UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Cumberland

Sam is the man

Sam is the man
Sam Lashlee of Camden, Tenn., is joined on stage by his wife and children as he accepts the winner’s check.

GALLATIN, Tenn. - Large leads in professional bass tournaments generally erode final-round excitement. When a local favorite heads out into the finals with a cushy lead, most bass-fishing fans can guess the outcome.

But Sam Lashlee of Camden, Tenn., refused to let complacency rain on his hometown parade.

Saturday, when he was officially declared the winner of the Wal-Mart FLW Series event on Old Hickory, Lashlee leapt up onto the podium in a single bound, giving the crowded Wal-Mart parking lot a show of victory that looked more like a rock concert than a bass tournament weigh-in - and the crowd went wild.

Elation soon gave way to tears of joy as Lashlee's family joined him onstage for the presentation of a check for $100,000.

Though Lashlee did not have as big of a day fishing-wise as he did yesterday, Lashlee's Leap: Sam Lashlee gives the hometown crowd what they came for: an Old Hickory victory and a celebration they won't soon forget.his five bass limit weighing 9 pounds, 10 ounces was enough to solidly protect his 4 1/2-pound lead. He ended the event with a four-day total of 52 pounds, 10 ounces.

"As of Tuesday, the thought of fishing this tournament never even crossed my mind," Lashlee recalled. "Tuesday was just another work day for me. I was on my way out the door to work when FLW Outdoors called and told me they had worked down to my name on the waiting list."

At first, Lashlee declined the spot. He had work appointments the rest of the week and had not practiced at all.

"After I hung up the phone, my wife asked, `Why don't you fish it? What do you have to lose?'" Lashlee continued. "I thought about it a few minutes and then picked up the phone and called FLW right back and got in. So now I guess this money goes to my wife since it was her idea."

Although he had not been on Old Hickory in weeks, Lashlee had been doing a lot of fishing over on Kentucky Lake recently.

"This lake runs just a few weeks behind Kentucky Lake in terms of what the bass are doing," Lashlee said. "Right now, this lake is about where Kentucky Lake was when the FLW was there, the bass are just now getting deep."

Lashlee combined that knowledge with his local knowledge of Old Hickory's deeper ledges to come up with an expedient game plan.

"The first day I tried to catch fish on a crankbait, but the fish out there (on the ledges) have just gotten there, and they're not in a chasing mood just yet. So I started doing what Steve Kennedy did over at Kentucky a few weeks ago: dragging a jig on my deep places."

Sam Lashlee's key baits: a 1/4-ounce Strike King Bitsy Bug, a 1/2-ounce prototype football head jig, a Strike King Series 5 crankbait and a hand-poured worm.It was a winning combination for Lashlee. Although he did catch a few fish on a Strike King Series 5 crankbait and a large, hand-poured purple worm, a majority of his fish came on two jigs.

The first was a 1/4-ounce Strike King Bitsy jig (black-blue) with a Strike King 3X trailer. The second was a prototype 1/2-ounce football-head jig that Lashlee helped design for Strike King, also teamed with a 3X trailer.

"When it got dead slick and still, I used the smaller 1/4-ounce jig," he said. "If it was windy or cloudy or they were running a lot of current, I used the bigger jig."

Lashlee had a milk run of deep ledges, and his primary ledge was indicative of the others.

"My best ledge is about 12 to 14 feet deep, and it's right on the river channel," he said. "It's covered with a lot of hard cover - gravel and mussels - but it also features a couple of brush piles and one huge tree that's lodged into the bottom. Most of the time my boat was sitting in 28 feet, and I was casting to about 12 feet."

Similar to Kennedy's victory on Kentucky Lake several weeks ago, Lashlee noted that fishing extremely slow was the key to getting bites.

"I never got a bite on a deep-running crankbait on my best ledge," he said. "And if I `stroked' or hopped that jig, they wouldn't touch it. But if I just dragged it along the bottom, they'd swim off with it. It kills me to fish that slowly, but I had to do it."

Clausen records another top finish

Luke Clausen of Spokane, Wash., continues to kick you know what and Luke Clausen of Spokane, Wash., finishes second with a four-day total of  47 pounds, 15 ounces.take names.

Today he moved up to second place on the strength of a 12-pound, 13-ounce string for a four-day total of 47 pounds, 15 ounces, worth $50,000.

The secret to his success?

"My G-Loomis SHR 721 spinning rod," Clausen said. "The SHR stands for `Shakey Head Rod.' I've been doing a lot of finesse fishing lately, and I'm throwing all my finesse stuff on it. They've got the perfect action, and I've been boating a lot more fish on tiny baits because of it."

The tiny bait he used this week was a Zoom Trick Worm (green-pumpkin), Texas rigged with a 1/8-ounce Tru-Tungsten weight.

"I went to a Texas rig over a leadhead because I was fishing around a lot more grass and shallow wood this week," he said. "That Texas rig comes through that gnarly stuff better."

Clausen also reported catching a few key keepers this week on a Lucky Craft RC 1.5.

Powroznik jumps to third

Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., takes third place with a four-day total of  47 pounds, 13 ounces.Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., made the biggest move of the day with the biggest stringer of the day - 13 pounds, 5 ounces - to jump from eighth to third with a four-day total of 47 pounds, 13 ounces. He collected $40,000 for his finish.

"I made the top 10 fishing real shallow," Powroznik said. "My primary pattern was skipping a Zoom Trick Worm (green-pumpkin) around pontoon boats in the backs of pockets. But today I stayed around the ramp. I caught three big ones first thing this morning off the bridge, and that's what got me going."

All week, Powroznik rigged his Zoom Trick worm on either a 1/4-ounce All-Terrain Rockjig jighead or a 1/16-ounce Rabbit Dog jighead on 10-pound-test Gamma fluorocarbon on spinning rods.

Brown finishes fourth

Michael Brown of Rocky Face, Ga., finished fourth with a four-day total of Michael Brown of Rocky Face, Ga., finishes fourth with a four-day total of 47 pounds, 2 ounces.47 pounds, 2 ounces for $30,000.

Brown fished a Lucky Craft BDS3 (shad with a black back) crankbait on 15-pound Trilene Big Game line in the backs of Station Camp and Spencer creeks.

"The key places were the last few bluff walls in the backs of the creeks," Brown said. "I concentrated my casts on the specific areas where the creek channel hit the bluff and then turned away, forming a small underwater ledge."

Wendlandt winds up fifth

Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, winds up fifth with with a four-day total of 46 pounds, 7 ounces.Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, ended the tournament with a four-day total of 46 pounds, 7 ounces for fifth, worth $20,000.

Despite the heat, Wendlandt sought out a shallow-water dock pattern on Old Hickory, fishing a Lucky Craft Point 100 on the fronts and between docks while skipping a 5/16-ounce jig, sweetened with a Gambler B.B. Cricket, to the shallowest, darkest parts of the docks.

"I also caught a few on a 1/2-ounce double-willow spinnerbait," he added. "But the bigger fish came on the jig."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros in the FLW Series event on Old Hickory:

6th: David Walker of Sevierville, Tenn., four-day total of 44-7, $19,000
7th: Art Berry of Hemet, Calif., four-day total of 44-6, $18,000
8th: Gary Clouse of La Vergne, Tenn., four-day total of 44-4, $17,000
9th: Matt Herren of Trussville, Ala., four-day total of 44-3, $16,000
10th: Woo Daves of Spring Grove, Va., four-day total of 43-13, $15,000

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2006-05-31-old-hickory-lake 

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