UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Kentucky Lake slugfest begins

Rayovac FLW Series anglers salute the flag during the anthem before takeoff on day one at Kentucky Lake.

Kenlake Resort State Park is the launching ground for the Kentucky Lake Rayovac FLW Series event this week.

There are no secrets on Kentucky Lake this week. If you want to catch a winning stringer, you'd better be ledge fishing.

Rayovac FLW Series anglers launched out of Kenlake State Resort Park this morning to near-perfect ledge-fishing conditions for the start of the second Central Division event of the season.

Largemouths and smallmouths throughout Kentucky Lake's 160,000 acres have pretty well wrapped up their spawn and are beginning to stage up in large schools on primary and secondary channel ledges. The water level is holding steady at around 359 feet above sea level, which means the shallow bush bite will not be a factor on Kentucky Lake, though some anglers will run to neighboring Lake Barkley, which is connected by a canal and produces a better shallow bite in early summer. Forecasts are for moderate winds that won't prevent anyone from running and gunning around the lake. And if power generation schedules remain consistent, there'll be daily "pulls" of power-generating current that should motivate bass to set up and feed heavily at times.

A few other options exist for catching limits, including a morning shad-spawn bite and junk-fishing shallow cover. But everyone knows that to catch the 25 pounds per day that it could take to win, the best odds are to park on a ledge and work over schools of bass with crankbaits, jigs, Texas rigs, Carolina rigs, spoons and swimbaits.
Crankbaits and various soft-plastic rigs will be in play on Kentucky Lake

Dealing with pressure

According to some of the local favorites, the biggest challenges of this tournament will be finding the right schools that hold winning fish and dealing with the heavy fishing pressure of two major tournaments. The Rayovac event has 179 registered boaters, launching out of Kenlake in the central section of the reservoir's Kentucky waters. Farther south in Paris, Tenn., another major multiple-day event will commence on Friday with between 300 and 350 boats.

Winning the Rayovac title will come down to careful school management and who can capitalize when a top spot opens up.

"I know it's going to be crowded," says Indiana pro Todd Hollowell, a well-known Kentucky Lake stick. "I think there are fish in a lot of different places. They're scattered around. I just got here a few days ago, but the water temperature has come up 10 degrees in the last four or five days. It's just starting to warm up. The guy who finds a school of 4-pound-plus fish is going to win it."
Todd Hollowell says a black-and-blue jig will be one of his go-to lures this week.

Hollowell says he has spots waypointed throughout a 60-mile stretch of the lake, and he thinks the top 10 could be scattered even wider once the weekend cut is made.

Like most of the anglers in the field, Hollowell says he spent most of his practice period idling ledges with the big motor and staring at his electronics, rather than actually casting on his best spots. That strategy was about covering water and playing defense. During practice, anglers not only faced heavy pressure from bass fishermen practicing for the two tournaments this weekend, but also increased boat traffic during the Memorial Day weekend and the usual local fishing pressure that exists on this popular bass and panfish lake. A bent rod is like a beacon that invites unwanted company, so the safest strategy is to focus on locating schools and worry about figuring out the fish in the tournament. Other anglers chose to borrow unwrapped boats or fish their best spots only at dark. One well-known local even hinted at making an extreme run to the south end of Barkley, where he hopes to have water to himself.

Expect a slugfest

Reigning Kentucky Lake Rayovac champ Curt McGuire, a guide and local favorite from Paris, Tenn., won the 2013 event with a three-day total of 70 pounds, 3 ounces. He thinks this year's event could be an even bigger slugfest.

"There'll probably be bigger weights this year than last year," he says. "They haven't been pressured yet."

The 2013 event was held in mid-June, and anglers were confronted with high winds that made fishing tough. A late spring this year also held up the initial move to the ledges, so this week we'll see the very first wave of ledge bass being brought to tournament scales.

"There's still some transitioning going on," McGuire adds.

