UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Grand Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Hunter hammers 27-09

Hunter hammers 27-09
Benton, Ky., pro Brandon Hunter jumped out to the early lead at Kentucky Lake with more than 27 pounds. He's ahead of second place by almost 2 pounds.

It's a chess match on Kentucky Lake this week for stop No. 2 of the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division, and Benton, Ky., pro Brandon Hunter has all his pieces in the right place. Hunter opened the tournament with a 27-pound, 9-ounce limit and a lead of nearly 2 pounds. He heads up a field of ledge-fishing experts that brought in stringers of more than 20 pounds through 29th place.

Weights that high suggest that catching quality stringers is easy right now, but that's not entirely true. Finding schools and getting bites has been a breeze, but finding the kind of bass that can win and protecting those schools is a challenge.

Anglers are facing constant pressure from each other as they jockey for position on prime ledges, and pressure from competitors practicing for a major 300-boat tournament that begins tomorrow and launches out of Paris, Tenn., has made it nearly impossible to keep a good ledge spot secret.

The challenge now for Hunter is executing a perfect game plan to stay on the bite for three straight days. Though for now, he's simply happy celebrating what turned out to be a surprisingly good day on the water.

"I had no idea I could catch that kind of weight," Hunter admits, "but I thought I could catch a pretty good bag from my first spot. I actually lost two 5-pounders, so I could have been knocking on 30 [pounds]."
The day-one leader at Kentucky Lake is Brandon Hunter. He has a couple of key spots that he says are a little bit different than the typical summer ledge.

Hunter says he has a GPS full of good waypoints, though he only fished four key areas today.

"On the place that I started, I probably had 22 pounds by 7 a.m.," Hunter says. "I caught them fast, and every fish was at least a 4-pounder. The winning fish are right there, no question about that. But I had an early draw this morning, and I have a late draw tomorrow. This morning, I got `the juice' early.

"The fish are moving around every time I go there," he adds. "I have to find them each time; I have to graph them."

Hunter says his top spot is not a typical summertime ledge and didn't attract as much attention from other anglers, though he wasn't revealing any more details about it. He's using the standard array of ledge-fishing lures - no secrets there, he admits. Once he left his best spot today, Hunter ran to a few of his other schools and was able to put a couple of big kickers in the boat to cull up later in the day.

Tomorrow, he hopes to be able to get on his best spots when the bite windows open up - timing is critical.

"They're not pulling a lot of water [current], so they're not chewing," Hunter says. "If they pull water tomorrow, there's no telling what I can catch."

2nd place - Todd Hollowell - 25-11

Kentucky Lake favorite Todd Hollowell is in the runner-up spot after day one. He had good luck today with a few key techniques that have allowed him to catch fish behind other anglers on crowded ledges.

Decision-making and reacting to pressure were the keys to Todd Hollowell's second-place effort on day one. Relying on about a dozen spots, Hollowell climbed his way up to a 25-pound, 11-ounce limit midday and spent the rest of his time hunting for a jumbo bite that could cull out his smallest fish, a 4-pounder. Even though he didn't get it, he's in a prime spot to win on a lake where many consider the Hoosier angler to be a favorite.

"I don't know if I can duplicate that," he says. "Kentucky Lake is all about pulling up on the right spot at the right time, and when you do, it's magic."

Hollowell's fish are spread out from the main river channel to some of the secondary ledges, and he's targeting bass in depths ranging from 12 to 25 feet deep. Even his lure selection is wide-ranging.

"I started the day with 12 rods on the deck, and I caught them on every rod," he says.

Having a variety of options has helped Hollowell fish through the heavy pressure that the lake is experiencing this week. Coupled with his experience on Kentucky Lake, he stands a good chance to ride this day-one momentum into the cut.

"I think the fish are biting funny," Hollowell says. "You've got to know how to catch them. Today, I fished behind a guy and caught a 5-pounder. So I don't mind fishing behind other anglers."

3rd place - Randy Haynes - 25-01

Ledge master Randy Haynes used a prototype crankbait to catch more than 25 pounds. He sits in third place after one day of competition.

