Jake Lawrence knew where the fish were and knew where he wanted to fish.
When the Paris, Tenn., pro roared away from the Lake Barkley State Park Marina Thursday morning for the opening round of Costa FLW Series event presented by T-H Marine he headed down Lake Barkley to the canal that links Barkley and its sister impoundment, Kentucky Lake.
He turned west and sliced through the canal and then headed south, up Kentucky Lake to a patch of water near Paris Landing State Park. It’s a long run; about 80 miles one way. Lawrence wasn’t alone in his destination. Most of the field headed to Kentucky Lake to probe its ledge cover for the legions of bass that flock to it when summer’s heat arrives.
Lawrence, however, enjoyed something his fellow anglers did not. He had a short work day. By late morning he was finished.
“I quit fishing around 11,” says Lawrence, who roared into the lead with a 28-pound 15-ounce five-fish limit. “I didn’t come in. But I quit fishing seriously.”
Lawrence’s sack was anchored by an 8-8 largemouth and he says he caught four of his keepers from one spot and the fifth from another.
Whether Lawrence dialed in the motherlode or happened to hit the right place at the right time he wouldn’t say. He also declined to offer specifics about his baits. “I’d rather not get into that,” he graciously replies. “But it was a good day. Real good.”
He’s got to put some gas in the boat tonight and more at a marina tomorrow, but he says he's hoping for a repeat and is anxious to make the 160-mile round trip again.
Top 10 pros
1. Jake Lawrence – Paris, Tenn. – 28-15 (5)
2. Hensley Powell – Whitwell, Tenn. – 23-3 (5)
3. Brandon Hunter – Benton, Ky. – 22-1 (5)
4. Ramie Colson Jr. – Cadiz, Ky. – 21-0 (5)
5. Cole Floyd – Leesburg, Ohio – 20-15 (5)
6. Jeremy Lawyer – Sarcoxie, Mo. – 20-13 (5)
7. Todd Castledine – Nacogdoches, Texas – 20-12 (5)
8. Marcus Sykora – Osage Beach, Mo. – 20-10 (5)
9. Lance Williams – Billings, Mo. – 20-4 (5)
10. Stacey King – Reeds Spring, Mo. – 20-2 (5)
Fishing behind Cole Floyd on Kentucky Lake is always going to be a learning experience, but it was also fish-catching one for Jordan Hartman. From nearby Murray, Ky., and a member of the Murray State Bass Fishing Team, Hartman rustled up 18-10 to grab the lead on the co-angler side. There are a bevy of bags in the teens behind him, so he’ll likely need to keep catching to make the weekend and have a shot at a win.