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Top 10 Patterns from Kentucky Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Kentucky Lake
Chase Serafin, Cody Batterson

Adjusting to the week’s weather conditions was the foundational element of Chase Serafin and Cody Batterson’s game plan, as the Adrian College duo grabbed the day-one lead at the Yeti College Fishing Open on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes and then raced across the finish line on day two with a dominant winning weight of 50 pounds, 3 ounces.

Serafin and Batterson caught their fish on Alabama rigs and spinnerbaits. Braving the big waters caused by the big winds associated with a sharp cold front, they ran down to the Paris area and targeted main lake points.

Serafin & Batterson’s Winning Patterns

Complete results

 

2. East Texas Baptist University — Chad Paulsen & Jacob Sanders — 42-13

After placing seventh on day one with 19-4, Chad Paulsen and Jacob Sanders stepped on the gas for day two, sacked up 23-9 and took second place for East Texas Baptist University with 42-13.

Returning to the same areas they fished on day one, Paulsen and Sanders targeted prespawn fish with the same V&M Lightning Blade jigs in the glimmer shad color and white V&M Thunder Shad trailers that produced earlier.

“The way the bait acts in the water, if you reel it slowly and twitch it, it will veer off to the left and trigger strikes,” Sanders says.

Essential to their success, Paulsen says, was ignoring the vast areas of flooded shoreline and finding what they called “the original bank.”

“We found one 3-foot area that had a little bit of grass in it and that was the key,” Paulsen says. “This time of the year, those fish are ready to get to the bank and do their thing. With all the high water we’ve had, the key was to find that original bank instead of fishing the new bank (created by flood waters).

“It was important to not get spun out by all the high water. There’s so much water everywhere and everything looks good.”

Essentially, Paulsen says he believes the fish will spawn in areas safe from falling water. Therefore, ignoring the flooded areas made more sense. The strategy produced bites from morning until afternoon.

“It was scattered all throughout the day,” Paulsen says. “We caught them from our fifth cast and I caught one on my very last cast.”

 

3. Bethel University — Cody Huff & Garrett Enders — 41-5

Shifting gears with the cold front conditions, which replaced the first day’s sunny, chilly conditions with dreary, overcast skies, much lower temperatures and occasional snow flurries, Cody Huff and Garrett Enders changed their strategy and improved from fifth place to finish third with 41-5.

“Yesterday we caught them all on a spinnerbait and ChatterBait, but today we switched it up and caught them on a Queen Tackle Hammerhead (football jig) and a Queen Tackle Swing Head jig,” Enders says. “We used a Gene Larew Biffle Bug on the Swing Head and a Strike King Rage Craw on the Hammerhead.”

Enders and Huff targeted pinch points where fish funneled into spawning pockets. Huff said they settled on this scenario because they believed the cold weather repositioned fish that had started their prespawn migration.

“Yesterday, we caught fish on reaction baits in the very backs of pockets, but everything we caught today was out at the mouths of those pockets. We just slowed down with the jigs.

“It was a lot tougher today; we only got six bites. You had to soak your jig before you got bit. You had to take 2 minutes a cast to get bit.”

 

4. Adrian College — Jack Hippe III & Nicholas Czajka — 41-5

Patience and perseverance paid off for Jack Hippe III and Nicholas Czajka, who endured the gut-wrenching frustration of going nearly all day without a keeper, only to sack up 17-9 in less than half an hour. Their late-day rally allowed them to salvage a strong finish with their fourth-place total of 41-5.

“It’s overwhelming how timing-dependent it is on these points,” Czajka says. “Those fish move up, feed, move off. Luckily we figured it out today and made it happen in the last 20 minutes.”

Czajka surmises that the day-two complexion of colder, overcast conditions was a stark contrast to the sunny and pleasant day one. Also, wind conditions were not only stronger on day two, the blow came earlier.

“Yesterday, it was calm when we pulled up on our spot and the wind came later in the day,” he says. “On day two, the wind was ripping in the morning.”

Hippe says his team boated four of their keepers on an Alabama rig with Keitech Swing Impact swimbaits. Their fifth came on a spinnerbait with oversized willow leaf blades.

 

5. University of North Alabama — Luke Mason & Garett Marler — 40-8

Fishing around the Blood River area, Luke Mason and Garett Marler targeted main lake points in 8-10 feet of water with Rapala DT6 and DT10 crankbaits and caught a two-day total of 40-8 to earn fifth place for the University of North Alabama.

“We were looking for heavy wind on these points, because if you got behind a point with no wind, you weren’t going to get a bite,” Mason says. “Those big smallmouth were sitting on those points eating those shad that were being blown up there.

“The wind was a big key today. The more wind, the better.”

Noting that they had a limit by 10:30, Marler says he and Mason culled until about 12:30 and then headed back an hour later.

