June 25, 2014 by Kyle Wood
The Walmart FLW Tour wraps up its season this week on Kentucky Lake – which is presented by Evinrude – for the sixth and final qualifier of the year. This is the last chance for anglers to make a move in the points race to try and clinch their spot for the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray taking place Aug. 14-17.
FLW Fantasy Fishing players also have a shot at cashing in on great prizes this week. At each event of the Tour season – six regular-season tournaments and the Forrest Wood Cup – more than $7,000 in cash and prizes are awarded to the top 50 Fantasy Fishing teams. There will even be cash prizes awarded to the top 10 teams at the end of the season based on cumulative point totals, including a $10,000 top prize.
Just like the previous tournament on Pickwick, most of the attention will be focused towards the ledges this week. One of the nice things about Kentucky Lake is its size. With over 160,000 surface acres of water anglers will have a chance to spread out a lot more than on Pickwick. Being that the tournament is held out of Paris Landing in Tennessee many of the anglers will choose to fish on the south end of the lake. However, the north end presents some phenomenal offshore fishing that could be exploited so long as the weather allows the pros to make the haul up there. The other variable that could play on Kentucky Lake is the shallow bite. The time-consuming run up into Barkley Lake from Paris seemingly takes it out of the question, but some good grass fishing can be found on the south end. The biggest factor for this pattern to play is weather. If storms and wind make it tough for the anglers fishing ledges then the shallow patterns could carry angler to the weekend – just like it did back in 2011 when names like Jay Yelas, Tom Monsoor, Ramie Colson Jr. and Jason Christie made the top 10 by fishing near the bank. With that in mind, below are five pros that bear monitoring as competition begins Thursday.
If you haven’t finalized your Fantasy Fishing team, do so now at FantasyFishing.com.
Jacob Wheeler – While this Forrest Wood Cup champion is known for his skills in shallow water, Wheeler is beginning to flex his muscles with his offshore talent. Most recently, the Rayovac pro sacked up over 90 pounds of bass to claim victory in a BASS event on Lake Chickamauga. That victory is a prime example of how he has proven to be a quick study of the game and when he gets something figured out – like offshore fishing – then there seems to be no stopping him. Wheeler also holds a top-10 finish from the 2012 FLW Tour event held on Kentucky Lake which should help reinforce his confidence for this tournament. Wheeler has an unbelievable knack for adapting on the fly and thinking outside the box to find unpressured fish. These two characteristics should prove extremely valuable for him this week.
At a modest $33 in Fantasy Fishing you can’t go wrong with this pick. Wheeler carries all the tools he needs to make some noise in this event.
Michael Wooley – When you consider that four of the last five FLW tournaments Wooley has fished on Kentucky Lake resulted in 14th place or better – including seventh place in the Rayovac FLW Series event held back in May – then you might want to pay attention to this guy. At just 27 years old, Wooley is having a solid rookie season on the Tour as he stands poised to qualify for his first Forrest Wood Cup. The Collierville, Tenn., pro has waited for the final two tournaments (Pickwick and Kentucky) all season to show the bass fishing world what he can do. He succeeded on Pickwick with a top-10 finish by fishing the way he loves to – offshore. If you combine Wooley’s background on the lake and the Cup qualification dangling in front of him then it seems to make the perfect recipe for him to have a strong performance.
For this tournament, Wooley carries an $18 price tag. He is a great addition to help support the tail end of a Fantasy Fishing team.
Brent Ehrler – The Meter Man is an absolute machine. He tore it up back on Pickwick with over 92 pounds of bass in four days of fishing to claim third place. And naturally, he did it with the help of his electronics. It’s actually kind of scary how good this guy is with his “meters” – which is what Ehrler calls his electronics. The scarier part is how comfortable he has gotten on the TVA system. It is sort of similar to how Ehrler used to have tough tournaments (finishing near the 100s) in Florida until it finally clicked for him in 2013 and he took second on Okeechobee. Skip ahead to 2014 and the California pro started off the season with an 11th-place showing on the Big O. That same type of thing is happening with Ehrler and the TVA. It has clicked for him. He has become more comfortable on the system and trusts his instincts – which usually lead to big paydays for Ehrler.
If your team needs one high-dollar guy then Ehrler is a good bet. He is fishing clean and comfortable and that is what you want to see for an angler heading into the last event of the year. His price for this event is $44.
Greg Hackney – Hackney is riding the momentum train as he is experiencing a phenomenal year fishing two tours. The last three major tournaments he has fished have resulted in top 10s – including his Pickwick win just a few weeks ago. He is truly one of the best shallow anglers in the game. Hackney won Pickwick by finding a school of unexploited fish up shallow and Kentucky Lake offers that same opportunity. Just look back to 2012 when Dave Lefebre won on Kentucky doing essentially what Hack did on Pickwick. There is some buzz that the south end of the lake which features grass and stump field could get hot this week which couldn’t play into the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup champion’s hand any better. Hackney is red hot and that means bad news for the bass in Kentucky Lake this week.
For $37, Hackney is a good pick to round out a team that needs some expertise in the shallow-water game.
Andy Morgan/Cody Meyer – Without a doubt all eyes will be one these two this week as they battle for the Kellogg’s Angler of the Year title. Adding to the drama between these two is the fact that they both have about the same average finish of around the top 20 on Kentucky Lake. Not only will this make for an intense dual for the AOY crown, but it will also mean there is a very good chance these guys could end up fishing through the weekend. They are such a stark contrast to one another in terms of fishing style, yet they both can put quality limits of the fish in the boat. Meyer will most likely spend the majority of his time looking at his electronics out on the ledges while Morgan will be bouncing around from bank to ledge and back. It will be interesting to see if the one of the best offshore guys in the sport – Cody Meyer – can surpass one the greatest anglers at fishing in the moment – Andy Morgan. Better get your popcorn ready.
Both of these pros carry a steep price tag, which should be to no surprise. Meyer is the less expensive of the two at $45. Morgan on the other hand is $52. If you can’t decide which to favor, it may not be a bad idea to pick them both.