Nobody was surprised to see Randy Haynes near the top of the standings in this derby. He's one of the most accomplished ledge fishermen in the business, and he's within striking distance of the win again this week.

"It went awesome today," Haynes says. "It started off slow. After I got a 5-pounder early, I only had two in the bag at 9 a.m. Then I caught a couple of 3 1/2-pounders."

Haynes already made the Rayovac FLW Series Championship by finishing fifth in the Southeast Division standings, so he says he's in it to win it this week. That means tossing back 2-pound keepers without even considering putting them in the livewell, which would require wasting time culling them out later.

His key lure today was a prototype crankbait by Profound Outdoors called the Z-Boss 20. He has the only two in existence right now. What makes the Z-Boss so effective is its subtle action, which Haynes says allows him to go behind other anglers and still get fish to bite.

"I fished about 30 spots today," Haynes says. "If I had the opportunity, I'd have fished 50. But I was able to fish everything I wanted to today. My timing was perfect."

Haynes spent a week practicing for this tournament, and that time on the water has helped him fill up his GPS with school locations. He should have plenty to fish for the rest of the week. That's bad news for anyone ahead of him in the standings, because no one is better at reading bass on electronics and fending off the hoards on crowded ledges.

4th place - Tom Redington - 24-12

Tom Redington traveled all the way from Texas to fish Kentucky Lake, and the trip is paying off. His 24-pound, 12-ounce limit has him in fourth place.

Texas pro Tom Redington made the long trip north to start a three-tournament Tennessee River swing that includes the Rayovac FLW Series event on Kentucky Lake this week and the final two Walmart FLW Tour events on Pickwick Lake and Kentucky Lake in June. He's started his trip off strong with a limit of 24 pounds, 12 ounces today.

"It started off slow," Redington says. "There were so many people out in practice that I really couldn't press my best spots. I kind of had to go re-fish it today and actually see if there were big ones. The big ones were mixed in with smaller fish."

Redington fished about a half-dozen spots today, but, like most anglers near the top of the standings, he has plenty of other places to visit this week. Having options is important because not every ledge produces each time Redington pulls up.

"It's a timing deal," he says. "On a given day or given hour, my best spot today might be my worst spot tomorrow. I just pull up and take a look, and I can usually see if they're in `attack formation.'

"My spots are real diverse," he adds. "They're from the main river to the creeks to in between. They're still in that transition."

Redington says his morning bite was slower due to lack of current, but it picks up in the afternoon.

"These weights are a statement to how good this lake is," he says. "Normally you need the current to catch them."

As for his go-to lures this week, Redington says he's got no secrets. He's throwing the same crankbaits, jigs and other ledge tools as everyone else. It's where, when and how you use them that make a difference.

5th place - Barry Wilson - 24-10

Alabama pro Barry Wilson relied on one key lure to catch all his fish on day one. He

One lure. That's all Barry Wilson needed to fish his way into the top five on day one of competition. Wilson was predictably mum about his chosen bait, but it's definitely a producer. Once he had his limit, Wilson handed one of the lures to his co-angler, Donald Oksanen, who used it to catch 21 pounds for third place in the co-angler division.

Wilson caught about 30 keepers total today, even though a crowd of anglers was already assembled on his best spot when he arrived in the morning.

"I was heading to it, but I was boat No. 78," he says. "I was 1 mile away when I saw five boats on it. I peeled off to another spot and caught them for two hours straight."

Tomorrow he says he's heading in a different direction from takeoff, toward a second "mega-school" where he hopes to sack up enough weight to make it into the weekend.

"What can hurt is sunshine and no wind," Wilson says. "Actually, the sun is OK, but I want some wind.

"It's just ledge fishing 101 out there," he adds. "The reason I'm catching them so well is because of what I'm throwing."

Rest of the best

6th place (tie) - Jason Lambert - 24-06
6th place (tie) - Sam Lashlee - 24-06
8th place (tie) - Brent Anderson - 24-02
8th place (tie) - Michael Wooley - 24-02
10th place - Phillip Bates - 24-00


Full results
Click here for full results.

