UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Kenney climbs atop leaderboard at Atchafalaya Basin

Kenney climbs atop leaderboard at Atchafalaya Basin
J.T. Kenney of Frostburgh, Md., used a 17-pound, 2-ounce catch to take over the lead in the Pro Division. Kenney also landed the day's big bass award after netting a 5-pound, 6-ounce largemouth.

Lackie continues to roll in Co-angler Division

MORGAN CITY, La. - In his first-ever FLW tournament, rookie J.T. Kenney of Frostburg, Md., turned in an amazing four-day performance, won $110,000 and walked away with the tournament title on Lake Okeechobee in the opening week of the 2002 season. However, since that magical moment, Kenney's performances on the FLW Tour have warranted little more than a footnote - until today.

Using a catch of 17 pounds, 2 ounces, Kenney took charge of the Pro Division and found himself where he has longed to be for more than a year - back in first place.

"Absolutely it's great to be back," said Kenney. "It feels pretty good to be where I am, but it wasn't easy. I only got seven bites today, and I had to cover a lot of water to do that. I also didn't have my fifth fish in the boat until 1:30 p.m. It turned out well, but I've got some work to do tomorrow."

According to Kenney, he landed all of his catch fishing large stumps in dead-end canals in about 4 feet of water.

"In the morning, I caught most of my fish using a jig," he said. "But as the water heated up throughout the day, I switched to a spinner bait to catch most of my fish. But they all came around the stumps."

Kenney echoed the stories of many anglers who said that it was difficult to keep the fish on the line.

"The fish aren't taking the bait real good," he said. "In fact, one of my biggest fish came off right in the net. And had my co-angler partner not been ready, I would have lost that fish for sure."

However, unlike many anglers who are slowing down their presentations, Kenney said that he is maintaining a rapid pace on the water.

"I couldn't even tell you how many miles I covered today," he said. "People out on the water must have thought I was crazy fishing so fast. But I think the fish are pretty scattered out there, so my strategy was to cover as much water as I could. And I'm going to do the same thing tomorrow."

While Kenney would love to lead the tournament from wire to wire, he said that he isn't even sure what tomorrow will bring.

"I could go out there and catch the same thing I did today," he said. "Or I could go out there and catch nothing at all. Hopefully, I'll be able to catch enough to make the cut. That's all that matters right now."

Kenney also landed the day's Snickers Big-Bass Award after netting a 5-pound, 6-ounce largemouth bass. For his efforts, Kenney won $750.

Best of the rest

Gary Klein of Weatherford, Texas, fresh off his BASS victory at Lake Seminole last week, finished the day in second place after landing a total catch weighing 16 pounds, 10 ounces.

"Yesterday, I went practice fishing in one direction and didn't really catch anything," said Klein, who only had one day of practice for the Atchafalaya event. "So I decided to go in the other direction today. Clearly, it worked out."

Third place belonged to Randall Hutson of Washburn, Mo. Hutson turned in a total catch weighing 16 pounds, 2 ounces.

Rounding out the top five pro competitors were Billy Bowen, Jr., (fourth) of Ocala, Fla., with a catch of 16 pounds, 1 ounce; and Dave Lefebre (fifth) of Erie, Pa., with a catch of 15 pounds, 12 ounces.

Lackie undaunted by FLW Tour pressure

Co-angler Alton Lackie of Germantown, Tenn., is undoubtedly having a dream season. After finishing in first place at the Lake Okeechobee tournament last month in his first-ever FLW Tour event, Lackie found himself back atop the leaderboard heading into tomorrow's competition - an amazing accomplishment to say the least - after landing a total catch of 9 pounds, 6 ounces.

"It's just unbelievable," said Lackie of his fantastic start to the 2003 season. "I had no idea it would come out anywhere close to this. I decided to fish the FLW Tour because I wanted to learn more about fishing and have some fun. I've just been blessed. This is great."

Lackie said that the key to fishing from the back of the boat is keeping everything in perspective and working within your own personal limitations and surroundings.

"From the back of the boat, you've really got to make the best of the situations that are presented to you," he said. "My practice wasn't all that great, but I was able to do some good things out there today."

Lackie also demonstrated his versatility in today's competition by landing his catch on a combination of crankbaits, tubes and craw worms.

"I did a little bit of everything today," he said. "I used crankbaits on muddy banks, and then I switched up with tubes and craw worms on the brush and grass. The tournament has been going really well for me so far, but it's not over yet. Still, it's only my second FLW tournament ever, so I'm happy."

Best of the rest

Bill Terry of Raleigh, N.C., finished in second place after netting a catch of 9 pounds, 5 ounces; while Simon Morrow of Alexander City, Ala., claimed third place with a catch of 9 pounds, 3 ounces.

Rounding out the top five co-angler competitors were Curtis Thompson (fourth) of Flint, Texas, with a catch of 9 pounds, 2 ounces; and Dennis Kirby (fifth) of Lakeland, Tenn., with a catch of 8 pounds, 15 ounces.

Gerald Williams won the Snickers Big-Bass Award in the Co-angler Division after landing a 5-pound, 8-ounce largemouth bass. Williams, who finished the day in ninth place, won $500 for his efforts.

Tomorrow's takeoff is scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. at the Belle River Boat Launch, located at Highway 70 N. in Belle River, La.

Related links:

Photos
Results
Quick Bites: FLW Atchafalaya Basin, Day 1
Results of day-one pairings
Day-two pairings
Press releases

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2003-02-12-atchafalaya-basin 

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