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


Lashlee Leaps Into the Lead

Sam Lashlee

Kentucky Lake wasn’t its typical self on day one of the Costa FLW Series Central Division event presented by Lowrance. At least, the results don’t seem typical. Instead of a top 10 packed full of 20-pound stringers, only one angler managed to break that mark.

Sam Lashlee, a local juggernaut and Strike King pro-staffer from Camden, Tenn., caught 21 pounds to jump into the early lead. Behind him by about 3 pounds is Walmart pro Mark Rose, another Strike King pro-staff member and one of the most successful Tennessee River anglers of the last decade. Randy Haynes, who is the undisputed ledge-fishing king of the Tennessee River right now, is back in fifth with 17 pounds and change.

With the calendar approaching May and three ledge gurus in the top five, you probably think this tournament is a ledge-fishing duel. It’s not. At least, it’s not yet.

According to most pros near the top of the standings, there are a lot of fish still spawning, and the only schools of bass are positioned on staging areas between the main lake and spawning creeks. Those staging spots are currently home to prespawn and postspawn bass, and by far that’s the top pattern among the top 10. By Saturday, however, there’s a good chance some schools of postspawn fish will start trickling out onto the main lake. A few are already out there, and we’ll probably see some of those fish at tomorrow’s weigh-in. It’s just not quite right yet. Most schools are in areas where a guy has to fish to find them, but not deep enough for a sonar-based search.

Lashlee relied heavily on local knowledge and an 8-pound, 7-ounce kicker (the day’s Big Bass winner among pros) to grab the early lead. Last night, he told the FLW media crew that Kentucky Lake is fishing the worst it ever has in April. He’s standing by that statement.

“It’s true,” he says. “I only caught five fish today. An 8-07 goes a long way.”

Sam Lashlee

Lashlee suffered some mechanical issues today that forced him to come in early and sacrifice about three hours of fishing time right when his bass started to turn on.

He’s targeting very specific pieces of cover – willow trees, laydowns, stumps and brush piles mostly. Some targets are around docks or on the bank, while others are on gravel bars in the mouths of spawning areas. Each piece of wood cover is a sweet spot, and Lashlee is picking each apart to try to convince reluctant bass to bite. He primarily used Strike King Series 5 crankbaits and a Strike King Rodent on a Texas rig today, but he had a Strike King jig tied on too.

The biggest factor for Lashlee is that the water level is dropping, and that’s left some of his target areas too shallow. Knowing where deeper pieces of wood cover are around the south end of the lake allowed him to stay in contention.

“They’re not aggressive,” he says of the fish he’s targeting. “After they spawn, they sull up for about two weeks before they move out. I don’t have any schools. That’s what scares me. Local knowledge is what did it for me today.”


Top 10 Pros

1. Sam Lashlee – Camden, Tenn. – 21-00 (5)                               

2. Mark Rose – West Memphis, Ark. – 18-02 (5)                                       

3. Jeremy Ethridge – Murfreesboro, Tenn. – 17-14 (5)                          

4. Daniel Kweekul – Bryant, Ark. – 17-12 (5)                               

5. Randy Haynes – Counce, Tenn. – 17-10 (5)                                         

6. Cody Harrison – Florence, Ala. – 17-05 (5)                               

7. Richard Ison – North Vernon, Ind. – 17-03 (5)                        

8. Chris Miranda – Russellville, Ark. – 17-01 (5)                          

9. Todd Schmitz – Goshen, Ind. – 16-10 (5)                                 

10. Steve Floyd – Leesburg, Ohio – 16-08 (5)      


Complete results


Gary Brookshear

Brookshear Heads up Co-angler Race

Arkansas co-angler Gary Brookshear gave most of the credit for his day-one catch of 14 pounds, 5 ounces to his boater partner Kelly Readhimer.

“He’s a super boater. Without his fish, I would have nothing,” Brookshear says.

Obviously, the pros do handle the boat and find the fish in practice, but Brookshear still had to execute, which he did using dragging baits – something different than what his pro partner was throwing.

The morning started slowly, but one by one Brookshear picked up enough keepers to get his limit. He leads by only 3 ounces over fellow Arkansan Doug Sagely.


Top 10 Co-anglers

1. Gary Brookshear – Lavaca, Ark. – 14-05 (5)                             

2. Doug Sagely – Rogers, Ark. – 14-02 (5)                                     

3. Justin Davis – Medina, Tenn. – 13-15 (5)                                             

4. Justin English – Owensboro, Ky. – 13-07 (5)                                       

5. Dustin Roberts – Clarksville, Ark. – 13-00 (5)                          

6. Deshon Orr – Chanute, Kan. – 12-10 (5)                                               

7. Max Wilson – Everton, Mo. – 12-06 (5)                                    

8. Steve Keller Jr. – Bethel, Ohio – 12-02 (5)                                            

9. Jerry Sterling – Jackson, Mo. – 11-15 (5)                                              

10. Randy Forbes – Pleasant Plain, Ohio – 11-10 (5)



Competition continues Friday at 6:30 a.m. CT from Paris Landing State Park. The entire field fishes again, and the top 10 pros and co-anglers based on two-day cumulative weight advance to Saturday’s final round. Watch the day-two weigh-in via FLW Live at 2:30 p.m. CT.


Tags: sam-lashlee  flw-series  kentucky-lake  curtis-niedermier  headline-story  2016-04-28-kentucky-lake 


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