“Fishing-wise, the weather didn’t have any affect; it was just a little rough running,” Marler says. “It took longer to get there and we had to leave earlier to get back.”

 

6. Adrian College — Alex Henderson & John Franko — 39-12

They made their point by getting right to the point, and in doing so Alex Henderson and John Franko earned sixth place for Adrian College. Gaining two spots from day one, the anglers caught 20-11 on day two to finish with 39-12.

Both days, Henderson and Franko fished about 5 miles north of Paris, Tenn. and mostly threw the Picasso Finesse School E Rigs with Keitech 3.8-inch Swing Impact FAT swimbaits on VMC Boxer Heads. They targeted main lake points in 11-17 feet of water and paid particular attention to the ones with bait on them.

“It’s tough; it’s usually one fish a point, but if you can ignite a school, you can get four or five off of it in a hurry,” Henderson says. “I’m slow-rolling the rig and fishing it really slow for suspended fish.

“What I’ll do is flare that reel handle and what that does is make that Alabama rig flare and that usually triggers a bite.”

As Franko explains, their final keeper came on a 1/4-ounce ballhead jig with a 4-inch Keitech Easy Shiner swimbait. He tossed the bait on 6-pound line over a gravel bar that produced a day-one rally.

 

7. Murray State University — Harbor Lovin & Evan Bramhill — 39-8

High water on Kentucky Lake forced the event’s relocation from Moor’s Marina to Kentucky Dam Marina. These flood conditions opened up a wealth of new shallow-water habitat and Harbor Lovin and Evan Bramhill took advantage of the opportunity to move up from 10th with a seventh-place total of 39-8.

“If the event hadn’t been moved, we might not have caught any fish,” Bramhill says. “We had one section of bushes where we caught everything. When the water’s down, this area would have been a point.”

The Murray State team caught their fish by flipping a Missile Baits D Bombs rigged on a 4/0 Trokar flipping hook with a 1/2-ounce tungsten weight.

Lovin says he and Bramhill enjoyed a more consistent day-two bite. On day one, they caught all their fish during a 45-minute morning rally. Day two yielded a keeper within minutes of arrival and then steady action until the bite shut down around 1:30.

 

8. Bethel University — Hunter Louden & Seth Roberts — 38-12

Returning to their day-one area and sticking with the same baits, Hunter Louden and Seth Roberts stepped up their game enough to sack up a 20-pound, 5-ounce limit that pushed them up a notch from ninth to eighth with a tournament total 38-12.

“We caught a lot more fish today; we probably culled seven or eight times,” Louden says. “We mixed it up. We’d fish slow for a while and then we’d throw more reaction-type baits.”

In the shallow scenarios, the Bethel team flipped a 1/2-ounce jig with a Zoom Big Salty Chunk  and a Texas-rigged Strike King Rage Bug. When they moved out deeper, they threw a square-bill and a lipless bait over main-lake points.

“We were flipping shallow grass, shallow bushes, shallow trees and getting as far back as we could,” Louden says. “We got into some areas you can’t normally get into when the water’s normal pool.”

 

9. Cambellsville University — Dakota Cantrell & Austin Moore — 36-1

A diverse attack yielded a ninth-place finish for Cambellesville University’s Dakota Cantrell and Austin Moore, who put together a tournament total of 36-1. Their game plan involved a Gene Larew Biffle HardHead with a Strike King Rage Bug and a Luck-E-Strike umbrella rig with Keitech 3.8-inch Swing Impact FAT swimbaits and 1/8-ounce heads.

“The water was a little muddy, so I think the blades on the A-rig helped,” Moore says. “This week, it always seemed that they bit when I stopped the rig and let it drop.”

The umbrella rig produced over points in 10-15 feet. Cantrell said the Gene Larew Biffle HardHead produced best over pea gravel bottom.

 

10. Bethel University — Cole Floyd and Dakota Pierce — 33-7

A last-minute change to the game plan likely delivered a greater outcome for Bethel University’s Cole Floyd and Dakota Pierce, who rose from 16th place to finish tenth with 33-7. Floyd, who placed second in last year’s FLW Costa FLW Series Central Division event on Kentucky Lake, said that when a day-one game plan didn’t pan out as he had hoped, he decided to go with what he knows best for the final round.

“The first morning, I decided to go over to Barkley Lake,” Floyd says. “We flipped and threw a ChatterBait and caught 15 pounds. So today we were idling out past the break wall and I was going to go to the canal to go to Barkley, but I thought ‘I want to go to my roots’.

“We were behind and needed to catch a real big bag, so we went down around Paris on Kentucky Lake. We were cranking all morning and we didn’t have a fish until 12:45, but we went into one pocket and caught 18 pounds.”

Floyd and Pierce caught their fish by flipping a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss in the Skywalker color and throwing a buzzbait around shallow cover.

Tags: david-a-brown  tournament  morning-story  post-tournament  2018-03-06-kentucky-barkley-lakes 

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