Last year when the EverStart Series Central Division visited Kentucky/Barkley lakes the lakes were at flood level. This year’s visit couldn’t be more different for the 300 pros and co-anglers that take to the water May 10-12 for the second of four stops in the Central Division.
According to Kettle Brand Chips pro Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., drought conditions prevail over the lakes and currently they are 2½ feet below summer pool.
“Everything is going to be different this year,” said Morehead, who won the 2011 EverStart Series Championship on Kentucky/Barkley lakes. “There is not much cover. Normally this time of year you will find shallow bushes and yellow flowers; this year there is nothing.
“The bass are in all stages of spawn; some have spawned, some are staging and some are still in limbo,” Morehead continued. “The spawn is mostly related to the fluctuation of water. Because it has been so dry, the lake is up one day and down the next, up one, down the next. The bass are pretty confused right now. Usually the lake is at full pool by the first of May, but there is no water to be released, so the lake is about 2½ feet low right now.
“Last year I won using the Alabama rig. It will still produce, but other things will work as well — soft plastics on ledges and other structures, jigs and Carolina rigs.
“It should be a good tournament. You’ll see some big bags brought in, but it is going to take consistency to win. It is going to take about 17 pounds per day, but it is going to be hard bringing in 17 pounds for three consecutive days.”
Anglers will take off from Moors Resort & Marina located at 570 Moors Road in Gilbertsville, Ky., at 6 a.m. daily. Weigh-in on Thursday and Friday will be held at the marina beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will move to Walmart located at 310 W. Main St., in Benton, Ky., beginning at 3 p.m. Takeoff and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Pros will fish for a top award of $35,000 plus a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger 177TR with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.
The EverStart Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title along with $5,000 for the pro and $2,000 for the co-angler. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each respective division will qualify for the EverStart Series Championship that will be held on the Ouachita River in Monroe, La., Nov. 1-4.
The EverStart Series tournament on Kentucky/Barkley lakes is being hosted by the Marshall County Tourist Commission.