Two-horse race - Major League Fishing

Two-horse race

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Using a combination of jigs, crankbaits and Carolina rigs, pro Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., netted a monstrous catch of 23 pounds, 1 ounce to grab the overall lead heading into Saturday's all-important final day of competition on Kentucky Lake. Photo by Jeff Schroeder. Angler: Steve Kennedy.
May 16, 2003 • Gary Mortenson • Archives

Kennedy and Hite distance themselves from rest of pro field heading into FLW finals on Kentucky Lake

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – In the professional bass-fishing lexicon, the term “honey hole” is reserved for that one special location that can single-handedly win a tournament. However, while most anglers embark on a never-ending search for such a magical place, few ever stumble across them when it really counts – especially not with $100,000 on the line. But today, despite the long odds, Steve Kennedy discovered that dream location.

“It really blew my mind,” said Kennedy, of his secret area on Kentucky Lake that produced quality fish for more than six straight hours. “I’ve been catching all these fish off one spot. I have no earthly idea where they’re coming from. It’s like they’re coming off the bushes and off the main river and stacking up on one key spot. It seems like every time I reel one in it’s a 5-pounder. We wound up staying there all day.”

Using a combination of jigs, crankbaits and Carolina rigs, Kennedy netted a monstrous catch of 23 pounds, 1 ounce to grab the overall lead heading into Saturday’s all-important final day of competition on Kentucky Lake. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. With two FLW seasons under his belt, Kennedy had never finished higher than 16th place (at Lake Okeechobee in 2003) in his career on the FLW Tour. Clearly, that is about to change.

“It’s just an incredible feeling,” he said. “I don’t know what else to tell you.”

How about the nerves?

“I’m having a blast, but I’ll tell you that I’m a nervous wreck right now,” said Kennedy, a resident of Auburn, Ala. “I’ve never even made the cut before, so it feels great. But I don’t know if I’m going to get much sleep tonight.”

Hite is chief obstacle to Kennedy’s quest for title

(Photo by Jeff Schroeder)” BORDER=”1″ ALIGN=”left”>Although Kennedy put on a fishing clinic in today’s competition, veteran tour angler and 1998 FLW Champion Davy Hite should have plenty of say in tomorrow’s final outcome. Using a catch of 19 pounds, 3 ounces, Hite out-fished the entire pro field – with the obvious exception of Kennedy – by more than 5 pounds and remained in strong position to make a run at the Kentucky Lake title.

“It was an awesome day on the water for me,” said Hite. “This is just an incredible fishery.”

However, unlike Kennedy, Hite made sure to treat his top locations with kid gloves in an effort to save as many fish as he could for the finals.

“Fortunately, I have about four places that are really producing right now,” said Hite, a resident of Prosperity, S.C. “Steve’s got a pretty good lead. But I also feel pretty good about my chances tomorrow because I didn’t really hammer my fish too hard. There were definitely a lot of fish there when I left.”

Hite targeted small creek channels in about 8 to 12 feet of water using a combination of jigs, crankbaits and Carolina rigs. However, no matter how the tournament finishes up, Hite said that he won’t be too disappointed.

“There are a lot of good guys in the finals and there is still one more day of fishing left,” he said. “It’s been a tremendous tournament. And no matter what happens, I can’t finish any worse than 10th place.”

Monsoor is guaranteed highest-ever FLW finish

Once Tom Monsoor of La Crosse, Wis., made the first top-10 cut of his FLW career, he said that he was finally able to relax. And it showed. Using a catch of 13 pounds, 15 ounces, the former EverStart Northern Division powerhouse found himself in third place heading into the finals. And he couldn’t have been happier.

“We’ve been having a lot of fun out there,” said Monsoor, who qualified for the semifinals in second place. “I caught about 20 keepers today and I still have a bunch of spots I haven’t even been to yet. I wasn’t able to get that big bite today, but I going to try some different techniques tomorrow.”

The rest of the field plays catch up

(Photo by Jeff Schroeder)” BORDER=”1″ ALIGN=”RIGHT”>Fourth place belonged to Terry Segraves of Kissimmee, Fla., with a catch of 12 pounds, 4 ounces, while Todd Ary of Birmingham, Ala., finished the day in fifth place with a catch of 11 pounds, 12 ounces.

Rounding out the top-10 pro finalists were Jeffrey Thomas (sixth) of Broadway, N.C., with a catch of 11 pounds, 7 ounces; Terry Baksay (seventh) of Monroe, Conn., with a catch of 11 pounds, 1 ounce; Gary Yamamoto (eighth) of Mineola, Texas, with a catch of 10 pounds, 7 ounces; Mike Surman (ninth) of Boca Raton, Fla., with a catch of 9 pounds, 15 ounces; and Kevin VanDam (10th) of Kalamazoo, Mich., with a catch of 8 pounds, 15 ounces.

“I just wasn’t getting a lot of bites today,” said VanDam, of his uncharacteristic struggle on the lake today. “But even if I had had a good day, some of the guys are really catching them so strong right now that it’d be tough to catch up.”

Saturday’s takeoff is scheduled to take place at 6:30 a.m. at Kentucky Dam Marina, located at 466 Marina Drive in Gilbertsville, Ky.

Click here for a preview of day four.

Related links:

Results of day-three pairings
Quick Bites: FLW Kentucky Lake, Day 3
Press release