Every final day has 10 top anglers. Not every final day has 10 of the top anglers like we’ll see tomorrow in the finale of the Walmart FLW Tour on Kentucky Lake presented by Mercury and hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau.
One could make a case – as we’re about to do – that what we’ll witness tomorrow may be the most stacked top 10 we’ve seen in a long time. By “stacked,” we mean it in the sense of Tennessee River ledge masters, and yes, nearly every one of these pros fishing on Sunday could be considered a ledge master based on their stats. Don’t believe us? How about this fact: Of the 10 anglers, eight have averaged beating more than 70 percent of the field since 2000 in ledge-fishing tournaments (that’s across both the FLW Tour, Elite Series, Costa Series and BASS Open events on Kentucky/Barkley, Pickwick and Wheeler lakes).
You probably expected guys like Jason Lambert (beats 84 percent of the field on average), Mark Rose (80 percent), Andy Morgan (79 percent), Brandon Hunter (78 percent) and Terry Bolton (77 percent) to all have great averages. But did you realize Bryan Thrift actually has a slightly better average on these ledge lakes than Bolton (77.13 to 77.11 percent)? Or that Canterbury averages beating 76 percent of the field? Wheeler has a 72-percent average, and that doesn’t include his ledge win on Lake Chickamauga.
The only two outliers with below-70-percent averages in our top 10 are Brad Knight and Jayme Rampey. Knight is hardly an outlier, as he calls Chickamauga his home lake. That leaves Rampey, and he really is an outlier. His average finish on the Tennessee River ledge lakes is 104th, but that’s without counting his second-place finish in the 2014 BFL All-American on Wilson Lake.
Averages are nice, but let’s look at finishes. In the last five years there have been 13 FLW Tour and Costa FLW Series events on those three lakes. These 10 anglers have amassed 36 top 20s in those events. So basically, three of them have made the top 20 at every event on average. Here’s how they break down:
Lambert – six FLW Series, two Tour
Hunter – four FLW Series, (he also has two more near top 20 finishes in the FLW Series and a 21st on the Tour)
Thrift – one FLW Series, two Tour
Bolton – one Tour
Rose – five FLW Series, five Tour (with two wins on Tour)
Morgan – three Tour (and two more near top 20s)
Rampey – Zero
Wheeler – One Tour
Canterbury – two FLW Series, three Tour
Knight – One FLW Series
And those finishes don’t include the BFL events; there are plenty more top 20s, there, too.
Now do you believe us when we say this top 10 is stacked?