Overton catches 21-08, takes early co-angler lead

Shawn Overton of Coal Valley, Ill., got to experience all that Kentucky Lake has to offer on day one. Fishing with pro Chris Blackwell, Overton sacked up an impressive 21-pound, 8-ounce limit to sneak into the lead ahead of Tim Webb of Olpe, Kan., by just 3 ounces.

Overton caught a limit by 9 a.m., tossed back "too many 3-pounders to count" throughout the day and culled up to his final limit weight at around 2 p.m.

"I definitely learned some stuff today that'll help me tomorrow," he says. "I learned some techniques and lure colors that should work with whoever I get paired with. I feel pretty confident. It seems like they're really biting."

This is Overton's second trip to Kentucky Lake as a co-angler. His first was the 2013 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional, where he finished 23rd.

"I love it here," he says. "This lake's been really good to me."

Big Bass Awards

Pro: Wells Kaiser - 8 pounds, 1 ounce

Co-angler: Brandon Bray - 6 pounds, 15 ounces

Rayovac FLW Series event information

Takeoff

Location: Kenlake Resort State Park, 524 Kenlake Road, Hardin, Ky.

Time: 6 a.m.

Weigh-in

Days 1 and 2 location: Kenlake Resort State Park, 524 Kenlake Road, Hardin, Ky.

Days 1 and 2 time: 2 p.m.

Day 3 location: Country Chevrolet, 104 W. 5th St., Benton, Ky.

Day 3 time: 4 p.m.

Weigh-in Coverage

For those who can't catch the weigh-in action in person, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio.

Tournament Details

Pros will fish for a top award of $40,000 plus a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers are competing for a top award of a Ranger Z117 with 90-hp Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The Rayovac FLW Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments, and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the Rayovac FLW Series Championship, to be held Oct. 30-Nov. 1 on Wheeler Lake in Rogersville, Ala.

The Rayovac FLW Series tournament on Kentucky Lake is being hosted by the Marshall County Tourist Commission.

For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Rayovac FLW Series on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.

Tags: curtis-niedermier  headline-story  2014-05-29-kentucky-lake 

Beavers Wins Potomac Regional

Beavers Wins Potomac Regional

A severe storm backed up the tides and drained many of the best areas on the Potomac. Adjusting to the unusual conditions and grinding out daily limits were the keys to success in the BFL Regional. READ MORE »

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

The key to finding smallmouth bass on big water in the fall is to know where they’re coming from and where they’re heading, then connecting the dots in between. Swimbaits, blade baits, ChatterBaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, drop-shots and Ned rigs all put bass in the boat. READ MORE »

New Dominates Seminole Regional

New Dominates Seminole Regional

Belmont, N.C., angler Bryan New, who’s regularly one of FLW’s top performers in the grassroots ranks, had established a dominant pace. New weighed in 22 pounds, 9 ounces on day one and added 20-2 on day two to carry a lead of 6 pounds, 15 ounces into the finals. A roughly 7-pound margin isn’t necessarily a sure thing on Seminole, but the fall bite was a bit slower than what the lake can produce, and it was obvious New was cruising. READ MORE »

Hays Rallies for Ozark Title

Hays Rallies for Ozark Title

The final day of the Costa FLW Series Central Division event on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude was no walk in the park for the top 10 pros. With a cold front passing through at the start of the event, a high-pressure system settled in for the final round of fishing. While most struggled, Dylan Hays of El Dorado, Ark., sacked up 14 pounds, 6 ounces today – the biggest limit brought in during the final day – and finally was able to wrangle his first FLW title. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Costa FLW Series Central Division on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude is fixing to get fun based on what’s already happened today and what could happen. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Sure enough, with conditions changing from rain and clouds to sun and wind, the Costa FLW Series Central Division on Lake of the Ozarks, which is presented by Evinrude, has made it tough on guys. Of course, day-two leader James Watson predicted that some of the biggest bags of the event would come in today despite the conditions, and he was right. READ MORE »

Consistency Puts Watson Out Front

Consistency Puts Watson Out Front

Weather has been the storyline leading up to the Costa FLW Series Central Division finale on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude. With storms and rain blowing through yesterday ahead of a cold front, the cooler weather set in today making fishing tough on some, but others took advantage of the change. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

