UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Mitchell

King Crowned Central AOY

King Crowned Central AOY
Stacey King

A close-to-home schedule is both the reason why 69-year-old pro Stacey King chose to fish the Costa FLW Series Central Division, and a big part of why he was able to sew up the division’s Strike King Angler of the Year title.

With two events in the Ozarks, including the opener on his home lake, Table Rock, the Reeds Spring, Mo., pro found himself in familiar waters most of the season. From there, his success was just a matter of executing at a high level like King has done throughout a tournament career that’s lasted about five decades.

 

A more relaxed approached

King is a legend in the tournament bass fishing world. He fished his first tournament in 1969 and started competing at the pro level in the 1980s. Now, he’s a Hall-of-Famer, a four-time Forrest Wood Cup qualifier, a bass fishing millionaire, a 12-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier and a longtime member of the Bass Pro Shops pro-staff.

Throughout the course of his career, King has traveled the country far and wide in pursuit of bass. He overcame cancer and rode the waves of the ever-changing landscape of the pro bass scene, up until he retired from full-time competition at the end of the 2015 FLW Tour season.

Now, he’s competing for the love of the sport, and at a much easier pace.

“I just fished two Southwestern Division events and the Central Costas this year,” King says. “My wife and I did it full time for 30 years, and we kind of got burned out on the travel. As long as I don’t have to drive more than a day’s drive to get to a tournament, I’ll do it. I still love to compete and love to fish. I still want to do it, but I don’t want to do the coast-to-coast thing. I’ll be 70 next February.”

In addition to fishing tournaments when he wants, King says he spends a lot of time in the woods and fields of Missouri and Kansas. That’s how he’ll spend his offseason, outside of competing at the Costa FLW Series Championship Nov. 1-3 at Lake Guntersville. He’s been chasing turkeys this fall and has plans to get after deer with his crossbow. And he still does a lot of bird hunting – bobwhite quail mostly – with a string of five English pointers.

The pace he keeps might be the secret to his fountain of youth, but whatever it is, King’s thrilled to be living an outdoor lifestyle and showing his younger competitors that he’s still got it by winning AOY.

“It feels great. I just had a good season,” he says. “I’m very fortunate. Everything went right for me. I’m just sure lucky to be in that position to win.”

 

Tournament rundown

From Table Rock to Lake Barkley and back to Lake of the Ozarks, King spent most of the season in familiar territory, resulting in three top-10 finishes and an AOY finish that landed him ahead of such hammers as Jeremy Lawyer, Andy Morgan, Todd Castledine and Greg Bohannan.


Table Rock Lake, April 19-21

4th Place

Results

King was literally right at home in the April opener.

“Table Rock is my home lake, so I’m very familiar with it. That time of the year there’s a pretty good swimbait bite. I caught most of my fish in that event on swimbaits,” says King, who hucked Bass Pro Shops Speed Shad swimbaits.

“The fish were prespawn, getting ready to move onto the flats. Some were still on steeper points just moving up and getting ready. Most of those fish I caught were not too deep. I might’ve caught some at 10 feet and some shallower than that. I caught them around baitfish.”

Tougher conditions on the final day challenged King, and all he could muster was five meager keepers. He finished fourth and less than 2 pounds behind winner Hensley Powell. It was the only time all season that he didn’t lead the AOY standings.


Lake Barkley, June 7-9

10th Place

Results

Though the second Central Division contest was based on Lake Barkley, King made the same decision that many competitors did and focused on Kentucky Lake, which is connected to Barkley by a canal. A 20-pound, 2-ounce limit on day one landed King in 10th. He stayed in that spot with 16-15 on day two. Two keepers for 4-9 on the final day did nothing to help his cause. King finished 10th and more than 30 pounds behind winner Jake Lawrence.

He spent his tournament on two 10- to 15-foot-deep main-lake ledges where King figures the fish set up temporarily on their way from spawning bays to the deeper ledges of the main lake.

“There really weren’t that many fish on either one of those spots,” King says. “One spot had some pressure form another boat. The other spot I had all to myself. That’s where I caught my big stringer the first day and most of my fish the second day.

“I think that was a small spot, and I really don’t think there were many fish moving in to feed. I think they moved on that spot to feed at night because I caught my fish early in the morning. I think I wore them out because I couldn’t catch them the third day.”


Lake of the Ozarks, Oct. 11-13

4th Place

Results

Once again, King came within shouting distance of a win, finishing exactly 3 pounds behind tournament winner Jeremy Lawyer at Lake of the Ozarks.

