UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Pickwick Lake

Kentucky Lake will be another game of ledges

Kentucky Lake will be another game of ledges
Randy Blaukat

Lots of story lines will be going down this coming week as the Walmart FLW Tour closes out its regular season with the 2014 finale on Kentucky Lake. In addition to the 35 Forrest Wood Cup qualifiers to be determined, also on the line are the $10,000 checks awarded to each of the top 60 anglers.

For many of the pros who also fish the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division, this will be the third stop in the past month on the TVA impoundments of Kentucky Lake and Pickwick, and the Tour event seems to be shaping up as a repeat of what we have seen in both of the preceding tournaments.

The anglers who competed on Kentucky Lake just three weeks ago in the Rayovac FLW Series event were greeted by a lake that produced tremendous catches in terms of both quality and quantity.

While impressive, these catches can't be contributed to the fishery, but to the technology and skill levels of modern anglers. If this same event were held 15 years ago, the catches would be half of what they are now, simply due to the smart application of today's technology.

New, super-detailed GPS chips/electronic technology and an explosion of cutting-edge "secret" ledge lures are the main reasons for such impressive catches at both Kentucky Lake and Pickwick.

We've seen a tidal wave of power shaky heads, tricked-out swimbaits, lifelike jigheads and more in recent years. These have taken the place of traditional big worms, crankbaits and football-head jigs. Combine the "new" lures with electronic technology, and the bass have little chance to avoid being caught.

A prime example of this was the spot I found and fished at the Rayovac FLW Series tournament.

It was a hard spot near a subtle drop-off that was no bigger than an above-ground swimming pool. The bass were stacked on this spot in huge numbers. Ten years ago, without side-imaging, GPS and new mapping chips, it's likely I never would have found it. And I would never have maximized the potential of the area if I had only the traditional ledge-fishing lures of yesteryear.

The same could be said for all the other anglers who worked such offshore structure. The combination of space-age electronics and lure technology has changed the game of offshore fishing in a massive way, and if anglers don't accept and adjust to it, they'll be left behind without so much as a tournament check to show for their efforts.

That being said, this week's Tour tournament will no doubt be a toadfest. The bass will be positioned in the same locations as they have been for the past month, and everyone knows where they live. They will be easy to find and catch.

Environmental variables that will influence catches in this tournament are minimal. These fish will bite regardless of the generation schedule, wind or fishing pressure. Many anglers will see their outcomes more dependent on the boat draws they receive, especially on day one. Most of the really big catches will be registered by the pros fortunate enough to get an early draw, as has been the case in the last two events.

At Kentucky Lake, the local anglers are also a variable. They are on the lake every day, and know all the spots the pros fish. In essence, not only will the pros be competing against each other, but they'll also be competing with an armada of locals for the prime drops and ledges, especially in the south end. All of us who have competed on Kentucky Lake know and understand the reality of the situation.

One of the things we'll see less of this week is any reliable shallow bite. In the Rayovac FLW Series event three weeks ago, there were still some good catches to be had fishing shallow. This week, unless you want to come in 160th with 10 pounds a day, you better forget about trying to get bass going on the bank.

The top finishers and check claimants this week will all be doing the same thing: fishing main channel drops and shell beds with swimbaits/big shaky heads/spoons/jigs, as well as some cranking. The key to success will not be so much the techniques as rotating techniques on specific spots.

The chances of anyone getting on some off-the-wall spot like Greg Hackney did at Pickwick or Dave Lefebre did when he won here a few years back are slim, but they do exist.

I predict this event will be won by an angler who is fishing either deeper than most, or shallower than most (shallow ledges, not bank fishing). The odds of getting on a community ledge and winning are slim too.

Regardless, there will be a lot of great catches and stories this week. I'd like to encourage all the competitors to take extra care of their fish. Keep those livewell pumps on all day, add some Rejuvenade and ice occasionally, and slow down in any rough water.

Also, keep a can or bottle of lemon-lime soft drink in your boat. If you deep-hook a bass and it's bleeding, pour some of the drink down the fish's throat, as it will stop the bleeding.

Best of luck to everyone!

Tags: randy-blaukat  blog 

Renewed Excitement for Super Tournaments

Renewed Excitement for Super Tournaments

Like everyone else, I had concerns about when we would be able to resume our 2020 season on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. Probably a bigger concern was what the rest of the season would look like. READ MORE »

Why I’m Excited to be Back with FLW

Why I’m Excited to be Back with FLW

This year has been an interesting one, to say the least. For the first time in my pro career, I’ve been home for much of the spring, and while it was great to fish local waters and get some projects done around the house, I’m ready to get back to fishing tournaments. READ MORE »

Big Changes for the Pro Circuit

Big Changes for the Pro Circuit

Recently announced changes to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit have me extremely excited to get the season back under way. Specifically, a good number of the Major League Fishing anglers will be fishing the remaining three Pro Circuit Super Tournament events with increased payouts. This makes these truly the most lucrative five-fish-limit events in the country, with potentially half of the tournament field being paid $10,000 or more. READ MORE »

My Line-Thru Addiction

My Line-Thru Addiction

Pollen is in the air, on the water and covers my boat on a daily basis. When this happens, it means one thing to me – the bass are on the bed. Now, most people are all giddy about sight-fishing, but that’s not my deal. I can count on two hands how many fish I’ve caught truly sight-fishing. What comes to my mind during this time is swimbait fishing, but more specifically, one kind of swimbait in particular – a line-thru swimbait. READ MORE »