A cold front that brought temperatures in the 40s, rain and wind has the bass in a funk on day two of the Costa FLW Series Central Division event presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 1

Even some of the best locals were driving the struggle bus all day trying to find ways to adapt to fish that moved thanks to the heavy storms. Yet, some guys did adapt well, with the best being Ladd Shannon and his 19-pound, 6-ounce tournament-leading bag. READ MORE »

Shannon Leads the Ozark Charge

Shannon Leads the Ozark Charge

After losing over an hour of fishing time due to a massive thunderstorm that rolled through the area early this morning causing a lightning delay, day one of the Costa FLW Series Central Division finale on Lake of the Ozarks looked to be a grinder of an event. The tournament, which is presented by Evinrude, saw plenty of fish catching by midday, but no size to speak of. Ladd Shannon of Atkins, Ark., managed to scrape up a limit worth 19 pounds, 6 ounces by the end of the day and sits in first by 1-11 over FLW pro Greg Bohannan. READ MORE »

Rampey Stays Red Hot on Hartwell

Rampey Stays Red Hot on Hartwell

After winning a T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournament on Lake Hartwell a few weeks ago, Jayme Rampey of Liberty, S.C., was certainly one of the favorites heading into the BFL Regional on the same pond this past weekend. Lo and behold, he wouldn’t disappoint, and notched his 11th career BFL win – five of which have come on Hartwell – and won a Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower motor, plus $20,000 cash for his efforts. READ MORE »

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Curt Warren was a paragon of consistency over three days at Grand Lake, and the result was a victory in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Warren turned in limits of 14-5 on day one and 16-9 on day two, but it was his day-three limit of 15-9 that was the most impressive – no other pro even cracked the 13-pound mark battling the tough post-frontal conditions Grand had to offer on day three. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

When conditions changed, Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas completely scrapped his day-one pattern, caught a limit that weighed 13-11 and took over the lead of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event, presented by T-H Marine, with a two-day total of 32-14. Here’s what the rest of the top five was up to on day two. READ MORE »

Bird Moves Ahead on Grand

Bird Moves Ahead on Grand

After his sizzling day-one pattern fizzled, Cody Bird adjusted his focus to a completely different scenario and sacked up a limit of 13-11 on day two to take over the lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, with a two day total of 32-14. Going into Saturday’s final round, Bird holds a 7-ounce lead over day-one leader and Grand Lake stick Jason Christie. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., leveraged his intimate understanding of Grand Lake’s tendencies to catch a five-bass limit that weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces to take the lead on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event Presented by T-H Marine. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

Christie Blasts 22-10 on Grand

Christie Blasts 22-10 on Grand

Oklahoma stick Jason Christie overcame the unsettling effects of a passing cold front to sack up a five-bass limit that weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces for the day one lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update - Day 1

Grand Lake Midday Update - Day 1

After several weeks of hot, sunny conditions, anglers launched with cloudy skies, stout winds and air temperatures in the low 60s. By midday, the temperature rose into the mid to upper 60s and the wind started to subside, however, the first couple of hours saw Grand Lake’s temperamental side. READ MORE »

Valdivia is Best in the West

Valdivia is Best in the West

California pro David Valdivia has consistently finished near the top of the standings in the Costa FLW Series Western Division. This year he finally won his first Strike King Angler of the Year award, and he did it by just one point in the standings. READ MORE »

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

While there’s almost no bad time of year to find a dock pattern, early fall is a prime season for it. The catch is that as shad transition throughout a reservoir in the fall, some bass go on the move with them. So dialing in a key stretch of docks or a dock pattern can at times be challenging, particularly on lakes with a lot of docks. READ MORE »

Beavers Focused on Bluebacks

Beavers Focused on Bluebacks

FLW Tour pro Bradford Beavers of Summerville, South Carolina, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 28 pounds, 1 ounce, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) South Carolina Division super-tournament on Lake Hartwell Sunday. Beavers earned $6,345 for his efforts. READ MORE »