UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Grand Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

2018 Kentucky Lake Preview

2018 Kentucky Lake Preview
Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake

Gilbertsville, Ky.

May 17-20, 2018

Hosted by Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

 

About the fishery

The last and biggest of the Tennessee River impoundments at more than 160,000 acres, Kentucky Lake stretches from western Tennessee north into Kentucky. A canal connects the lake to neighboring Lake Barkley, which parallels its bigger neighbor for more than 50 miles and offers more fishing opportunities. Kentucky Lake is mostly known for its abundant ledges that hold thousands of bass during the summer months after they finish spawning. As Kentucky Lake is controlled by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the production of hydroelectric power, current is the determining factor that regulates peak feeding windows for the bass. The more water being released through the dam, the better the bite. Conversely, little or no current usually translates into slow fishing. The lake is a major flood control body of water for the area, so it isn’t uncommon for high water to exists throughout the spring.

 

Last time

Jason Lambert did what he does best back in a June 2016 Tour event when he caught 97 pounds, 2 ounces for the win. It was totally an offshore slugfest. Lambert hauled in a five-fish limit weighing nearly 30 pounds on the final day, proving just how phenomenal the ledge bite can be. Though it’s a bit early for a Tour stop on the big lake, the Costa FLW Series has convened there several times throughout May over the years. The storyline seems to be that depending on winter’s end and spring weather, there might be a lot of fish offshore, or just a few. Otherwise, if the water is high, a flipping stick handling a variety of jigs and soft plastics worked in the shoreline bushes is sure to result in some bigguns.

 

What to expect this time

This might go down as an offshore festival. The few pros who know when and where the fish go after spawning will capitalize on some untouched fish. As for the rest, if the water is high there still could be a very good shallow bite taking place. Weather will have a lot to do with this event. A postspawn tournament is the likeliest scenario, with fish filtering offshore daily. The caveat is that if the water is up, the bushes could be holding piles of bass longer into spring than usual. And don’t forget, Barkley could be more in play than usual, which would help spread the field out and introduce more patterns into the mix.

 

Baits and techniques

Swimbaits, crankbaits and jigs will be hot-ticket items. Other offshore staples will show up, but crankbaits and swimbaits will see a lot of fishing time on staging areas outside of spawning coves. For the shallow bite around any flooded wood or docks, a spinnerbait, square-bill crankbait or swim jig could be a factor. Naturally, a Texas rig and jig will be the ticket for going into the heavy cover to pull out the big girls. 

 

3 critical factors

1. Crowding – Kentucky Lake is a massive fishery, yet crowding on known community holes always seems to be an issue. Because the event is earlier in the season, however, it might help open up options throughout the lake that are normally out of play. This, in turn, will spread out the field.

2. Water level – The shallow bite will depend on how high or low the water is. If the water is still up in the bushes come tournament time, the fish will be there. Low-water levels suggest more of an offshore bite, helping to usher fish out to deeper, safer haunts to recover from the spawn.

3. Weather – OK, sure. Weather, especially the wind, is usually a factor in any event, but on a fishery the size of Kentucky Lake it can be a game-changer. The lake essentially tracks south to north, and lots of guys no doubt will be considering long runs into Tennessee waters. If the wind is blowing a gale up or down the lake’s wide-open spaces, that isn’t likely to happen. Weather can dictate how big or how small the lake will fish, which in turn can have a major impact on stringer weights.

 

Fantasy Fishing picks

Without a doubt, you’re going to want a ledge hammer such as Randy Haynes, Jason Lambert or Mark Rose on your squad…maybe even all three. Ramie Colson Jr. of nearby Cadiz, Ky., would be another guy to keep an eye on in this event. A mix of some shallow and deep anglers might be smart. Don’t forget about a Jeff Sprague or Todd Castledine, especially if the shoreline cover is likely to be in play.

 

Tags: flw  pre-tournament  2018-05-17-kentucky-lake 

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