MURRAY, Ky. – Team Land O’Lakes pro Keith Williams of Conway, Ark., caught a final-round total of 10 bass weighing 42 pounds even to win $125,000 in the FLW Tour event presented by Pringles on Kentucky/Barkley lakes. Williams topped his closest rival, David Young of Mayfield, Ky., by 2 pounds, 6 ounces to earn the win and 200 points toward qualifying for the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol and BP, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2 on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pa., where they could win as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.
“I’ve had so many ups and downs – mostly downs,” said Williams, who has won more than $439,000 in FLW Outdoors events. “I’ve had some bad years. My first three years were really good, but after that I had a bad dry spell without any good finishes. I had considered not doing it any more. I had considered quitting and Land O’Lakes kept me in it.”
Williams said his first fish of the day, a 9-pound, 1-ounce largemouth, was the fish that sealed the victory.
“I knew right then I had a chance to win if I could just settle down and catch a decent limit,” Williams said. “I’m not really sure what time I caught it. After I caught it, everything was just a blur. I made myself get off the trolling motor and slow way down, because I was shaking. I knew I was going to mess up if I started fishing too fast.”
Williams said he focused on a grassy area with shell spots and rocky spots in a road bed that he said runs through Kentucky Lake for five or six miles. Williams said he alternated between a 10 1/2-inch plum-colored Zoom Ole Monster worm, a 3/4-ounce Strike King football-head jig and a Zoom Brush Hog fished on 20-pound Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon. His Texas-rigged worm rig consisted of a 5/16-ounce Tru-Tungsten weight and a 5/0 hook.
“Seventy percent of my fish came on the initial fall after I’d make a long cast,” Williams said. “They were really boat shy.”
Williams said his hot spot was in the New Johnsonville area and was about 45 miles from Kenlake Marina and about 75 miles from the Kentucky Dam Marina.
“In the morning, especially on cloudy days, they were way on top of the road bed and I was keeping my boat deep and making really long casts to keep from spooking them, and I was throwing shallow – maybe even eight feet,” Williams said. “Sometimes my boat was sitting 25 or even 30 feet deep.
“I knew there was acres and acres and acres of grass there,” Williams added. “That’s the only reason I fished this area. I knew that the grass was the deal and I knew a lot of the guys wouldn’t know about it, because the lake’s been up this year and it hasn’t grown up to the top.”
Williams opened the tournament Thursday in fifth place with five bass weighing 21-12. He slipped to seventh place Friday with a five-bass catch weighing 18 pounds, 14 ounces to advance into the final round of 10 pros with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 40 pounds, 10 ounces. On Saturday, weights were cleared, and Williams caught five bass weighing 17-3 to advance to the final day of competition in fourth place. Williams added another five bass weighing 24-3 to his final-round total Sunday.
Young caught a final-round total of 10 bass weighing 39-10 to claim second place and $50,000.
“I had a seven (pounder) at the boat that the hook broke off,” said Young, who has posted 27 FLW Outdoors top-10s on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes. “I had another seven (pounder) at the boat that came off. I had a six get off. I had two fives get off. I had six more fish on that were huge that we never saw. I should have weighed in 30 pounds today.”
Young said he caught the majority of his fish Sunday on a spoon and a chartreuse and white Norman DD-22 deep-diving crankbait.
“My first and second fish of the day came on my first two casts,” Young said. “And they were big ones. It was unbelievable.”
Rounding out the top 10 pros were Team Chevy pro Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark. (10 bass, 33-11, $40,000); Mark Rose of Marion, Ark. (10 bass, 32-11, $30,000); Travis Fox of Springdale, Ark. (10 bass, 31-1, $20,000); Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla. (10 bass, 30-9, $19,000); Team PTSI pro Ron Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark. (eight bass, 30-4, $18,000); Team Land O’Lakes pro Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn. (10 bass, 28-9, $17,000); Bobby McMullin of Pevely, Mo. (10 bass, 25-13, $16,000) and Kenneth Woods of Hazard, Ky. (eight bass, 21-2, $15,000).
Overall there were 48 bass weighing 162 pounds, 12 ounces caught in the Pro Division Sunday. The catch included nine five-bass limits.
Brandon Hunter of Benton, Ky., won the Co-angler Division and $25,000 Saturday in front of his hometown crowd with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 11 ounces followed by Frank Divis, Sr. of Fayetteville, Ark., in second place with five bass weighing 18-0 worth $10,000.
Hunter opened the tournament in eleventh place Thursday with five bass weighing 16-4 while fishing with Team Pop-Tarts pro Greg Bohannan of Rogers, Ark. On Friday he advanced to seventh place with a five-bass catch weighing 14-8 while fishing with Tom Mann Jr. of Buford, Ga. He wrapped up his win while fishing with Land O’Lakes pro Keith Williams of Conway, Ark.
“We got to do what I love to do, and that’s fish a big worm on this lake,” said Hunter, who is fishing in his second season of FLW Tour competition. “I live on the north end of the lake and I got to see water I’ve never seen before. It’s a lot different. The quality of fish is so much better down there.”
Hunter said he had a limit by 10:30 and caught a total of six keepers throughout the course of the day. Hunter’s rig consisted of a 5/16-ounce bullet weight and a plum-colored Berkley PowerWorm Texas rigged on 12-pound Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon.
“It’s tough to make a living as a co-angler, but this is just a learning experience for me,” said Hunter. “If you catch them, that’s just a bonus. It’s awesome to be able to win one of these.
“I really thought I’d have to cull another fish and catch another 3- or 4-pounder to get it done, but it turns out I didn’t,” Hunter added.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are Dirk Davenport of Delaware, Ohio (five bass, 12-12, $7,500); Scott Gibson of Wiggins, Miss. (five bass, 12-10, $5,000); Mark Horton of Nicholasville, Ky. (five bass, 11-10, $4,000); Chuck Lee of South Bend, Ind. (five bass, 10-5, $3,500); Shawn Murphy of Nicholasville, Ky. (three bass, 10-3, $3,000); Larry Carter of Little Rock, Ark. (four bass, 10-0, $2,500); Rodney Brown of Eddyville, Ky. (one bass, 3-10, $2,000) and Matt Hoffman of Cold Spring, Ky. (zero bass, 0-0, $1,500).
Overall there were 38 bass weighing 108 pounds, 13 ounces caught in the Co-angler Division Saturday. The catch included six five-bass limits.
Coverage of the Kentucky/Barkley Lakes tournament, hosted by the Marshall County Tourist Commission and the Murray Convention and Visitors Bureau, will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS, the network which brings anglers the best fishing programming on television featuring the most-trusted authorities on the water. The Emmy-nominated “FLW Outdoors,” will air Aug. 2 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide, including internationally through agreements with WFN (World Fishing Network) and Matchroom Sport to such countries as Canada, Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world.
The FLW Tour will award more than $8 million cash to the world’s top bass anglers in 2009. Regular season competition includes three qualifiers and three opens. Each event takes anglers a step closer to the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2 on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pa. The prestigious championship and outdoor show hosted by Visit Pittsburgh will feature 77 pros, 77 co-anglers and bass fishing’s largest cash award – a potential $1 million first-place prize for the winning pro.
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. FLW Outdoors also is taking fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing, offering the largest awards possible in the history of fantasy sports, $10 million in cash and prizes. Sign up for Player’s Advantage for only $10 to get your edge and win.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.