GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – Jay Kendrick of Grant, Alabama, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 31 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville presented by Mercury Marine with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 83 pounds, 7 ounces. For his victory, Kendrick earned $40,000.
“You can’t plan to bring in a 31-pound bag of fish like that,” said Kendrick, who earned the first victory of his career after seven previous top-10 finishes. “Sometimes, it just happens. I couldn’t be happier.”
Kendrick said that he tackled two different spots in order to catch his impressive tournament-winning weight. The first was a South Sauty Creek channel. Kendrick said the key to catching fish in the 14-foot depths was the strong population of gizzard shad.
“There was a nice bend in the creek where I was targeting the shad,” Kendrick said. “The fish were there for one reason – to feed on those large gizzard shad. They were as big as your hands.”
In order to imitate their look and size, Kendrick threw a custom-colored ¾-ounce swimbait made by Scottsboro Tackle Company. Kendrick described his swimbait’s color as red and gold glitter with a watermelon base on the sides and a pearl belly with an orange throat. Kendrick said that he caught the majority of his fish on this bait.
“I think the shad were tracking that swimbait. They would follow it before eating it. It seemed like the gizzard shad would get upset and hit my line, you could feel it bouncing as it went through their group.”
On day two, Kendrick stuck to his day one pattern of ledge fishing the South Sauty Creek bends to weigh another solid limit of 26-12. But by day three, local anglers, as well as Kendrick’s competition, had crowded his area. Around 8:30 a.m., he made a decision to move to North Sauty Creek.
“I turned off all of my electronics in the areas I was fishing. I didn’t want the extra noise,” Kendrick said. “The bass don’t feed well when you have that much traffic in the area, so I needed to move.”
The decision paid off as Kendrick brought his largest stringer – the third-largest limit weighed in the tournament – to the scale to seal the victory.
“I was committed to my strategy and luckily those two areas produced quality fish.”
The top 10 pros on Lake Guntersville were:
1st: Jay Kendrick, Grant, Ala., 15 bass, 83-7, $40,000
2nd: Joe Hall, Lake City, Minn., 15 bass, 77-6, $15,000
3rd: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 74-3, $12,000
4th: Walmart pro Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., 15 bass, 73-10, $10,000
5th: Cameron Gautney, Muscle Shoals, Ala., 14 bass, 70-7, $9,000
6th: Ed Oilar Monticello, Ind., 15 bass, 67-4, $8,000
7th: Rob Digh, Denver, N.C., 15 bass, 65-15, $7,000
8th: Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 14 bass, 58-6, $6,000
9th: Trevor Fitzgerald, Belleview, Fla., 12 bass, 55-15, $5,000
10th: Billy Brindle, Calhoun, Ga., 13 bass, 55-9, $4,000
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Fitzgerald caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division Friday – a giant weighing 12 pounds, 10 ounces that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $300.
Casey O’Donnell of Bradenton, Florida, won the co-angler division and a new Ranger Z117 boat with an Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor, with a three-day total of 14 bass weighing 62 pounds, 12 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers on Lake Guntersville were:
1st: Casey O'Donnell, Bradenton, Fla., 14 bass, 62-12, Ranger Z117 with an Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor
2nd: Josh Klinghagen, Spirit Lake, Iowa, 13 bass, 56-13, $5,000
3rd: Alphonso Taylor, Kennesaw, Ga., 12 bass, 44-8, $4,000
4th: Justin Sward, Birmingham, Ala., 11 bass, 42-11, $3,500
5th: James Brooks, Inverness, Fla., 12 bass, 39-6, $3,000
6th: Thomas Rubbo, Lexington, S.C., seven bass, 37-3, $2,500
7th: Michel Purvis, Canton, Ga., 12 bass, 36-7, $2,000
8th: Wayne Boyd, Rome, Ga., eight bass, 36-3, $1,750
9th: Mike McDaniel, Florence, Ala., 11 bass, 36-2, $1,500
10th: Nik Kayler, Apopka, Fla., eight bass, 35-1, $1,250
Daniel Green of Prattville, Alabama, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $200.
The Rayovac FLW Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the no-entry-fee Rayovac FLW Series Championship. The 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Championship is being held Oct. 29-31 on the Ohio River in Paducah, Kentucky.
The Rayovac FLW Series on Lake Guntersville presented by Mercury Marine was hosted by the Marshall County Convention & Visitors Bureau. It was the second Southeast Division tournament of 2015. The next Rayovac FLW Series tournament will be a Texas Division event, held April 9-11, on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas and is hosted by the Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Area Chamber of Commerce. For a complete schedule, visit FLWFishing.com.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow FLW on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.
FLW is the industry’s premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2015 over the course of 240 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport’s richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world. For more information about FLW visit FLWFishing.com and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
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