The Walmart FLW Tour Major on Kentucky Lake presented by OFF! began on Thursday as a field of the best bass-fishing professionals from all across the United States, Canada, Spain and Japan launched underneath the beautiful, sunny skies of Kentucky. Anglers employed a variety of techniques and strategies as they began the competition for a top cash award of up to $125,000.
As has become the norm for the FLW Tour, the top of the leaderboard is extremely tight, as only 1 pound, 7 ounces separates first place from 10th. Two pounds, 11 ounces separates first place from 20th place, so this tournament is still very much up for grabs. At the end of the day, pro Todd Hollowell of Fishers, Ind., holds the day one tournament lead with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 5 ounces. Hollowell holds a slim 2-ounce lead over OFF! pro Terry Bolton of Paducah, Ky., and Fatheadz pro Jacob Wheeler of Indianapolis, Ind., who both caught five bass weighing 19-3.
“I wasn’t really sure what to expect coming into this tournament,” said Hollowell, who has a previous win on Kentucky Lake in a 2005 BFL event. “My practice time was not the most productive that I have ever had. I’ve been down with either a spider bite or a tick bite, and five days ago I couldn’t feel my hands. I’ve gotten past it though, and I’ve got a lot of experience on this lake. I actually attended college at Murray State, and my father lives here, so I spend a lot of time here and know a lot of places. My goal coming into this tournament was to make the top 20, so actually being in the lead after day one is great.
“I wasn’t sure where I could catch the best weight, so my plan was just to let the day unfold and see what happened,” Hollowell continued. “I fished shallow and deep, and I ran through a lot of areas. I ran clear to the south end of the lake and back, and I caught them steadily all day long. It’s about a 70-mile run, and I ended up burning 2½ tanks of gas today. I stayed on the Kentucky Lake side for the entire day, as that’s where I’m most comfortable, and I went through around 20 keepers today.”
Hollowell was not at all shy about talking about his techniques and strategy for tomorrow.
“I caught most of my fish on a 12-inch River Rat Tackle worm,” he said. “I also caught a lot of fish on a Red DiRT Baits spinnerbait, throwing it in the grass. Most of my weight today came from just throwing those. My biggest fish that I caught came deep today, but I’m confident that I could catch a solid bag in the grass. I’m just going to swing for the fence, and I feel real good about my chances at fishing on Saturday and Sunday.
“The gameplan for tomorrow is going to be pretty much the same as it was today,” Hollowell went on to say. “I’m just going to let the day dictate what I’m going to do. I’ll probably start out fishing deep and see what happens. If I need to make the long run south to fish shallow and catch more weight, I’ll do that. I spent probably an hour or two today just looking for fish for tomorrow. I’m going to be running all over the place. The plan is to just pull up to a spot and fish for five to 10 minutes, and they’re either there or they’re not. It can happen, and I like my chances.”
Rounding out the top 10 pros after day one on Kentucky Lake are:
2nd: OFF! pro Terry Bolton, Paducah, Ky., five bass, 19-3
2nd: Fatheadz pro Jacob Wheeler, Indianapolis, Ind., five bass, 19-3
4th: John Cox, Debary, Fla., five bass, 18-15
5th: M&M’s pro Jim Moynagh, Carver, Minn., five bass, 18-11
6th: Straight Talk pro J.T. Kenney, Palm Bay, Fla., five bass, 18-10
7th: Chevy pro Jay Yelas, Corvallis, Ore., five bass, 18-7
8th: Tim Griggs, Paducah, Ky., five bass, 18-4
9th: Kevin Hawk, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 17-14
9th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 17-14
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Jason Cordiale caught Thursday’s big bass weighing 6 pounds, 1 ounce on the pro side to win $500.
Overall there were 650 bass weighing 1,790 pounds even caught by pros Thursday. The catch included 121 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six Walmart FLW Tour Major tournaments will qualify.
Casey Martin of New Market, Ala., leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 22-12 followed by Mark Myers of Cedar Falls, Iowa, in second place with five bass weighing 18-15.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are:
3rd: Kurt Chelminiak, Delafield, Wis., five bass, 18-0
4th: Jeff Sprague, Forney, Texas, five bass, 17-4
5th: Bob Ebel, Concord, Calif., five bass, 17-3
6th: Matt Krekovich, Granite City, Ill., five bass, 17-2
6th: Brad Roberts, Faubush, Ky., five bass, 17-2
8th: Rob Hicks, Lula, Ga., five bass, 16-7
8th: Chad McClendon, North Richland Hills, Texas, five bass, 16-7
10th: Patrick Bone, Cleveland, Ga., five bass, 16-2
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Krekovich caught Thursday’s big bass weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces in the co-angler division to win $250.
Overall there were 516 bass weighing 1,273 pounds, 12 ounces caught by co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 77 five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week plus valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The top 35 co-anglers in the point standings from the six Walmart FLW Tour Major tournaments will qualify.
Anglers will take off from Kentucky Dam Marina located at 466 Marina Drive in Gilbertsville at 6:30 a.m. each morning. Friday’s weigh-in will also be held at Kentucky Dam Marina beginning at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the CFSB Center at Murray State University in Murray beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at the CFSB Center on Saturday and Sunday from noon-4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. On Sunday the first 300 children 14 and under who are accompanied by an adult will receive a free rod and reel combo courtesy of WKYQ 93.3. Also on Sunday one lucky fishing fan will win a Can-Am ATV courtesy of The Paducah Sun. The ATV giveaway is free to enter but the winner must be present at the conclusion of Sunday’s final weigh-in to win.
Coverage of the Kentucky Lake tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs Aug. 19 from 1 – 2 p.m. ET. “FLW” is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.