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Auten goes deep for Stren Midwest lead

Auten goes deep for Stren Midwest lead
Local pro Mike Auten took the lead on day one with a limit weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces.

BENTON, Ky. - The fishing was as red hot as the temperatures Wednesday at the Stren Series Midwest Division opener on Kentucky Lake, as 187 pros brought in 91 limits during the three-hour, 90-plus-degree weigh-in. Luckily for competitors, the forecasted strong storms never materialized, leaving them free to cruise the deep-water ledges for some strong Kentucky-Barkley bass.

No. 3 co-angler Dan Booth holds up the dayInside those limits were several good-sized bass, with many weighing in single bass that tipped the scales at well over 5 pounds. The heaviest of the day belonged to No. 3 co-angler Dan Booth, whose 6-pound, 9-ouncer earned him $250 as the co-angler big-bass winner.

All in all, it was a day - indeed, the season - for deep-water fishing, as an angler not fishing ledges was hard to find. Leading the pack of deep-water dynamos is local stick Mike Auten of Benton, who hauled in a limit weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces to step out in front of his nearest competition by more than a pound. For Auten, day one was all about fishing a little bit of everything in as many places as possible.

"I probably fished 15 to 20 different spots - I'd pick up a couple here, and I'd pick up a couple there," he said. "It took me most of the day to get a limit. I only caught about nine keepers."

Auten was not the only competitor describing a tough day-one bite. His hard-to-get Kentucky Lake bass came on several baits, including crankbaits, jigs and worms. However, Auten is obviously onto something already, and with his extensive local knowledge, he is always a solid contender here. That said, even Auten isn't 100-percent sure of his chances the rest of the tournament.

"The way these fish move around the ledges, I could go to my best spot tomorrow and not catch a fish," he said. "They travel. When the current starts, it repositions the fish. It's not easy. The lake's getting a lot of pressure too."

Lashlee extends his hot streak

Fresh off an FLW Series victory, Sam Lashlee is the No. 2 pro after day one on Kentucky Lake with 22 pounds, 6 ounces.Last week's Wal-Mart FLW Series Old Hickory Lake winner Sam Lashlee continued that momentum this week on his home lake, bringing in a limit weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces to end day one in the second position. Lashlee, too, is hitting the deep spots on Kentucky Lake to bring in the bass.

"I'm fishing deeper than I've ever caught them," Lashlee said. "I'm catching them all the way down to 25 feet."

Lashlee caught his bass today on his namesake Sam Lashlee jig as well as a crankbait and a prototype worm. He said he's using his winning technique from Old Hickory Lake again this week in hopes of duplicating the results.

"I'm fishing main-river ledges, where they live in the summertime," he said. "This type of fishing takes hard work."

Indeed, Lashlee made a 75-mile, one-way run to his Tennessee home today in hopes of finding the bass that would hand him his second victory in two weeks.

"You've got to figure out how to win these tournaments," he said. "It's a marathon, not a sprint."

Ferguson redeems himself

This 6-pound, 2-ounce bass gave Art Ferguson day-one big-bass honors and the No. 3 spot on the pro side.After an excruciating experience last week on Old Hickory, in which he accidentally checked in a half-hour late, Art Ferguson III of St. Clair Shores, Mich., rebounded today on Kentucky Lake with a five-bass limit, weighing 21 pounds, 5 ounces, that put him in the No. 3 spot after day one.

At last week's FLW Series event, Ferguson says he cost himself a top-10 finish and as much as $20,000 when he checked in at the wrong time and had to forfeit his day's catch. Calling it one of the biggest mistakes of his life, Ferguson may have effectively pardoned himself today with his big stringer, a sack that included the day's heaviest bass on the pro side, a 6-pound, 2-ouncer.

Six months ago, Ferguson founded a bait company called Provider Tackle, and he threw his own bait at Old Hickory and threw it again today, but he said his day-one fortune was due as much to the area as the presentation.

"I got three days of practice, and yesterday at 2:30 I found these fish," he said, noting that he, too, caught his bass on Kentucky Lake, not Barkley. "There are a few boats around me; hopefully they'll leave me alone."

Ferguson, too, is fishing ledges in 12 to 20 feet of water.