Making the Most of Quarantine

Making the Most of Quarantine

At the beginning of this year I was excited about the opportunity to fish the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and the Bassmaster Elite Series. I was most excited about fishing the spawn in March and April on some of my favorite lakes. When the schedules for both circuits were first released I was feeling very confident about doing some sight-fishing on Santee Cooper, Eufaula and Lake Hartwell. READ MORE »

The Real Reason I love Spring

The Real Reason I love Spring

Fishing for a living is awesome, but when spring comes it can be tough. April is always a busy month for tournaments – and the fishing is usually fantastic – but I really love to turkey hunt and tournaments can put a damper on that. READ MORE »

A Silver Lining

A Silver Lining

From spending some quality time with my wife, Katie, and my dog, Doppler, to organizing my life and fun fishing, there are numerous ways that I have been able to take advantage of our current social responsibility to participate in “social distancing.” READ MORE »

Encouraging the Next Generation

Encouraging the Next Generation

Growing up in the city of Chicago, I didn’t have the outlet to the outdoors that a lot of our youth enjoy while growing up. It often takes hours to travel out of the city due to traffic, and there were no lakes within walking distance from my house. So it’s not like I could swing by the pond after school. READ MORE »

Picking out a New Favorite Rod

Picking out a New Favorite Rod

When selecting a new rod, I consider several elements: action, power, length and components.  Different rods will fit the role, depending on the type of lure, cover and fish species you are targeting. READ MORE »

Always Go Down Swinging

Always Go Down Swinging

Greg Bohannan's late father, Kenny, taught his sons to never take a third strike looking. "If you take the pitch and don't swing, you never give yourself a chance," he'd say. With that lesson in mind, Greg took his cuts at Lake Martin and gave himself a shot to win. Even though it didn't work out, he knows that at least he went down swinging. READ MORE »

How to Catch Your New PB

How to Catch Your New PB

Out of the five biggest fish I have caught in my life, four have come on a ChatterBait, including my personal best – a 9-pounder I caught this year on Sam Rayburn during the first Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event. READ MORE »

Why You Should Reel with Both Hands

Why You Should Reel with Both Hands

Without a doubt, during a tournament day I always get a question from my Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Marshal about why I have both left- and right-handed Abu Garcia baitcast reels. I get comments about the same thing from multiple social media followers if I post a picture that shows my reels. The remarks originally surprised me, but not any longer because of how frequently I see them. READ MORE »

Carrying Momentum into Florida

Carrying Momentum into Florida

Despite the solid start to the year, and the confidence that comes with overcoming adversity, Miles Burghoff knows very well how a good start to a season can either create positive momentum, or open the door to complacency, which often can result in a loss of motivation and focus. With the Harris Chain event kicking off this week, he's determined to keep that focus and motivation. READ MORE »

New Year, Same Feel

New Year, Same Feel

Ending 2019 on a bad note wasn’t how I pictured last season going. I was in contention to qualify for the FLW Cup going into the last FLW Tour event on Lake Champlain, but after coming in 97th at the finale I finished the season 51st in the Angler of the Year points and missed my chance for the Cup. Not going to lie, it stung a little bit and made for a LONG drive home, but it also made me hungry for 2020. READ MORE »

Vlog: Rayburn Recap, Practice to Pattern

Vlog: Rayburn Recap, Practice to Pattern

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Josh Douglas and his wife, Bri, created this baller recap video from Sam Rayburn and the first Pro Circuit event of 2020. In the video, which includes footage from practice and the tournament, Josh dishes on how he used his practice time to eventually uncover a productive trap pattern that helped him earn a 42nd-place finish, which is a big improvement on the 114th he posted at Rayburn in the 2019 FLW Tour event. READ MORE »

Why You Shouldn’t Second-Guess Your Gut

Why You Shouldn’t Second-Guess Your Gut

In tournament fishing, you can beat yourself up for days with the “what if” scenarios that cause you to second-guess your gut. Well, in this case, I guessed wrong. I finished the Lake Champlain event in 145th place. It knocked me all the way down to 60th in points and out of Cup contention. READ MORE »

More Fishing, More Focus in 2020

More Fishing, More Focus in 2020

People talk a lot about the offseason in professional bass fishing, but when you do this for a living you pretty quickly realize there really isn’t much of an offseason anymore. READ MORE »

New Challenges, New Opportunities

New Challenges, New Opportunities

Now with 2019 in the rear-view mirror, 2020 is in the crosshairs, and I look forward to the challenges ahead. With the rebranding of the Tour to the new FLW Pro Circuit, there are some great new opportunities that both fans and competitors will benefit from. READ MORE »

Why I Chose FLW

Why I Chose FLW

My name is Richard Dunham, but most people know me as Dicky D. I currently live in Palm Harbor Florida where I work for the Folsom Corporation, one of the largest fishing distributors in the country. In 2020 I am fishing as a boater in Southern Division of the FLW Series. READ MORE »

Prepping for the 2020 Fishing Season

Prepping for the 2020 Fishing Season

This is one of my favorite times of the year, the (not so) calm before the storm before the tournament season kicks off down south in January. READ MORE »