“I practiced up the Osage River, and I had a few areas with docks where I felt like I could catch some,” King recalls. “A couple mornings in practice I had started fairly close and had two or three topwater bites with a couple fairly good fish. My mindset was to start close and see if I could get a bite or two and then go up the river and fish.”

The first morning, King lit into a trio of quality keepers right away with his topwater, and the plan quickly changed. He opened with 11 pounds, 13 ounces, but it could’ve been 15 to 16 pounds had he not lost a good one at the net.

“That made up my mind that I would do the same thing the next day,” says King, who was in 58th after day one.

Day two is when the AOY race more or less finalized.

“I got a perfect day for towpater fishing,” King says. “It was cloudy, rainy, cold and a little windy; just a miserable day, but with low pressure. That’s the kind of day they like to feed up there. The first bass I caught that morning was a 6-13. I had my game plan set for that day and stuck with it and had that big stringer”

A 23-pound, 2-ounce sack shuttled King all the way into first place, though he was tied for weight with Missouri’s David Ryan.

It was a remarkable turnaround, but the excitement was short-lived. King caught only three keepers for 8-4 on day three and slipped to fourth place.

“The sky was still cloudy on the third day, and I really felt like I could catch them again on that topwater. Apparently the pressure came up, and they would not bite. I got one small fish to come up and bite a topwater that day, and it was a small one; I mean, a 12-incher.”

Scrambling, King went to some docks and at least gave himself an opportunity. It just wasn’t meant to be.

“I did catch a few fish each day pitching a green pumpkin Zoom Trick Worm around boat docks,” he says. “I resorted back to that and scratched out three pretty nice fish. If I had caught the other two I could’ve won the tournament.”


Prizes and standings

For winning the 2018 Costa FLW Series Central Division Strike King Angler of the Year award, Stacey King earned an extra $5,000 in cash. Additionally, cash payouts of $4,000, $3,000, $2,500 and $2,000 went to the other pros in the top five. The top 40 pros and 40 co-anglers in the division standings qualified for the Costa FLW Series Championship.

The top 10 anglers in the standings, including AOY points earned:

1. Stacey King – 735 points 

2. Jeremy Lawyer – 723 

3. Andy Morgan – 686 

4. Todd Castledine – 683 

5. Greg Bohannan – 673 

6. Joe Wieberg – 671 

7. Garrett Paquette – 666 

8. Ryan Salzman – 662

9. Lance Williams – 660 

10. Keith Amerson – 657 

 

Tags: curtis-niedermier  article 

Join Facebook Q&As with FLW Pros

Join Facebook Q&As with FLW Pros

With no tournament action taking place and most people staying in and around their homes to help slow the spread of COVID-19, folks are taking to the internet and social media more and more. Here at FLW, we’re using social media to help fans pass the time with some of the sport’s top fishing pros. READ MORE »

Jason Abram is More Than a Winner

Jason Abram is More Than a Winner

Jason Abram is many things: a dedicated husband, a loving father, a former athlete, a football coach, a professional bass angler. And you can now add Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit champion to the list after his win on Lake Martin. READ MORE »

FLW Lends Trailer for COVID-19 Testing

FLW Lends Trailer for COVID-19 Testing

The fight against the spread of COVID-19 isn’t an individual effort. It takes community-wide support to present a unified front against the pandemic that continues to disrupt the status quo of life in the U.S. and throughout the world. For its part, FLW continues to lend support wherever possible, including offering the use of one of its Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine weigh-in trailers to a community task force centered in Paducah, Ky., which is using the trailer as part of its outdoor COVID-19 testing facility. READ MORE »

FLW Reschedules Tournament Dates

FLW Reschedules Tournament Dates

We are working diligently with our hosts and sponsors to reschedule all postponed tournaments and are pleased to announce new dates for all of the affected Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and Toyota Series events as well as some Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI and FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing events. Rescheduled Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine tournaments will be announced soon.  READ MORE »

Review: Yakima TopWater

Review: Yakima TopWater

The TopWater retails for $549 and has more bells and whistles than most of the other rooftop rod storage options out there. For some anglers, those extras would be much appreciated and worth the money, but for others they might be overkill. READ MORE »

The Rebirth of Spencer Shuffield

The Rebirth of Spencer Shuffield

Fall from grace stories are rarely told in the fishing world. Tournament pros come and go from year to year, some after having found a little success and some leaving the pro fishing world with little show for it. That’s the nature of a sport predicated on competing with the best of the best in a format that sometimes rewards chance. Often, hard work and skill aren’t enough to precipitate prolonged success. READ MORE »

