UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Kentucky / Barkley Lake

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Kerr on a tear at Lake Mead

Kerr on a tear at Lake Mead
Justin Kerr of Simi Valley, Calif., took over the top spot in the Pro Division with a total catch of 27 pounds, 10 ounces. Kerr leads the FLW Series event on Lake Mead heading into day three.

LAS VEGAS - After coughing up numerous double-digit stringers during Wednesday's competition, it appeared that Lake Mead would finally lose its reputation as one of the most fickle and stingiest fisheries out West. But what a difference a day makes.

Just when it looked like Lake Mead was turning around, the lake threw anglers a major curveball - helped in large part by blustery north winds that held stringers down nearly across the entire 99-boat field. To underscore this point, the pro field brought in nearly 135 pounds less weight and 18 fewer five-fish limits than yesterday.

When all was said and done, the anglers who found themselves atop the leaderboard were those who managed to take what the lake gave them and what the wind would let them have. In short, consistency, experience and local knowledge of Lake Mead trumped all else. And Thursday, nobody did that better than Justin Kerr of Simi Valley, Calif.

Recording catches of 13 pounds, 6 ounces on Wednesday and 14 pounds and 4 ounces on Thursday, Kerr employed a yeoman-like approach for two consecutive days. His reward - first place overall in the Pro Division.

"Today was great," said Kerr. "I really fished flawlessly out there. I had my limit by about 9 a.m. But honestly, on this lake, you never really know what's going to happen or what you're going to catch. The wind is a big factor here and you really have to be aware of it. The wind will tell you where to go and how to fish."

While many pros probably felt as if the wind was telling them to go home, Kerr persevered - targeting bass on points and the backs of pockets with a combination of crankbaits, jigs and drop-shots which included his namesake "Kerrlicious" Robo worm.

While Kerr demonstrated that he is definitely a contender for the Lake Mead title, past experience wouldn't allow him to even try to predict the future.

"I could go out there and catch a good limit tomorrow or I could catch two fish," said Kerr. "You just never know out here. I fished here enough where I can tell you that I honestly don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. Hopefully things will go smoothly. Hopefully, I'll get a limit and keep myself up there. But you just never know."

Smith vaults up leaderboard

Pro Cameron Smith of Dana Point, Calif., used a two day catch of 27 pounds, 4 ounces to leapfrog from fifth place to second after today's FLW Series competition on Lake Mead.Cameron Smith of Dana Point, Calif., used a two day catch of 27 pounds, 4 ounces to leapfrog from fifth place to second after today's competition. And like Kerr, Smith parlayed consistency into a top finish. However, that doesn't mean it was easy.

"It was a gift from God really," said Smith of today's catch. "I beat up my main area pretty hard yesterday and I went back there today and only caught a couple. But it was pretty dead. So I went around looking for fish in shallow coves. At the end of the day I only had four fish so I went back to my starting spot. I saw a fish and finally got it in the boat. And that saved me."

Smith said he did a lot of sight-fishing, throwing a 4-inch worm on a drop-shot as well as a minnow bait to land the majority of his catch.

"When the fish are spooky like they were today you have to show them something natural," said Smith. "The baits have to be lifelike or they don't really want it. I'm also fishing slowly. It's a pretty frustrating technique. But I'm probably going to do the same thing tomorrow."

Day-one leader drops to third

Day-one pro leader Kevin Johnson of Valencia, Calif., finished the day in third place overall with a total catch of 24 pounds, 9 ounces.Like many pros, Kevin Johnson of Valencia, Calif., had a rough day on the water - hauling in almost exactly half the weight he boated the day prior. But luckily for Johnson, his strong day-one weight was enough to keep him in contention. In the end, Johnson used a two-day stringer weighing 24 pounds, 9 ounces to finish the day in third place.

But it was taxing to say the least.

"I burned through two tanks of gas and my trolling motor batteries are dead," said Johnson. "I missed a big fish - 3 1/2 pounds - this morning so I'm just happy I came back with a limit."

Johnson said that he believes he's located a winning area. However, because he's sharing it with another top pro (which he wouldn't name), he said he's unsure whether there are enough fish for both anglers to make a run at the title.

"We've both caught a lot of fish out of that spot and I'm not sure if the fish are (repopulating) or not," he said. "But the area I'm sharing has some really good quality fish in it."

Johnson said that he's continuing to throw reaction baits to land his catch. However, he acknowledged that the fishing definitely changed over the past 24 hours.

"The fish bit a little bit weird today," he said. "They kept slapping at the bait but wouldn't really bite it very well."

As for tomorrow?

"I've been going over the same water over and over again," he said. "And I'm going to do the same thing tomorrow. I'm just going to keep pounding that spot. At this point, that's all I can do."

Best of the rest

Pro Joseph Caporuscio of Coto De Caza, Calif., finished the day in fourth place with a total catch of 24 pounds, 7 ounces.Joseph Caporuscio of Coto De Caza, Calif., finished the day in fourth place with a total catch of 24 pounds, 7 ounces.

Meanwhile, Chris Zaldain rallied hard, grabbing fifth place overall with the help of a whopping 14-pound, 4-ounce catch in today's competition. Zaldain had been in 48th place heading into today's competition.

Woods lands top spot in Co-angler Division

Using a catch of 16 pounds, 9 ounces, Jeffrey Woods of Riverside, Calif., jumped up from 16th place to first place overall in the Co-angler Division.

"I've never been in this position before," said Woods referring to today's first-place finish. "I think I'm going to have trouble sleeping tonight. It's a three-day tournament so I haven't won anything yet. But it's exciting."

Although Woods clearly fished well, he also credited his pro partner Bret Gouvea with helping him take over the tournament lead.

"We're driving around and I thought I saw a bed so I told Bret about it," he said. "Bret turned the boat around, looked at it and said, `That's definitely a bed. And I think there's a fish on it.' I thought he was going to throw at it but he said, `You found it, you go for it.' So I threw at the fish and caught a 3-pounder. And that really saved my day."

Woods acknowledged that he hasn't been on a consistent pattern. But so far, it hasn't really mattered.

"I have eight fish in this tournament and I don't think I've caught more than two of them on any one bait," said Woods. "But I'm pretty encouraged overall. I've had two different pros who have fished completely different styles and completely different parts of the lake. I've done pretty well so far. Hopefully I can do it again one more day."

Zanotelli brothers jockey for position

FLW Series co-angler Jimmy Zanotelli of Redding, Calif., ultimately finished the day in second place with a total catch of 16-pounds, 8 ounces. Jimmy Zanotelli of Redding, Calif., ultimately finished the day in second place with a total catch of 16-pounds, 8 ounces. However, not only did Zanotelli finish a mere 1 ounce behind the tournament leader, he also had the added bonus of beating out his brother, Tony Zanotelli, who finished the day in third place with a total catch of 16 pounds, 5 ounces.

Fourth place in the Co-angler Division belonged to Don Hilton of Las Vegas, Nev. Hilton netted a two-day total of 15 pounds, 8 ounces.

Devin McDonald of Las Vegas, Nev., grabbed fifth place overall with a total catch of 15 pounds, 1 ounce.

FLW Series action continues at Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. Pacific time at Callville Bay-Forever Resorts Marina, located at the Lake Mead National Recreational Area in Las Vegas, Nev.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2010-05-05-lake-mead 

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