The timing also means that some of the traditional summer holes won't quite have their normal schools of bass, but according to Alabama Tour pro Barry Wilson, where you do find a school, it's usually a "mega-school."

"When you find them, they're set up and lined up," he says. "Fish are grouped together, but they're not everywhere yet. They should stay [on those spots] for awhile."
Alabama pro Barry Wilson reports having had a strong practice. He

Wilson is confident that he's figured out a presentation that's a little different than what he saw other anglers using in practice. Most importantly, it's worked for him at times when the current has slacked off and fish have gone inactive.

And that's the final piece to the puzzle. When they're chomping, just about anyone can pull up to a school and quickly put a limit n the boat. The best ledge fishermen in the business, however, have a unique ability to make bass bite even when the school isn't firing.

Rest assured, this field includes some of the country's best ledge fishermen, and their skills will be on full display for three days in western Kentucky. Expect big weights and big bass on the big waters of Kentucky Lake.
Takeoff begins on Kentucky Lake.

Thursday's Conditions

Sunrise: 5:37 a.m.

Day's outlook: partly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms in late afternoon

Extended weather forecast: high chances of scattered thunderstorms each day

Temperature at takeoff: upper 60s

Expected high temperature: mid-80s

Water temperature: upper 70s

Wind: south, southeast at less than 5 mph

Moon phase: new moon

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.

Boy Scouts pro Tom Redington traveled all the way from Texas to try his hand at the Rayovac FLW Series event on Kentucky Lake. He made sure his depth-finder screens were clean and clear before takeoff. They

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  morning-story  2014-05-29-kentucky-lake 

/tips/2019-02-13-how-to-fish-power-plant-lakes-in-winter

How to Fish Power Plant Lakes in Winter

Some of the power-plant lakes throughout the Midwest are borderline legendary. If you live near one or are willing to travel to keep your open-water season alive, Colby Schrumpf’s system could work on just about any of them that have grass. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-11-top-10-patterns-from-lake-toho

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Toho

While the Lake Toho FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats fell basically right on top of a wave of spawning bass piling into the shallows, many of the top finishers targeted bass that were staging out or transitioning to or from their beds. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-11-top-10-baits-from-toho

Top 10 Baits from Toho

The second stop of the 2019 FLW Tour landed right on the spawn on Lake Toho and the other lakes on the Kissimmee Chain. Top finishers caught bass in all phases of the spawn. Collectively, they used just about every bait you’ll ever need if you want to catch a bass this time of year in the Sunshine State. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-10-gross-wins-second-tour-title

Gross Wins Second Tour Title

Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Ga., won the 2019 FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats at Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla., with a four-day total of 20 bass that weighed 85 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-09-gross-grabs-toho-lead

Gross Grabs Toho Lead

Day three of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho was tough on the leaders, but Buddy Gross stayed steady, rising to first from fifth with 19 pounds, 12 ounces. In total, Gross has amassed 62 pounds even through three days, which is just about a pound ahead of Darrell Davis, who caught 25-12 for a 60-15 total and rocketed up to second from 13th. Going into the final day, everyone in the top six is within 5 pounds of the lead, and the way the Kissimmee Chain is pumping out big ones, that counts as the slimmest of margins. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-08-cox-stays-ahead-on-toho

Cox Stays Ahead on Toho

Day two of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger on Lake Toho featured not one, but TWO 10-pounders, one caught by Casey Scanlon and the other by Jamie Horton. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-07-cox-leads-toho-slugfest

Cox Leads Toho Slugfest

Day one of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho was the slugfest many expected. Leading the way is sight-fishing extraordinaire John Cox, who caught 31 pounds, 9 ounces and the day one big bass – a giant that went 10-9.  In second, John Voyles wrangled up 24-15, and Scott Martin is close behind him with 24-12. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-31-a-different-okeechobee

A Different Okeechobee

Cold fronts, dirty water and lower water levels make for an interesting start to the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division season. READ MORE »

