Live now : PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE 2020 Clarks Hill

Offshore Onslaught set for Kentucky Lake

Offshore Onslaught set for Kentucky Lake

Early June on the Tennessee River means the days are getting longer, the weather is heating up and of course the fishing is on fire. The second stop of the Costa FLW Series Central Division on Kentucky Lake presented by Lowrance will certainly showcase all three as droves of postspawn bass begin their annual migration out towards the famed ledges of this 160,000 acre Tennessee River impoundment.

 

Jason Lambert

Same ol’ song and dance

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone that follows bass fishing along the Tennessee River that when the calendar rolls into June the spotlight turns to the numerous offshore ledges along the river. While nearly every TVA lake offers some ledge fishing opportunities, none is more famous than Kentucky Lake.

While last year’s FLW Series event on Kentucky Lake was held at the end of April leading to a shallow bite dominating the event, this year should be more of what competitors and fans alike have come to expect from Kentucky Lake – an offshore grudge match.

Steve Floyd won the 2016 event flipping bushes south of New Johnsonville, Tenn., with a three-day total weight of 51 pounds, 2 ounces. Compare that to the three previous years when the offshore bite was in play – it took a minimum of 70 pounds over three days of fishing to win – the heaviest of the three years being Randy Haynes’ win in 2014 with 75-5.

Although everything seems to be setting up for the best, noted ledge guru Jason Lambert believes that conditions need to change for a real slugfest to unfold.

“A few weeks ago when [the FLW Tour] was in La Crosse, Wis., the offshore bite on Kentucky Lake was just starting to get good,” says Lambert, who holds six top-10 finishes on Kentucky Lake, including a Tour win last year. “The water has been high on Kentucky Lake for most of the spring, but not long after those fish pulled out for the first time the water came up again. When that happens on this lake, the fish pull back shallow. I don’t care what time of year it is, they just do.

“So now the water is close to summer pool and the fish are starting to setup back out on the ledges. And to be honest, I’m not seeing the numbers that you’d expect. But since the forecast is calling for lots of sun over the next few days that should change things a lot and really help move more fish out.”

With the tournament launching from Kentucky Dam State Park it’ll allow anglers to spread out as far south as they care to go.

“Because the tournament is taking out of the north end of the lake, it’ll mean fish will be caught all over the place from the dam to New Johnsonville,” Lambert explains. “I’d expect most of the fish to be caught offshore, but there could still be some fish caught shallow. I wouldn’t expect the shallow bite to produce enough to make the cut, though.”

Despite Lambert’s reservations about the deep bite during practice, the fact of the matter is this event still features a who’s who of offshore hammers and you can bet that they will bring the heat. Plus, things can change overnight on this pond. Spots that weren’t holding fish a day ago could now be loaded up with multiple 20-pound limits. All it takes is a few days of warm, sunny days with warmer temps at night and it can trigger a massive movement away from the bank.

 

Brandon Hunter

Ledge fishing 101

Two things you can expect to see in this event are boats rigged with more surface area of graphs than your TV has and some mega-sized lures – both of which have become staples in the offshore game.

The game plan for this event is short and sweet. Find the most schools of bass, figure out the appropriate rotation to fish them and get to work. The hard part comes in when 40 other boats also found the same juice and you have to adjust a little. Ledge fishing seems simple on the outside, but the fact is that it takes mental toughness and fishing skill to come out on top. That’s why this event is a great opportunity to hear how some of the best in the business adapt and adjust to catch big limits of bass.

When it comes to catching bass that are looking to recover from the spawn and bulk back up the usual suspects should make their rounds. A big crankbait, a spoon, a swimbait and an oversized shaky head will see plenty of action. Of course, you can’t count out a drop-shot, football jig or hair jig either.

For those that look to capitalize on whatever shallow bite may be around a buzzbait, frog and jig will be hard to beat.

“I picked up a frog the other day in practice and caught probably 15 pounds shallow,” Lambert says. “It was fun and tells you that there are still some fish shallow, but I just don’t think it’s enough to keep people from idling around offshore.”

As far as ledge tournaments go on Kentucky Lake, one of the most exciting things over the last few years has been the unveiling of new ledge baits. The most notable in recent history has been the Nichols Ben Parker Magnum Flutter Spoon, but the Nichols MBP Swimbait also made a splash during the Costa event on Kentucky Lake back in 2015. Big crankbaits and magnum worms have made appearances prior to their eventual release.  

Though it is early June, this tournament seems to mark the unofficial start to summer. While for most that means hanging by the beach, for bass heads it means the time has come to do work on big schools of bass. So, whether you are looking for the next hot ledge bait, tips and tricks on fishing offshore or just like seeing hawg largemouths this tournament should be right up your alley. 

 

Tournament Details

Format: The entire field of 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: Kentucky Dam State Park, 7792 US Highway 641 North, Gilbertsville, Ky. 

Weigh-In Time: Days 1, 2 and 3 at 2:30 p.m. CT

Weigh-In Location: Kentucky Dam State Park all days

Tags: kyle-wood  pre-tournament  2017-06-08-kentucky-lake 

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