In the realm of professional bass fishing we have grassmasters, ledgemasters and timbermasters. But Jay Kendrick of Grant, Ala., is now carving out his own niche in pro fishing: bridgemaster.
On a cold, dreary day one of the season-opening FLW Tour event presented by Lowrance at Lake Guntersville, Kendrick took an impressive early lead with a limit of bass weighing 25 pounds, 12 ounces. Three of his biggest bass came off one of Guntersville’s fabled bridges, which was a surprise to no one.
Kendrick won a Costa FLW Series event in March 2015 fishing the exact same way. Since then, his competitors have had plenty of time to read the coverage and watch footage of his win, but few seem to be able to unlock the bridge mysteries for big bass quite like Kendrick. But that’s the nature of being a “master” of a technique in this sport – other people can see all the pieces of the puzzle, but are not quite sure how to put those pieces together quickly enough in tournament competition.
“I know exactly what I’m looking for around those bridges,” Kendrick says. “I know when I see it on my electronics. I didn’t really even practice on bridges; I just idled them looking for the key ingredients.
“There is a technique to catching those bridge fish that once you figure it out, you can literally go in amongst other boats and make it work,” he adds. “The problem is those other boats get in the way of making the exact presentation needed to trigger a bite.”
Ironically, the only ingredient missing from Kendrick’s equation today was the weather, but he made it work any way.
“That bridge deal is almost always best with sunshine,” Kendrick says. “We had overcast and rain today – less than ideal conditions for sure.”
If you’re hoping to catch Kendrick on his best bridge tomorrow, don’t count on him being there.
“The one I caught them on today is done – for me at least,” he says. “I probably won’t go back to it during the tournament. There are other bridges where the pattern should work.”
“But, then again, I might not even fish bridges at all tomorrow,” he adds. “There are several other patterns working here that have nothing to do with bridges. In fact, I finished my limit and my co-angler caught two big ones doing something else completely different. So I might do more of that tomorrow to see if I can make the cut and maybe save some bridge stuff for later.”
Top 10 pros
1. Jay Kendrick – Grant, Ala. – 25-12 (5)
2. Mark Rose – West Memphis, Ark. – 22-4 (5)
3. Stephen Patek – Dallas, Texas – 21-4 (5)
4. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 20-13 (5)
5. Todd Hollowell – Fishers, Ind. – 20-12 (5)
6. Larry Nixon – Bee Branch, Ark. – 20-9 (5)
7. Jordan Osborne – Longview, Texas – 19-10 (3)
8. Clark Reehm – Huntington, Texas – 18-12 (5)
9. Cody Meyer – Auburn, Calif. – 18-10 (5)
10. David Dudley – Lynchburg, Va. – 18-9 (5)
10. Andy Morgan – Dayton, Tenn. – 18-9 (5)
Tennessean Huff Leads Co-anglers
Rod Huff of Monterey, Tenn., landed four bass that weighed 16 pounds, 9 ounces on day one of the FLW Tour event at Lake Guntersville to take the lead in the co-angler division. Huff, who has seven career top-10 finishes with FLW, fished with two-time Tour Angler of the Year Andy Morgan on Thursday. Nine other competitors are within 4 pounds of his lead heading into Friday's round, which is the final day of competition for co-anglers.
Top 10 Co-angler
1. Rod Huff – Monterey, Tenn. – 16-9 (4)
2. Jeff Ragsdale – Gardendale, Ala. – 14-15 (4)
3. Keith Honeycutt – Temple, Texas – 14-15 (5)
4. Benjie Seaborn – Guin, Ala. – 14-14 (5)
5. Timothy Curran – Huntsville, Ala. – 14-12 (5)
6. Cody Hammontree – Flat Rock, Ala. – 14-10 (5)
7. David Wootton – Collierville, Tenn. – 14-4 (5)
8. Dan Hamdorf – Lowden, Iowa – 13-14 (4)
9. Logan Thomas – Calvert City, Ky. – 13-9 (3)
10. JP Sims – Cookeville, Tenn. – 12-5 (5)