Johnson wins season finale

Skip Johnson lifts the giant check on day four thanks to his incredible final-day flurry that pushed him to victory.

Sometimes simple strategies are the best strategies. And they don’t get much simpler than the game plan put together by Michigan pro Skip Johnson on Kentucky Lake for the sixth and final stop of the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour season.

His strategy: Don’t move.

Johnson spent all four days of competition on one hole on Kentucky Lake’s southern end. He landed more than 22 pounds each day Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, a string of lost fish cost Johnson, and he brought in just 19-12.

But Johnson rallied on Sunday. All day long he hammered away, catching more than 75 fish and culling up to the day’s best limit of 24 pounds.

The four-day, 88-pound, 10-ounce performance earned Johnson his first career Tour victory and a check for $100,000.

Skip Johnson bowed up on a big one. He capped his rookie season with a 24 pound bag and a win on Kentucky Lake. The triangle

“The key was to stay – don’t leave,” Johnson says about his performance on the final day of the event, which was presented by Evinrude and hosted by Henry County Alliance. “I parked right there and ran my little triangle again.”

The triangle describes the shape of a row of more than a dozen waypoints that Johnson dropped along a creek channel that snakes from a shallow flat out to the main shipping channel.

“It was a winding creek channel with old oxbows and humps in the oxbows,” he explains. “They were on the edge of the ledges dropping into the channel.”

The edges where he caught his fish were rocky and topped out in 10 to 12 feet of water. They dropped off into about 15.

Each day, Johnson worked in and out along the creek channel – once even following it all the way up onto the flat, just to see if any bass had moved in shallow.

When the fish quit biting, he simply slid in further or slipped to the next waypoint to try and reconnect. Sometimes he seemed to be casting in all directions to try and pinpoint where the bass had moved.

Sonar fish

New fish kept sliding in from the main channel to the creek channel each day, keeping Johnson supplied with quality keepers throughout the tournament.

The waypoints Johnson marked were close enough that he could move from one to the other with the trolling motor as the fish moved. The only real change he made all week came today, when he spent a bit more time studying the schools with his sonar.

“If I saw one here and one there, I wouldn’t get a bite,” he explains. “When they were piled up over each other, they’d bite. I definitely did a lot more graphing today. They were all sonar fish. I was using that Lowrance to the fullest.”Skip Johnson slinging a keeper over the edge. He started the day in fourth place with 44-14.

The extra sonar scouting was required to keep tabs on the fish during brief dry spells. Each time he found a school – there were several set up in the area – the fish cooperated. He ignited several flurries that produced 10 to 20 bites.

Johnson experienced a couple of afternoon highlights on the final day – before the weigh-in excitement, that is. He caught a 7-pound, 2-ounce kicker at about 1:30. Then on his last cast, he landed a 5-pounder.

“Up until then I had 19 pounds. Then I culled some fish out,” he says. “I was throwing back 3- and 3 1/2-pound fish all day. I wore the cameraman out.”

Tackle selection

Johnson was dialed in on tackle selection this week. On Saturday, he had just four rods on the deck. His best action came with a jig, but that’s also what he lost multiple fish with the third day.

Today, the No. 1 producer was a Western Plastics 8-inch worm in a crawdad color. Rigged Texas style, it was more difficult for the bass to shake free of than the jig.

Through four days of refinement and a steadfast commitment to what he knew could be the winning area, Johnson proved that there are still magic spots on Kentucky Lake that can produce a tournament win all alone. While other anglers faltered when conditions changed or angling pressure caused their fish to move, Johnson stuck to his spot and slowly climbed the ranks – from eighth to fourth to second and finally to the top.

One spot. Four days. A first win for the first-year pro.

Rookie pro Skip Johnson ends the season with a bang by clinching the title on Kentucky Lake.

Rest of the best

2nd place – Jason Lambert – 87 pounds, 8 ounces – $30,000

3rd place – Jim Moynagh – 86 pounds, 13 ounces – $25,000

4th place – Randy Haynes – 85 pounds, 11 ounces – $20,000

5th place – Clent Davis – 84 pounds, 3 ounces – $19,000

6th place – Tom Redington – 83 pounds, 12 ounces – $18,000

7th place – Brett Hite – 83 pounds, 2 ounces – $17,500

8th place – Andrew Upshaw – 82 pounds, 4 ounces – $16,000

9th place – Scott Canterbury – 80 pounds, 9 ounces – $15,000

10th place – Tim Malone – 77 pounds, 14 ounces – $14,000

 

Top 10 patterns

To read about the lures and patterns used by the anglers who made the top 10 this week, click here. 

 

Complete results

For complete results, click here.

 

 

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-06-29-dobson-sticks-with-jerkbait-for-win

Dobson Sticks With Jerkbait for Win

Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament of 2015 on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Dobson earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-johnston-targets-beds-for-big-limit

Johnston Targets Beds for Big Limit

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Ontario, Canada, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament of 2015 on 1000 Islands. For his victory, Johnston earned $5,632. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-football-jig-helps-bates-net-title

Football Jig Helps Bates Net Title

Matthew Bates of Greenville, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds even Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Ferguson. For his victory, Bates earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-hipsher-hops-ledges-for-victory

Hipsher Hops Ledges for Victory

Craig Hipsher of Benton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, Hipsher earned $4,385. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-lauer-wins-on-ohio-river

Lauer Wins on Ohio River

David Lauer of McConnelsville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Lauer earned $6,289. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-creature-bait-does-it-for-berhorst

Creature Bait Does it for Berhorst

Dennis Berhorst of Holts Summit, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Truman. For his victory, Berhorst earned $5,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-wendlandt-back-at-the-top

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 »

/news/2015-06-28-top-10-patterns-from-the-potomac-river

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 »

/news/2015-06-28-potomac-river-day-4-coverage

Potomac River Day 4 Coverage

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

/news/2015-06-27-wendlandt-receives-helping-hand

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. 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 »

/news/2015-06-27-potomac-river-day-3-coverage

Potomac River Day 3 Coverage

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

/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 »

/news/2015-06-26-potomac-river-day-2-coverage

Potomac River Day 2 Coverage

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

/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 »

/news/2015-06-25-potomac-river-day-1-coverage

Potomac River Day 1 Coverage

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

/news/2015-06-20-richardson-wins-all-american

Richardson Wins All-American

Curtis Richardson has a way of surprising people – even himself. The Ontario angler had all but written himself off in the championship round of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American, thinking his limit of five bass wouldn’t hold up for long with the likes of Jeremy Lawyer and Bill Schroeder breathing down his neck. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-all-american-midday-update-day-3

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 »