By Joel Shangle - January 1, 2019
With the premiere of the 2019 Major League Fishing Summit Select fast approaching (Saturday, 2 to 4 p.m. ET on the Outdoor Channel), longtime viewers of MLF should be prepared to see some new anglers wearing official MLF jerseys.
Although, with decades of combined competition experience and more than 100 tour-level Top 10s among them, “new” doesn’t exactly fit for rookie Select anglers JT Kenney, Justin Lucas, Brandon Coulter, Jason Lambert and Jordan Lee.
“We’re the oldest-looking freshman class in history,” Kenney joked.
Kenney rarin’ to go
A 17-year pro, Kenney came into his first MLF competition with 48 Top 10s in 315 FLW and B.A.S.S. tournaments, instantly making him one of the most experienced anglers on the Select roster. The evening before the competition began, the Palm Bay, Florida native admitted to a high level of excitement about fishing in the MLF format.
“The anticipation of getting to fish a whole new format is killing me,” Kenney said. “It’s a whole new twist on my same ol’ job of catching bass. I love my job, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve wanted to fish the MLF format since the first time I saw the show.”
Lambert, Lee, Lucas on roll
Coming into the late-May competition week in Ardmore, Oklahoma, there were no three anglers on a stronger roll than Lambert, Lee and Lucas. Lambert, from Michie, Tennessee, had shattered multiple FLW Tour records just one week prior at the Tour event on Kentucky Lake, racking up 101 pounds, 9 ounces in winning his fourth FLW event.
Lee, from Grant, Alabama, was just two months removed from winning his second consecutive Bassmaster Classic. Lucas, from Guntersville, Alabama, had racked up two Top 15s the month prior to the Select (he was fourth at the Bassmaster Central Open on the Arkansas River, and 13th at an Elite Series event on Grand Lake).
“I don’t know that any of that (previous success) will mean anything once we get out there and SCORETRACKER starts going off,” Lambert joked.
Coulter taking a “wait and see” approach
Coulter, an 11-year FLW and B.A.S.S. veteran, was excited to compete in his first Elimination
“I’m ready for a little bit of everything (technique-wise), but I’ll be ready to make adjustments as I need to,” Coulter said. “I’m just going to wait and see what the conditions tell me and go from there.”