Same church, different pew.
This time last year, Randy Haynes was poised to win the Rayovac FLW Series tournament on Kentucky Lake, which took place out of Kenlake State Park. This year, the event is headquartered at Moors Resort & Marina farther up the lake, but otherwise everything else is pretty much the same.
Haynes, a certifiable master of ledge fishing, jumped from fifth place to first in this year’s tournament with a 25-pound, 15-ounce sack Friday. It gave him 47 pounds, 15 ounces overall. In claiming the lead, Haynes replaced Texan Tom Redington, the opening-round leader with 24-13. Redington had 21-9 Friday, and is 1 pound, 9 ounces behind Haynes.
“It was one of those days when everything seemed to work out,” Haynes says of his second round. “I ran from the dam down to Danville [between Paris Landing and New Johnsonville, Tenn.] checking spots. It’s all about timing. I must have fished 40 or 50 spots and there’s no telling how many others I looked at.”
Of course, it takes Haynes about 20 seconds to fish a spot. If he doesn’t catch enough fish to suit him, he moves on. And when he stops to look at a potential target, it’s to check the disposition of the fish with his electronics, and to determine whether they seem to be bunched up near the bottom and ready for action. If he doesn’t like what he sees, he leaves without wetting a line.
Haynes, of Counce, Tenn., isn’t the only one ledge hopping, and close behind him are pros known for their prowess at firing up offshore schooling bass. Among them are Brandon Hunter (3rd) of Benton, Ky., and David Fields (5th) of Murray, Ky. – both Kentucky Lake regulars – as well as Walmart pro Mark Rose (4th). Jason Lambert (10th) and Rose finished second and third, respectively, to Haynes in 2014. In fact, there’s nary a flipper or shallow-water specialist in the top 10, which is indicative of how this event has evolved into a deep-water duel.
Still, Haynes might be in a class by himself. Though he might falter Saturday in the championship round, if anything he seems to be gaining momentum and on his way to his fourth Rayovac win in as many seasons.
“I think I’ve got something figured out about how to make them bite,” says Haynes. “I’m using Profound Outdoors Z-Boss 20 and 25 crankbaits and mixing in a swimbait and a jig every once in a while. I’m fishing water anywhere from 8 feet on down to about 25 feet. I’ve been trying to find the best section of the lake where the fish respond the best to what I’m doing. What I need to do is keep getting one or two of those better kicker fish. I culled a couple of 4-pounders today [Friday] and didn’t lose any big fish, so I’m feeling pretty good about Saturday.”
That’s as close to revealing his ledge-fishing strategy as Haynes is likely to come. Next weekend, he’ll be fishing the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufuala. It, too, figures to be a ledge-fishing duel.
Olson Takes Co-Angler Lead
Roger Olson Jr. of Eagle River, Wis., moved into the lead with 30 pounds, 1 ounce on the strength of the 17-pound, 8-ounce limit he weighed Friday. Olson was paired with Don Beckley of Paducah, Ky.
“We started out fishing the bank, then gradually worked out deeper,” recalls Olson. “We found a school of fish and they were active. We caught them on a variety of crankbaits and swimbaits.”
The heaviest co-angler bag of the day weighed 20 pounds, 13 ounces and was caught by Kelly Readhimer of Henderson, Tenn.
Top 10 Pros
1. Randy Haynes – Counce, Tenn. – 47-15 (10)
2. Tom Redington – Royse City, Texas – 46-6 (10)
3. Brandon Hunter – Benton, Ky. – 45-9 (10)
4. Walmart pro Mark Rose – West Memphis, Ark. – 44-11 (10)
5. David Fields – Murray, Ky. – 44-4 (10)
6. Wesley Anderson – Moscow, Tenn. – 40-6 (10)
7. Clent Davis – Montevallo, Ala. – 40-1 (10)
8. Curt McGuire – Paris, Tenn. – 39-13 (10)
9. Seth Davis – Decatur, Tenn. – 39-3 (10)
10. Jason Lambert – Pickwick Dam, Tenn. – 38-0 (10)
Complete results can be found here.
Bridgford Big Bass
Pro: Charlie Evans – 6-0
Co-angler: Tanner Hale – 6-5
Saturday, the top 10 pros will be paired with the top 10 co-anglers in the championship round. Saturday’s weigh-in will commence at 3 p.m. CT in the Walmart parking lot at Benton, Ky.