UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Pro Circuit - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Haynes clings to top spot on Pickwick Lake

Haynes clings to top spot on Pickwick Lake
Pro Randy Haynes of Counce, Tenn., maintained the overall lead on Pickwick Lake for the second consecutive day of EverStart Series competition.

FLORENCE, Ala. - With steady winds clocking in at 18 to 25 mph and a raging current screaming down the entirely of the Tennessee River system, EverStart Series Central Division anglers definitely had their work cut out for them during the second day of competition on Pickwick Lake.

With plenty of game plans in complete shambles and numerous prime fishing locations completely inaccessible, the field did its best to weather the conditions and mount whatever charge it could muster in a bid to qualify for Friday's top-10 cut.

However, it wasn't easy. Just ask day-one pro leader Randy Haynes of Counce, Tenn., who did everything possible to maintain his overall lead during today's brutal round of competition.

"Everybody who knows me knows I'm disappointed," said Haynes, who saw his day-one lead of nearly 5 1/2 pounds slip to a mere 13 ounces by the time Friday's weigh-in had concluded. "I was hoping for no less than 23 pounds today. But this is fishing and things go wrong. It's a very humbling sport."

Haynes ultimately came back to the scales today with a 19-pound, 12-ounce stringer, a far cry from his whopping 33-1 bag he recorded on the first day of competition. However, the good news was that despite the hiccup, Haynes is still the proud owner of the pole position heading into Saturday's all-important finals.

But still, like the majority of the field, today's conditions definitely took their toll on Haynes.

"I usually don't mind the wind so much, but today it was too extreme," said Haynes. "And this wind with the current really affected my fishing."

Haynes said that he was attempting to fish ledges in the main river but around 11 a.m., the wind picked up with such force that he used up all of the batteries in his trolling motor - the main weapon for maintaining crucial positioning on his spots.

"It was rough out there," he said. "And after my trolling motor went down around 10:30 or 11 a.m. you were really sort of cooked. The waves were coming so hard at times they were hitting the seats of my boat."

It didn't help matters that his bite was subpar as well.

"The fishing was just off today. They weren't biting in a lot of spots like they did yesterday," he said. "And Lord have mercy, I don't know why."

Despite the obstacles, Haynes said he stuck to his guns and continued employing a series of Strike King 6XD and 10XD crankbaits. And in the end, his local knowledge and years of fishing experience on Pickwick Lake paid dividends.

"I tried some shallow stuff earlier but it didn't pay off so I went deeper and fished anywhere from 12 to 25 feet," he said. "It was really helpful that I know this lake so well. Some of the places I fished today I haven't fished for four years."

Although the forecast is calling for steady rains all day in the finals, Haynes is still hopeful that he can pull off a wire-to-wire victory even though his lead is a lot more precarious than he'd previously envisioned it would be at this point.

"I'm hoping I can do a little better tomorrow," he said. "But I wouldn't mind if that wind calms down."

The Suratt brothers inch closer to the lead

Pro Jeff Suratt of Leoma, Tenn., used a catch of 52 pounds to finish the day two in second place on Pickwick Lake.Jeff and David Suratt weren't even sure they were going to fish this week's EverStart event. In fact, it was until the day before the tournament when the brothers officially decided to register. But after today, it's clear they made the right choice. Younger brother Jeff Suratt recorded the day's biggest catch with a whopping 25-pound, 13-ounce stringer to bring his grand, two-day total weight to 52 pounds. Meanwhile, David Suratt boated an impressive 24-pound, 3-ounce stringer today to record a total weight of 47 pounds, 1 ounce.

Jeff now sits in second place overall while brother David grabbed third place heading into the finals.

"I feel pretty good," said Jeff Suratt, who like his brother David currently resides in Leoma, Tenn. "I'm just hoping I can do it again tomorrow and get the win."

Both brothers said they are targeting bass on current breaks near Wheeler Dam with a series of swimbaits, the specifics of which neither wanted to divulge.

"I can pretty much see my brother all day," said David Suratt, on the close proximity of his sibling to his own fishing spot. "And just so you know, I taught my brother everything he knows."

While the brothers were more than eager to participate in some good-natured banter, it's clear that each is relishing the moment.

Pro David Suratt of Leoma, Tenn., parlayed a catch of 47 pounds, 1 ounce into a third-place finish after day two on Pickwick Lake."It's great. This is the biggest tournament of our lives and it's already exceeded my expectations," said David, 30. "Words can't really explain it. But this is the scenario I've dreamed of. I just didn't know if it would actually happen or not."

The dream scenario of two brothers fishing side by side in the biggest tournament of their careers - while walking away with first and second place - is now very close to becoming a reality.

"I really wasn't even sure I had enough money to enter this tournament so I was pretty nervous," said Jeff Suratt on deciding whether or not to register. "But I know now that I'll at least get my entry fee money back. Like I said, this is the biggest event I've ever fished so it feels great right now. And hopefully everything will work out for us tomorrow."

Wright moves into fourth

Kevin Wright of Waterloo, Ala., leapfrogged from 11th place to fourth overall with a total, two-day catch of 46 pounds, 12 ounces.

"Oh yeah, I'm enjoying this," said Wright on qualifying for the finals. "I'm just tickled to death to have made the top five."

Wright said that he has been targeting prespawn bass in current breaks in approximately 8 feet of "open" water with a variety of soft plastics.