Tutt, Windham round out top five

Jim Tutt brought in 19-12 to take fourth on the pro side on day one.In the fourth position after day one is Texas pro Jim Tutt with a limit weighing 19 pounds, 12 ounces. Tutt, who used a 10-inch worm on the deep Kentucky Lake ledges, said he has four to five fish-holding areas, but had luck today with one particular sweet spot.

"I left here at 6:10 and had a limit at 6:28," Tutt said. "I caught all my weight out of the same area."

Yancy Windham of Gordo, Ala., ended the day in fifth with a limit weighing 18 pounds, 10 ounces.

"I'm fishing a typical summertime pattern - postspawn fish coming out staging," Windham said. "But what I'm doing is a little different than the norm."

Kentucky Lake pro Ramie Colson Jr. ended day one in sixth with a limit weighing 18-1.Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros after day one on Kentucky Lake:

6th: Ramie Colson Jr., Cadiz, Ky., five bass, 18-1
7th: Terry Boyd, Cincinnati, Ohio, five bass, 17-9
8th: Brian Hickey, Cadiz, Ky., five bass, 17-8
9th: Bobby Kilzer, Paris, Tenn., five bass, 17-1
10th: Rodney Hairgrove, Gilbertsville, Ky., five bass, 16-11

Sifers takes co-angler top spot

Jeramiah Sifers brought in 19 pounds, 5 ounces on day one to lead the Co-angler Division.Indiana's Jeramiah Sifers caught a limit, weighing 19 pounds, 5 ounces, to jump out into the lead on the co-angler side Wednesday, but he said that hefty catch could have been bigger.

"I was with a really good guy (Erwin Cole), and he lost some," Sifers said. "I lost one, or I would have had 21 pounds. You can't catch them all."

Though he's from Indiana, Sifers fishes Kentucky-Barkley often and credited his day-one success to that knowledge.

"I caught them all deep on a crankbait," he said. "I fish down here a lot, and we were in an area I fish and had confidence in. This lake's loaded with fish."

Sifers noted that he originally planned to fish the pro side of this event, but other financial obligations led him to enter the Co-angler Division instead.

Top three co-anglers all fished deep

No. 2 co-angler Richard Meuth displays two of the five bass he caught today. His limit weighed 18 pounds, 9 ounces.Richard Meuth of Henderson, Ky., caught 18 pounds, 9 ounces to finish the day in the No. 2 spot, thanks in large part to his ace pro partner Lashlee.

"Just fishing with a good man is all it was," Meuth said. "I caught them on crankbaits, worms - anything you wanted to throw."

As previously mentioned, Booth caught the day's heaviest bass, which was part of his 17-pound limit that gave him the third position on day one.

"I didn't catch a fish until after 1 o'clock," said Booth, who fished with Windham. "It was who I was paired with, definitely. I practiced five days and didn't catch much, but Yancy knows what he's doing."

Pelletier takes fourth; two tie for fifth

Rick Pelletier was the first co-angler to weigh in, and his 16-pound, 10-ounce limit was good enough for fourth.Ending day one in the fourth position is Rick Pelletier of Anoka, Minn., who caught five bass, weighing 16 pounds, 10 ounces, from the back of Bobby Kilzer's boat.

Tied for fifth with 16 pounds, 5 ounces are two Indiana anglers, Steve Anderson of Lafayette and Ron Fabiszak of South Bend.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers after day one on Kentucky Lake:

7th: Ronnie Gentry, Benton, Ky., five bass, 15-11
8th: George McGill, Kuttawa, Ky., five bass, 15-5
9th: Brendan Murphy, Cape Girardeau, Mo., five bass, 14-14
10th: Jason McBay of Covington, Ga., five bass, 14-4

Competition will resume tomorrow with a 6 a.m. takeoff from Moors Resort and Marina, located on Moors Road in Gilbertsville. Thursday's weigh-in will also be held at Moors beginning at 2:30 p.m. The full field will compete again tomorrow, after which the top 20 pros and 20 co-anglers, based on heaviest two-day weights, will advance to Friday's competition.

Tags: jennifer-simmons  headline-story  2006-06-07-rayovac-flw-series-kentucky-lake 

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