Quick Bites: FLW Series Lake Lanier, Day 3 - Major League Fishing

Quick Bites: FLW Series Lake Lanier, Day 3

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Co-angler Ken Keirsey is on a roll. Photo by Jennifer Simmons. Angler: Ken Keirsey.
March 10, 2006 • Jennifer Simmons • Archives

Wal-Mart FLW Series

Lake Lanier, Gainesville, Ga.

Opening round, Friday

A Ken-do spirit … Last week at the Wal-Mart FLW Tour event on Pickwick Lake, Ken Keirsey collected $20,000 as the co-angler victor. This week at the Wal-Mart FLW Series event on Lake Lanier, he came very close to making that two in a row, finishing third with 30 pounds, 5 ounces over three days. His weight held up for quite a while today before eventually being topped by No. 2 Ty Hester and winner Kevin Koone. “I’ve just been really fortunate,” said Keirsey, a former co-angler winner of the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship. “I’ve fished deep water both tournaments with a finesse worm, and that’s what I won the championship on. I’m just good with it.” … Keirsey works for the Jostens company, a major marketer of class rings and other jewelry. His success in that business is what has prevented Keirsey from making the switch to the pro side. “I own my own territory, and I have four people working for me,” he said. “I’ve had four or five good years, and I’m wanting to retire (and fish the pro side), but I can’t with the money coming in.” He said the time commitment that it takes to be a pro makes it impossible for him to fish from anywhere other than the back of the boat as long as he is with Jostens. “I’m lucky to get one day to prefish,” he said. This is Keirsey’s sixth FLW Outdoors top-10 finish.

Todd Lowe holds up his 1-pound, 9-ounce bass.Lowe weights … Todd Lowe holds the dubious distinction of having one of the smallest bass weighed in this week, a 1-pound, 9-ouncer. What makes the story noteworthy is that he blanked yesterday and very nearly did today had it not been for the little bass. “Jonathan said, `We’ve got to go, we’ve only got eight minutes,'” said Lowe, referring to his day-three pro partner Jonathan Newton. “I said, `Hang on.’ I made a cast, set the hook, and it was on there – a whopping 1-9.” However, Lowe did see the upside, noting that the measly catch did mean he would at least earn some points. He finished the event in 133rd on the co-angler side.

Butt of jokes … Dion Hibdon‘s day-three performance was literally a pain in the rear. This morning, he was rigging up his rods when he sat on a pair of scissors. “I have a hole in my back cheek,” he said. “I’m hoping I win $100,000 so my wife will rub it for me.” Perhaps his wife will perform the healing touch for $12,000, which is what Hibdon earned as the 16th-place pro. He also said he tried to get his co-angler partner Ken Cothran to rub it for him but he refused. Probably a good decision, Cothran.

Tom Mann Jr. slipped into the final round in the 10th position by winning a tiebreaker.Mann made it … Local pro Tom Mann Jr. squeaked into the final round in the last qualifying position, ending day three in 10th to complete an incredible comeback after he finished day one in 88th despite being a pretournament favorite. Mann is an FLW veteran and this is his fifth top-10 finish, and one of those was also on Lake Lanier back in 1999. “This place is really special for me, and I think it will become really special for a lot of people,” he said. “There’s no better place for spots.” Mann’s best day was yesterday, when he brought in 15-4 after bringing in only 9-14 on day one. Today’s 14-pound, 8-ounce limit brought his three-day total to 39 pounds, 10 ounces, which tied the three-day catch of Jason Meninger, so Mann’s hometown top-10 came not only from behind but also as the result of a tiebreaker.

Loony bin … Yesterday, leader Terry Baksay gave credit to a loon with a mouthful of baitfish for his incredible Lake Lanier success. Today, Baksay brought in 13 pounds, 4 ounces and retained his lead, but he says that’s no thanks to the loon. “So we go into this place and a loon comes in and surfaces two boatlengths away,” Baksay said in regard to yesterday. “It goes berserk over baitfish, and he’s got three or four hanging out of his mouth. I caught one every cast – it was stupid.” Today, though, the loon wasn’t as willing to share information. “Today he came in, looked at me and left,” Baksay said. “I don’t know if I should feed him or what.” Who knows, Baksay. That’s why they call them loons – they’re crazy.

The wind blew in Frank IppolitiNot Jay’s day … Yesterday’s No. 7 pro Jay Yelas tumbled down the leaderboard today, falling all the way to 59th due to his paltry day-three catch of 3 pounds, 3 ounces, a far cry from his day-one catch of 12 pounds and his day-two haul of 15-13. The problem, it seems, was blowing in the wind, a problem that played right into the hands of pro Frank Ippoliti. Ippoliti and Yelas were fishing the same area, though on days one and two, Yelas caught the fish while Ippoliti brought in catches of 8-2 and 8-15, respectively. Today, Ippoliti brought in one of the heaviest stringers of the tournament so far, a limit clocking in at 19 pounds, 1 ounce. “It was one of those days,” Ippoliti said. “I’ve been dying for the wind to blow in my direction for three days. Every bite today was a stud.” Ippoliti acknowledged that though he and Yelas were fishing the same area, they still weren’t exactly close. “We were on totally opposite banks, and he was flipping and I was cranking. But the wind blew my way today, and this is what happened.” Said Yelas, “Bass swim. That’s one thing I’ve learned.”

Quick numbers:

His final-round slot at Lake Lanier marks J.T. Kenney20: Number of top-10 finishes J.T. Kenney has earned in FLW Outdoors events, thanks to his eighth-place finish on day three that will allow him to fish the final day on Lake Lanier.

14-7: Weight of bass, in pounds and ounces, brought in by No. 9 pro Mike Auten on both day two and day three.

5-10: Weight of the bass brought in today by Keith Stephenson that earned the co-angler big-bass award for the tournament.

4: Number of Georgia pros – and presumable Lake Lanier know-hows – fishing tomorrow’s final round.

13: Number of ounces separating Baksay from No. 2 Tim Farley, one of the local sticks.

Sound bites:

Terry Baksay says he was told to bring home the bacon.“I was told to make some money.” – Baksay, in a humorous attempt to explain his Lake Lanier success. He and his wife recently built a house and had a baby, and he says whatever money he makes this week is thus already spent.

“This is like a who’s who.” – Pro Charlie Ingram, commenting on the stellar field competing this week in the FLW Series.

“I told her I’d read about her schooling the pros. Well, Ron Shuffield got schooled today.” – Shuffield, who fished with co-angler Judy Israel today. Shuffield caught 6-4 on day three; Israel brought in 9-15.

Tomorrow’s takeoff is scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. Eastern time at Little Hall Park, located at 3501 Dawsonville Highway in Gainesville.

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