Lawrence stays ahead, Robertson hot on his heels on Kentucky - Major League Fishing

Lawrence stays ahead, Robertson hot on his heels on Kentucky

Image for Lawrence stays ahead, Robertson hot on his heels on Kentucky
Jake Lawrence stayed in the lead on Day 2 at Kentucky Lake. Angler: Jake Lawrence.
March 8, 2024 • Jody White • Toyota Series

CALVERT CITY, Ky. – Day 2 of the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats Plains Division event on Kentucky and Barkley lakes saw weights take a definite nose dive and left a lot of contenders scratching their heads. Sill in the lead, Jake Lawrence turned in 18 pounds, 3 ounces for a 42-5 total on a damp day on the Tennessee River. Moving from sixth to second, Matt Robertson sacked up 21-4, the biggest bag of the day, for a 41-0 total and some significant momentum heading into Championship Saturday.

On the Strike King co-angler side, Ryan Steinhoff added 14-2 to his opening catch and took the lead with 27-2. Todd Adamitis and Dennis Young are both over the 26-pound mark and in hot pursuit.

Lawrence struggles to follow up Day 1

Fishing new water, Jake Lawrence didn’t quite replicate his big opening day. Photo by Matt Pace

Staying north on Day 2, Lawrence nabbed three smallmouth and two largemouth, and he says he was lucky to have that.

“If it could go wrong, it did go wrong for me today,” he said. “My lithium battery went down on my electronics, other stuff — it was just one of those days. Honestly, I’m super thankful that I wound up with what I did today.”

In practice, Lawrence felt like the north end of the lake was actually fishing better than the south end, but he strategically started down south. Today, he was surprised by the lack of success.

“It’s changed up north,” he said. “I rolled up to that school this morning, when I say nobody’s home, I mean, I saw two. And they were pulling more current today than what they did yesterday. I figured they’d be ganged up even better.

“The whole day, there were a lot fewer on the stuff,” he said. “The smallmouth weren’t eating today, and I can’t find enough big largemouth.”

It’s not really when you want midway through an event, especially with a Kentucky Lake legend like Robertson in the rearview. Though he “saw” the right sort of fish on his electronics today, Lawrence is thinking about heading back down south for the final day.

“I feel like to win I really need to go back down there,” he said. “I fished all my best stuff up here today, and I saw 23-ish. They got all over me, but just didn’t eat it. There’s enough to win if you could catch them all, but my ratio is not good enough. I’ve got to get around more of them to get a bite.

“I feel like I need to go down there, even if the weather sucks,” he said. “But, with the lake as low as it is, a hard north wind against this current stirs all the shallow bars up, and it will totally change everything. I feel like I need to go down there, but I’m kinda worried that once I get there, it’ll be blown out and jacked up.”

Yesterday, Lawrence made it look easy. Now, it’s looking like this tournament bass fishin’ game might be challenging after all.

Old school and new water put Robertson in the hunt

Veteran pro Matt Robertson is fishing well on his home waters. Photo by Matt Pace

Rolling up the leaderboard, Robertson is looking like a dangerous opponent for Lawrence. An Elite Series pro and a Tennessee River expert, he said things are looking up.

“I didn’t get too many bites yesterday. I got more bites today, I feel like I’m getting more dialed in,” he said. “I’ve lost big ones every day; I’ve got to stop losing them. Today, I lost probably a 7- or 8-pound smallmouth. So, we need to keep it together. If we can go out there and not lose any, I feel good about my chances of winning this thing.”

Weighing only one largemouth so far, Robertson is all in on the smallies.

“I’m kicking it old school,” he said. “I’ve fished stuff I haven’t fished in 10 years. It’s cool going out there; it reminds me of fishing with my granddad back in the day. I’m fishing how I like to fish. I’ve caught a few largemouth mixed in with the smallmouth, and if I do get lucky and catch a big largemouth that’d be fine. It reminds me of when I was 16 to 20 years old. Back then, there was even more smallmouth than there is now.”

One of the keys to Robertson’s success on Day 2 was finding new water. Though Kentucky Lake is on the upswing for sure, he thinks that the lack of a fully loaded population bit some of his competition.

“The population just ain’t there to replenish the areas like there used to be, and they’re going back and fishing the same water,” he said. “I had two boats start where I started yesterday, and that population ain’t there yet. It’s doing way better than it was four years ago, but I had to go fish new water today to catch what I caught. I think some of the local knowledge, going old-school on some stuff, that’s really paying off.”

Though everyone in the Top 25 could win tomorrow, from a mathematical standpoint, it looks like Lawrence and Robertson are the ones to watch. Luckily for fans and observers, they’re some of the best talent Kentucky Lake can offer.

Top 10 pros

1. Jake Lawrence – 42 – 5 (10)            

2. Matt Robertson – 41 – 0 (10)          

3. Ethan Fields – 38 – 10 (10)

4. Clint Knight – 38 – 2 (10)  

5. Jordan Hartman – 37 – 8 (10)        

6. Levi Kohl – 36 – 3 (10)        

7. Brent Anderson – 34 – 14 (10)         

8. Harbor Lovin – 34 – 11 (10)                

9. Hunter Fillmore – 34 – 7 (10)         

10. Brody Campbell – 34 – 6 (10)     

Complete results

Fishing Clash AOY

Toyota Series Plains Division pros are competing for the Fishing Clash Angler of the Year award and a $5,000 payday. Fishing Clash – an interactive 3D fishing simulation game that’s been downloaded by more than 80 million people worldwide – will reward the pro AOYs in all divisions of the Toyota Series, and is the official AOY sponsor of the Bass Pro Tour, Tackle Warehouse Invitationals, Toyota Series and Phoenix Bass Fishing League. 

Download Fishing Clash for free in the App Store and on Google Play or log on to for more information.