UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Pickwick Lake

Top 3 Patterns – BFL Wild Card

Top 3 Patterns – BFL Wild Card

1st Place – J.R. Henard – 42 Pounds, 5 Ounces

J.R. Henard of Rogersville, Tenn., won the Oct. 24-25  BFL Chevy Wild Card event on Kentucky/Barkley lakes with a two-day total weight of 42 pounds, 5 ounces. For his efforts, Henard earned a $4,478 payday.

When day one of the Walmart Bass Fishing League Chevy Wild Card on Kentucky Lake commenced, J.R. Henard got right to the point, sacking up a limit by 8:30 a.m. and never looking back. For two days, he kept his foot on the gas and hauled in a tournament-winning total of 42 pounds, 5 ounces – nearly 12 pounds better than second place – and a top prize of $4,478, plus entry into the 2015 BFL All-American.

Starting about 10 miles below Highway 68, which crosses the lake at Aurora, Ky., the Rogersville, Tenn., angler spent the first morning fishing flat points on the Land Between Lakes (a large public recreation area separating Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley) side with 2 to 3 feet of water on top, 5 feet on the sides and nearby drop-offs to 15 feet deep. A white Heddon Zara Spook met with immediate and aggressive response.

“They were killing it,” Henard says. “I just started way off the point and worked my way up. When I got to where they were sitting they bit.”

Nabbing his first keeper at 7:30, Henard had a 20-pound limit by 8:30. When the bite slowed a couple hours later, he moved into a series of coves and caught fish on docks with a homemade 1/2-ounce white buzzbait with a 2/0 trailer hook. The first couple of docks inside each cove sheltered big gizzard shad – the key to attracting bass.

Henard’s day-one total of 23 pounds, 6 ounces gave him a commanding lead of 8-12.

Contrasting the previous day’s slick-calm conditions, a windy day two nixed the morning topwater action, so Henard caught just two keepers on the Spook. He finished his limit with a CP Custom Baits Big Humble crankbait – a prototype large flat-sided square-bill. The crankbait produced fish on the points and later on the docks.

 

2nd Place – Billy Schroeder – 30 Pounds, 6 Ounces

In addition to finishing in second place, Billy Schroeder or Paducah, Ky., had a big takeaway from the Kentucky Lake event: Always trust the tried-and-true. Specifically, replacing his well worn, but still functional rod right before the tournament might have cost him the win.

By the numbers, Schroeder caught two fish for 8 pounds, 6 ounces on day one, but followed with an even 22 pounds the next day to tally 30-6. He’s certain that bringing back his 25-year-old All Star Zell Rowland Topwater Special rod and a 6:1 Ryobi reel the second day was intrinsic to capitalizing on a hot topwater bite.

“I had replaced the guides, but the reel seat was loose and the reel wiggled in my hand – that’s why I replaced it,” Schroeder says of the rod. “But it’s like a good pair of shoes that are worn in and they fit you just right.”

Something to do with the heavier action of the replacement rod caused Schroeder to miss several key bites the first day. When he switched back on day two, he turned his luck around, and the more familiar combo helped him land almost every fish that bit.

Schroeder caught all of his fish on a bone-colored Heddon Saltwater Super Spook – he went with the big saltwater model to match the lake’s large gizzard shad. Shallow stumps in 2 to 3 feet of water held great numbers of fish, but working spots out of the current was essential.

Schroeder’s only day-one high point: “It got down to about three minutes until we had to go, and I told my non-boater, ‘I’m going to make one last cast and catch a 5-pounder.’ Well, I made that one last cast, and a 5-pounder came plum out of the water and landed on that Spook.

“My non-boater said, ‘You called that shot,’” he adds. “But it was just sickening to come in with 8 pounds when I should have had a minimum of 16 to 17 pounds.”

 

3rd Place – Bobby Padgett – 23 Pounds, 12 Ounces

Georgia boater Bobby Padgett, who finished third with 23 pounds, 12 ounces, began on the same open flats in 9 to 12 feet of water in the Kenlake State Resort Park area both days of the tournament. However, his daily bags of three bass for 9-10 on day one and five bass for 14-2 on day two bespoke different levels of success.

Starting with a WEC Z3 crankbait, Padgett noticed he was dumping way more fish than normal. Apparently, the fish were in a neutral feeding mode, and their lackadaisical swats yielded light hookups that often came unbuttoned at the boat. 

“I guess they had been feeding at night and then pulling out in the middle of the pockets in 18 feet,” he speculates. “They would feed shallow at night and then come back to the centers of the pockets and suspend over the flats.

“There were just multiples getting off,” he continues. “I’ve never had as many fish get off in a tournament.”

Padgett switched to a Texas-rigged Zoom Speed Craw with a 3/8-ounce weight and a No. 2 hook and made a minor adjustment to catch his day-one fish on secondary points in 10 to 12 feet.

Day two found the fish on the flat more aggressive, and Padgett reported catching 65 bass and culling 10 times. His bait of choice was a 1/4-ounce lead-head and a Zoom Fluke in clear metal flake.

“When I hooked up, I got every one of them,” Padgett says. “Both hands were bleeding from lipping fish.”

Tags: david-a-brown  post-tournament  2014-10-24-bfl-chevy-wild-card 

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