"I'm fishing a really small area," he said. "It's pretty much only the size of one boat. I've had some pressure there (the past two days) but I think in the finals I'll have this spot all to myself. So I'm happy about that. And if the fish pull up in there tomorrow like I think they will, I should be in good shape."

Rasberry drops to fifth

Pro Todd Rasberry of Killen, Ala., shows off his fifth-place catch during the second day of EverStart Series Central Division competition on Pickwick Lake.Although Todd Rasberry of Killen, Ala., lost his grip on second place overall, he was still more than happy to take his top-five weight into Saturday's finals after boasting a two-day catch of 43 pounds, 9 ounces. However, while Rasberry was excited to be fishing in the finals, he was far less enthused about today's conditions.

"I had a 45-mile one-way trip today and it was really rough," he said. "The (strong) current by itself was okay but when you put that wind with it, it gets a little scary. We had waves coming over the boat so I'm thankful and very happy I made it back today. We're really holding on by the seat of our pants."

Rasberry, who decided at the last minute to take some time off of work as the local Walmart store manager in order to participate in the event, said the fishing was definitely more challenging today.

"The fish didn't bite as well," he said. "It seemed like they were all just a little less active."

Rasberry said he targeted bass holding to current breaks in close proximity to stumps and brush. He used a combination of Carolina rigs, crankbaits and jigs to net the majority of his catch.

Best of the rest

Pro Jeremy Utley of Florence, Ala., took sixth place overall after the seconde day of EverStart Series Central Division competition on Pickwick Lake.Pro Jeremy Utley of Florence, Ala., finished the day in sixth place overall with a total catch of 42 pounds, 6 ounces.

Rounding out the top-10 finalists:

7th: Robert Boyd of Russellville, Ala., 42-5
8th: Mark Rose of West Memphis, Ark., 40-15
9th: Jade Keeton of Florence, Ala., 39-15
10th: Matt C. VanMeter of Sharon, Tenn., 39-11

Raymond Owen of Iuka, Miss., won the day's big bass award in the Pro Division after netting an 8-pound, 15-ounce largemouth.

For a complete list of pro results, click here.

Cummings lands top spot in Co-angler Division

Tim Cummings of Waynesboro, Tenn., used a two-day catch of 37 pounds, 4 ounces to grab the overall lead in the Co-angler Division heading into the final day of competition. However, if you'd asked Cumming mid-morning whether he could have envisioned that he would be heading to the finals in first place with an overwhelming 6-pound lead on his next closest competitor, he probably would have told you that you were crazy.

"Today started our real slow for me," he said. "It was rough. We really didn't have anything in the boat until 11 a.m. Then my pro, Leon Tidwell, pulled up into a spot and 20 minutes later we were culling.

Tim Cummings of Waynesboro, Tenn., used a two-day catch of 37 pounds, 4 ounces to grab the overall lead in the Co-angler Division heading into the final day of competition on Pickwick Lake."I can't thank Leon enough. He was a great partner and he just showed me what to do," Cummings continued. "He would say, `Throw over here.' Then, `Throw over there.' And I just listed to everything he said."

As a result of the student-apprentice relationship, Cummings managed a 21-pound, 13-ounce haul by weigh-in - which was greater than the weight that 98 pros could muster today.

"We hit that one spot and I had about 18 pounds in 20 minutes," said Cummings. "I was using a Strike King crankbait fishing around the mouth of cuts in about 12 to 18 feet of water. So it was a good day. But it was rough out there."

Like most of the field, Cummings had to battle the elements.

"Given the conditions, it was a good day," he said. "We did a lot of moving around but I don't think we went faster than 35 mph all day. The conditions were just too bad."

However, with a title now in his sights, Cummings reflected on what it would mean to walk away with a victory.

"I'd really like to win this for my mother," said Cummings. "We found out three weeks ago that she was diagnosed with cancer. So it means everything to be fishing tomorrow for her."

Best of the rest

Jason Smith of Killen, Ala., maintained second place overall with a total catch of 31 pounds, 2 ounces.

John Hopper of Falkner, Miss., grabbed third place with a catch of 28 pounds, 8 ounces.

Chuck Rounds of Benton, Ky., finished in fourth place with a two-day catch of 28 pounds, 3 ounces; while Steve Sorrell of Beavercreek, Ohio, netted fifth place with a catch of 27 pounds, 14 ounces.

Rounding out the top-10 co-angler finalists:

6th: Tim Beale of Hernando, Miss., 26-14
7th: Logan Bliss of Cottage Grove, Wisc., 26-5
8th: Michael Phelps of Arlington, Tenn., 24-10
9th; Tripp Pittman of Holly Springs, Miss., 23-10
10th: Terry Hussey of Nickerson, Neb., 23-3

Jim Hippensteel of Rochester, Ind., won the day's big bass award in the Co-angler Division with a 6-pound 4-ounce largemouth.

For a complete list of co-angler results, click here.

To view photos from today's tournament, click here.

EverStart Series action continues with a 6 a.m. Saturday morning takeoff at 200 James M. Spain Drive in Florence, Ala.,

Bass-fishing fans take note

Boaters make their way back to weigh-in during the second day of Pickwick Lake competition.To view Sunday's final weigh-in online, head to FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com at approximately 3 p.m. Central time (4 p.m. Eastern time).

FLW Live will also offer coverage of the FLW College Fishing Pickwick Lake weigh-in beginning at 12:30 p.m. Central time.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2013-05-02-pickwick-lake 

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