UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

Anything Goes at Kentucky Lake

Anything Goes at Kentucky Lake
Brandon Hunter began his day on one of Kentucky Lake's famed ledges.

This week the second event of the 2016 season of the Costa FLW Series Central Division kicks off on Kentucky Lake out of Paris, Tenn. With some perfect spring weather on tap, excitement is high for the tournament, which is presented by Lowrance and hosted by the Henry County alliance. One of the reasons anglers and fans are so excited is because this year Kentucky Lake might offer an interesting change of pace – a primarily shallow showdown.

Last spring, on May 7-9, the Central Division hit Kentucky Lake for its second event of the year. Prior to the event, some speculated that it would be won shallow, or that at least some of the top 10 pros would catch bass somewhere other than on the ledges. Unfortunately for those prognosticators, the opposite happened, as the likes of Randy Haynes, Jason Lambert, Curt McGuire and the eventual winner Tom Redington caught them offshore as the very first wave of postspawn bass hit the ledges along the main river channel. Last year, the fish moved out in a matter of days, and the anglers beating the bushes and the bank were left with empty water.

This year, there’s a strong possibility that the winner finds his fish on or reasonably close to the bank.

Tournament details


 

Hunter says staging fish could be key

Walmart FLW Tour pro Brandon Hunter specializes in the offshore bite, but he also guides on Kentucky Lake and knows enough about the last and largest reservoir on the Tennessee River to be dangerous anytime.

“I think this tournament could definitely be won near the bank, but not necessarily up shallow. The fish are spawning, and they have been for a while now, and that first bunch that spawned has started to move out,” details Hunter, who says that fish are moving both to and from the spawning grounds. “The lead-in points are always key when those big fish are moving in, and a lot of people throw Carolina-rigged Zoom Brush Hogs and jigs there.”

Kentucky Lake is notorious for being tricky when the fish get on beds, as they often spawn deeper than usual or very quickly due to fluctuating water levels. With a true sight-fishing bite at least somewhat ruled out, it makes hunting prespawn or postspawn bass a much more attractive proposition, but not the only consideration.

“If the water level was at 360 [feat above sea level], I think for sure someone would bust a big bag flipping bushes,” says Hunter. “Now, it seems like they’re holding it at right about 359. If the water would shoot up and those fish had a couple days to get up and situated, the flipping bite would be really good. Even another 6 inches would do wonders out here.”

Currently, the lake is at 359.25 feet, just slightly above summer pool. Though it is perhaps too much to hope that the water will shoot up and push fish into a freshly flooded shoreline, there are still plenty of flooded mustard flowers (yellow flowers) along the banks with some water around many of the bushes and cypress trees.

With the trees getting very green and water temps all around the lake in the upper 60s and low 70s, summer does seem on the way. We’ll get to see just how far along the bass are sometime later this week.

“I know what I want to do to have a chance to win,” says Hunter, a renowned offshore expert. “I just don’t know that I’ll be able to do it.”

 

Baits to watch

We pressed Hunter for a few baits to watch this week on Kentucky Lake. Due to the time of year, it seems pretty much anything could be in play.

Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog – For flipping around shallow or perhaps even dragging on a Carolina rig, Hunter says a Flappin’ Hog or other Beaver-style bait will come in handy.

A jig to drag – Be it a football jig or a casting jig, there’s often nothing better to tempt a big prespawn female than a jig. Dragging one of these around the lead-in points and banks of pockets could prove productive.

ChatterBait – Fish up shallow and around cover respond great to a ChatterBait or similar vibrating jig. If a swim jig is more your style, that could be a good option too.

Lucky Craft LC 5.5 D20 – If the fish move out as Hunter hopes, or even a small portion do, a deep-diving crankbait is hard to beat on the ledges.

6-inch Basstrix Paddle Tail Swimbait – Now a standby across the country, a swimbait on a heavy jighead is pretty much a must-have if the bass are offshore. If not, swimbaits might still get some play rigged weedless up shallow.


 

Tournament Details

Format: All boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 6:30 a.m. CT

Takeoff Location: Paris Landing State Park, 16055 Highway 79 N, Buchanan, TN 38222

Weigh-In Time: Days 1 and 2 at 2:30 p.m.; Day 3 at 3:30 p.m.

Weigh-In Location: Days 1 and 2 at Paris Landing State Park; Day 3 at Walmart, 1210 Mineral Wells Ave., Paris, TN 38242

Complete details


 

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Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2016-04-28-kentucky-lake 

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