he’ll be ready with his circus of oddities because and a whatever-it-takes approach. 

 

Rest of the best

6th place - Michael Neal - 22 pounds, 4 ounces

7th place - Jason Christie - 22 pounds, 1 ounce

8th place - Skip Johnson - 22 pounds

9th place - Jim Moynagh - 21 pounds, 6 ounces

10th place - Andy Morgan - 21 pounds, 4 ounces

 

Angler of the Year update

Andy Morgan distanced himself in the Kellogg’s Angler of the Year race with a 21-pound, 4-ounce limit. If the tournament ended today, he'd be 23 points ahead of Repel pro Cody Meyer and is currently in the top 10 of this event. 

 

Rookie of the Year update

In the Rookie of the Year chase, Jason Lambert overtook the hot seat after catching 20-15 to sit in 13th place overall for the tournament. Right on his heels is Richard Peek, who caught 19-15 and is in 22nd place.

 

Full results

Click here for full results. 

 

Co-angler Cup champ Corcoran back on top

Once you meet Theo Corcoran, you’ll never forget him. The charismatic co-angler is always scheming up some weigh-in stage gimmick to draw the attention of the crowd and – he hopes – the sponsors who can make his dream of fishing as a professional come true. But lately his fishing has been making even more noise than his weigh-in antics, proving that he just might have what it takes to one day fish out of the front of the boat.

Today on Kentucky Lake, Corcoran slammed a day-one limit of 22 pounds, 6 ounces to take the co-angler lead. He brought in a 6-pound, 2-ounce bass that won the Bridgford Big Bass Award on the co-angler side and has a 1-pound, 5-ounce lead over co-angler Mark Howard.

It was an early flurry followed by a long day of culling that gave Corcoran the edge today while fishing with Skip Johnson, who’s currently in eighth place on the pro side.

“We pulled up in the morning and each had a 20-pound flurry,” says Corcoran. “We had our limits by 7:53. At the end of the day, we got them fired up again. I was catching them on a crankbait, and we left them biting. My last cull was at 2:29.”

The Independence, Mo., co-angler found a trigger with aggressive presentations. Then throughout the day he culled up with a 7-inch Nemesis soft-plastic stick bait.

“If you can get one or two to commit, then you have to get right back in there,” he explains. “I was being really aggressive with all my presentations.”

 

Co-angler of the Year update

Co-angler Jason Johnson is one day closer to locking up the Co-angler of the Year title after opening the Kentucky Lake event with a 34th-place showing. He moved up three spots today and maintains a solid lead over co-angler Bryan New, who came into this event in the second-place spot. New is currently in 69th place in the Kentucky Lake standings.

 

Co-angler standings

2nd place - Mark Howard - 21 pounds, 1 ounce

3rd place - Greg Scott - 20 pounds, 15 ounces

4th place - Keith Honeycutt - 19 pounds, 14 ounces

5th place - Tony Bennett - 19 pounds, 7 ounces

6th place - Cody Kelley - 18 pounds, 11 ounces

7th place (tie) - Dennis Cameron - 18 pounds, 8 ounces

7th place (tie) - Timothy Curran - 18 pounds, 8 ounces

7th place (tie) - Joe McClary - 18 pounds, 8 ounces

10th place - Jeff Rikard - 17 pounds, 13 ounces

 

Bridford Big Bass Awards

Pro: Brett Hite – 7 pounds, 5 ounces

Co-angler: Theo Corcoran – 6 pounds, 2 ounces

 

Competition format

In Walmart FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field competes in the two-day opening round. After day two the field is pared to the top 20 pros and co-anglers. The co-angler competition concludes at Saturday’s weigh-in, and the top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

 

For more coverage

For those who can’t catch the weigh-in action in person, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio.

In addition to FLW Live, FLWOutdoors.com offers real-time updates from the water. Simply click on the tournament ID within the “On the Water” banner at the top of the FLW or Walmart FLW Tour home pages.

 

Walmart FLW Tour event information

Takeoff

Location: Paris Landing State Park, 16055 Highway 79 North, Buchanan, Tenn.

Time: 6:30 a.m.

 

Weigh-in

Thursday and Friday location: Paris Landing State Park, 16055 Highway 79 North, Buchanan, Tenn.

Time: 2:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday

Saturday and Sunday location: Walmart, 1210 Mineral Wells Avenue, Paris, Tenn.

Time: 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

 

FLW Expo

Date: Saturday and Sunday, June 28-29

Location: Walmart, 1210 Mineral Wells Avenue, Paris, Tenn.

Time: noon to 4 p.m.

Admission: FREE

Free Concert: See country star Michael Ray live in concert Sunday at 3 p.m. Admission is free.

Activities: Fans are welcome to join FLW for the FLW Expo at the Walmart, 1210 Mineral Wells Avenue, Paris, Tenn. Come meet Walmart FLW Tour pros, who’ll be on site signing autographs. Families can enjoy interactive games, explore the Walmart Kids Zone, receive free samples, drive a Ranger Boat simulator and have a chance to win a $250 Walmart gift card.

Follow FLW

For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Walmart FLW Tour on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.

 

 

 

Tags: headline-story 

/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 »