UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

The Sun Rises on the 2015 All-American

The Sun Rises on the 2015 All-American
Boats idle from the Paris Landing State Park ramp to the staging area to await the takeoff.

The Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American hosted by the Henry County Alliance got underway on Kentucky Lake out of Paris Landing this morning to mark a historic homecoming of sorts. This is only the second time the lake has hosted the championship in its long history.

Though some aspects of the event have remained the same over the years, much has changed since 1983 when the first championship designated the “All-American” was staged on Kentucky Lake.

For one thing, Dean Starkey of Indiana collected $50,000 for his victory in that first All-American; now the champion takes home at least $100,000 ($120,000, if Ranger Cup-qualified). That first championship was held in the fall; for the past several years, the event has taken place in early summer, as is the 2015 edition. And chances are good that this year it will take more than a final-day stringer of 17-06, which Starkey had in the final round, to win.

Bass fishing is also better in Kentucky Lake now, having benefited from longstanding tournament practices such as catch-and-release, and the successful efforts to maintain a healthy and vibrant fishery. Then, too, few would argue that today’s fishermen aren’t better as well. They’ve benefited from access to a few decades of knowledge supplied by the first generation of professional anglers.

Billy Schroeder is among them. The Paducah angler was in that first All-American, but finished back in the pack. Win or lose, he considers this his best chance at winning the title because he knows a lot more now about unlocking the mysteries of Kentucky Lake’s bass than he knew 32 years ago. 

“I’m hopeful, like everybody else, but there are 49 guys [49 boaters who are paired with an equal number of co-anglers] in this tournament who have what it takes to win,” says Schroeder. “If somebody gets on the right bunches of fish, it won’t matter whether they ever fished Kentucky Lake before – they’ll know what to do.”

Practice day Wednesday saw temperatures in the high 80s, with more sultry weather on tap for today. Like many others, Schroeder spent most of the day riding around and checking spots with his electronics. Though undoubtedly fish will be caught from the miles of weedbeds in the lower end of the lake below Paris Landing, he figures it will be a ledge bite that wins.

“I think it’s going to be tight and nobody’s going to run off with it,” notes the BFL veteran. “The key is going to be getting on some of those 5- and 6-pound kickers every day. I’ve relocated several ledge schools I found before the cutoff, so if I can get to them before others beat me to them, I’ll do alright.”

As the tournament began, a fairly equal number of boats ran north and south, with some anglers opting to try the bass on the ledges and in the broad hydrilla beds south of Paris Landing, and others heading up the lake to try other offshore spots.    

The south end of Kentucky Lake is well-known for big individual fish and five-bass limits that nudge 30 pounds. However, by this point in summer the fish have spread out somewhat, even in the grass beds, and finding a spot that will hold up over three days will be problematic.

Fishing pressure is the biggest reason why. Because it is so well-known as a big bass producer, the south end gets beat up every weekend by local anglers and tournament fields. Not that the north end of the lake is so lightly pressured, but the structure along the flooded Tennessee River channel and on secondary ledges near the mouths of big coves and feeders are likely to produce just as many, if not more, bass.

Finding bass is one thing; catching them is another. An angler who locates one or more of the huge schools of bass for which Kentucky Lake is famous, and is able to get them fired up when the current is flowing, is likely to bring in limits large enough to boost him into Saturday’s championship round.

 

Anglers and staff alike saluted as the National Anthem played.

Thursday’s Conditions

Sunrise: 5:35 a.m.

Temperature At Takeoff: 74 degrees

Expected High Temperature: 90 degrees

Water Temperature: high 70s to mid-80s

Wind: S-SSW 3-7 mph on average, but building temporarily ahead of thunderstorms

Today’s Outlook: Hot, still and sunny in the morning with 50 percent chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

Extended Forecast: Highs in the high 80s Friday and Saturday with partly cloudy skies and a chance of evening thunderstorms every day.

Moon Phase: new

 

Competition format

In Walmart Bass Fishing League competitions, boaters and co-anglers are randomly paired each day. Boaters run the boats and fish against other boaters; co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field competes in the two-day opening round. After day two the field is pared to the top 10 boaters and co-anglers.

 

Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American Event Information

Takeoff

Days 1&2&3: 7 a.m. CT

Location: Paris Landing State Park
16055 Highway 79 North
Buchanan, TN 38222
Phone: 731.641.4474

 

Weigh-in

Days 1 & 2: 3 p.m. CT

Paris Landing State Park
16055 Highway 79 North
Buchanan, TN 38222
Phone: 731.641.4474

Day 3: 4 p.m. CT

Walmart

1210 Mineral Wells Avenue

Paris, TN 38242

Phone: 731-644-0290

Tags: kentucky-lake  summer  colin-moore  morning-story  2015-06-18-bfl-all-american 

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