/tips/2019-01-22-2019-bfl-season-kicks-off-this-weekend

2019 BFL Season Kicks Off This Weekend

While much of the northern United States is locked in a deep freeze, Southern bass anglers will be kicking off their 2019 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League season with the Gator Division tournament at Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Fla., and the Cowboy Division tournament at Toledo Bend Reservoir in Many, La. READ MORE »

/tips/2019-01-17-pro-tip-how-wes-logan-ties-a-jig

Pro Tip: How Wes Logan Ties a Jig

Wes Logan is particular about his jigs. So particular that he pours his own heads and ties his own skirts. Logan’s tying method keeps the skirt from slipping down or spinning around – a pet peeve of his. Some folks do the same with wire, but Logan prefers using light braided line. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-15-beight-rings-in-marshal-program-in-big-way

Beight Rings in Marshal Program in Big Way

Timmy Beight won the FLW Tour Sam Rayburn Marshal prize after marshaling for Jordan Osborne and Terry Bolton. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-06-top-10-baits-from-lake-amistad

Top 10 Baits from Lake Amistad

Wintertime bass fishing tactics dominated at Lake Amistad in January, as the top finishers relied on jerkbaits, crankbaits, drop-shots, swimbaits and umbrella rigs to get the job done. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-04-perfect-weather-now-on-tap-in-texas

Perfect Weather Now on Tap in Texas

Amistad is one of south Texas’ most famous reservoirs – the other being Falcon. Though it’s not the juggernaut that it was in the not too distant past, Amistad is still an incredible tournament fishery, with room to spread out and plenty of grass and rocky structure to target for big giant wintertime bass. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-03-day-1-canceled-at-amistad

Day 1 Canceled at Amistad

Unsafe weather conditions forced Costa FLW Series tournament officials to cancel day one of the Lake Amistad tournament in Del Rio, Texas READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-31-looking-back-at-2018

Looking Back at 2018

Before everyone fully transitions into the 2019 season, we wanted to take a quick walk back through some of the highlights of 2018. It was a long, exciting and eventful year that included record-breaking performances, tragedy, career-making wins and a lot of change that will impact our industry for the foreseeable future. READ MORE »

/news/2018-12-28-big-bass-expected-at-opener-on-amistad

Big Bass Expected at Opener on Amistad

Lake Amistad might not kick out quite as many massive stringers of largemouth bass as it used to, but the legendary south Texas border reservoir is still a factory for big fish. According to local guide and always tournament favorite Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman, there are some real giants to be caught at Amistad, but they’ll be at a premium when the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division rolls into Del Rio to kick off the 2019 season on Jan. 3 READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-17-young-healed-ready-for-another-shot

Young Healed, Ready for Another Shot

You could say Young has the right attitude to survive the ups and downs of the pro fishing circuit, and if the 2019 season turns out to be his best so far, like it’s shaping up to be, a positive state of mind might be the biggest reason why. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-02-how-bryan-thrift-catches-winter-bass

How Bryan Thrift Catches Winter Bass

You might not always catch bass as well as Bryan Thrift, but in early December you sure can fish like him by throwing the same three baits he usually has tied on when he’s out fishing in the winter. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-11-27-how-to-fish-buzzbaits-for-bass

How to Fish Buzzbaits for Bass

Buzzbaits are old-school topwater lures that are simple to fish and deadly effective in the right situations. They’re relatively weedless and are great for fishing fast and covering water. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-11-19-using-google-earth-to-scout-new-lakes

Using Google Earth to Scout New Lakes

Google Earth is one of FLW Tour pro Scott Martin’s go-to tools for scouting new tournament fisheries. The former FLW Cup champion and FLW Tour Angler of the Year relies on the satellite imagery before and during practice and competition days for everything from getting a “big picture” feel of a lake to locating specific grass beds, docks and laydowns to fish. READ MORE »