How to Catch Tailrace Smallmouths

How to Catch Tailrace Smallmouths

The reservoirs strung along the Tennessee River are tremendous fisheries, but they perhaps don’t get as much shine for being smallmouth producers as they should. READ MORE »

FLW Classics – Week 1

FLW Classics – Week 1

This week’s shows cover everything from the first FLW Tour win for John Cox, to a Tour event on Okeechobee where three pros crossed the century mark and the second College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Join Facebook Q&As with FLW Pros

Join Facebook Q&As with FLW Pros

With no tournament action taking place and most people staying in and around their homes to help slow the spread of COVID-19, folks are taking to the internet and social media more and more. Here at FLW, we’re using social media to help fans pass the time with some of the sport’s top fishing pros. READ MORE »

Nixon Eyeing Early June Return

Nixon Eyeing Early June Return

You couldn’t choose just one word to describe Larry Nixon’s professional fishing career. But right now, if you had to try, the most applicable word might be “resiliency.” READ MORE »

Berkley Announces Fish Through It Challenge

Berkley Announces Fish Through It Challenge

While tournament fishing may be on hold for a bit, that doesn’t mean you can’t be stocking up on tackle. What better way to load your tackle box than with free tackle! That’s where Berkley’s  Fish Through It Challenge comes into play. READ MORE »

FLW Reschedules Events Through May 3

FLW Reschedules Events Through May 3

This unprecedented action, taken out of an abundance of caution and continued uncertainty of venue availability, will help protect the health and welfare of our anglers, staff, fans, sponsors and host communities.  READ MORE »

Lake Martin on YouTube

Lake Martin on YouTube

The third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season on Lake Martin was filled with fish catches. Many of the pros documented individual fish, the entire tournament or produced recaps for YouTube. READ MORE »

10 Pro Circuit Highlights So Far

10 Pro Circuit Highlights So Far

We’re almost halfway through the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit schedule, which means we’re far enough along now for a little retrospective on what’s happened thus far. READ MORE »

Sight-Fishing with Swimbaits

Sight-Fishing with Swimbaits

Ron Nelson, the Pro Circuit Angler of the Year leader and a renowned sight-fisherman, used a Keitech Swing Impact FAT for blind-fishing and sight-fishing at Martin and earned a runner-up finish. California’s Kevin Hugo took seventh at Lake Havasu and caught some of his biggest bass sight-fishing with a Little Creeper All American Trash Fish or Sunfish. Though the reasons why they settled on swimbaits varied, both pros can offer valuable lessons for any angler tackling a spawning scenario. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Lake Martin

AOY Update: Lake Martin

Through three events of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, second-year pro and 2019 Polaris Rookie of the Year Ron Nelson remains atop the Angler of the Year standings after a second-place finish at Lake Martin. READ MORE »

FLW Postpones Events Through April 5

FLW Postpones Events Through April 5

Out of an abundance of caution and the uncertainty of venue availability amid rapidly evolving restrictions, however, FLW will reschedule all tournaments through April 5, except for the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on Lake Martin in Alexander City, Alabama, for which practice has already begun and extra precautions have been instituted.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits and Patterns from Havasu

Top 10 Baits and Patterns from Havasu

Results from the Toyota Series Western Division event at Lake Havasu probably didn’t surprise any Western anglers who are familiar with the fishery. For folks in other parts of the country that might only have followed FLW’s early February events on the Colorado River reservoir, the tournament results might have opened some eyes to just how good the fishing can be on Havasu. Particularly on day one, the lake delivered, kicking out 12 limits of more than 20 pounds, including Tai Au’s limit of 26 pounds, 1 ounce. The success on day one resulted from a perfect storm of conditions for catching spawning bass on beds.  READ MORE »

Co-angler Farage Gets Win No. 5

Co-angler Farage Gets Win No. 5

If you weren’t already aware, you need to be paying attention to the name Jack Farage. This week, the Discovery Bay, Calif., co-angler won his fifth Toyota Series Western Division tournament since 2013 by catching 43 pounds, 3 ounces at Lake Havasu. For his latest win, Farage earned a Phoenix 518 Pro with a 115-hp Suzuki outboard. READ MORE »

Au Finishes Strong at Lake Havasu

Au Finishes Strong at Lake Havasu

Tai Au of Glendale, Ariz., weighed in a five-bass limit worth 16 pounds, 15 ounces today to finish off a wire-to-wire win at the Toyota Series Western Division season opener on Lake Havasu. Au’s three-day total was 61-3.  READ MORE »