Pro Randy Haynes of Counce, Tenn., displayed why he is known as one of the best deep-water ledge fisherman in the country as he targeted the Lake Eufaula ledges to win convincingly Sunday at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Eufaula presented by Straight Talk Wireless. Haynes’ five bass weighing 16 pounds, 1 ounce gave him a four-day weight of 73 pounds, 1 ounce – 11 pounds heavier than second place – as well as the championship trophy and the $125,000 purse.
“There are an awful lot of good fisherman out here,” said Haynes, who was fishing only his third event as a pro at the sport’s highest level, the Walmart FLW Tour. “Everything has to go just right for you in order to win a tournament of this size. I’ve really been blessed this entire week.”
Haynes said that he had five or six different areas that he fished throughout the week, but that he really only concentrated on three today.
“Today, I was just trying to catch a limit and get by,” Haynes said. “I had three main spots where I was fishing, and I was rotating through them, giving them a few hours of rest before I would go back. I figured out that they were setting up in different ways. In the early morning, they would suspend in front of the bars. I’d fish a swimbait, and they really started eating.”
Haynes said that most of his fish this week came from throwing a mixture of swimbaits and cranking Strike King 5XD and 6XD crankbaits. His go-to rod-and-reel combination for the week was a Kistler Mark Rose Signature Series Z-Bone crankbait rod paired with a Lew’s BB1 reel.
“That rod and reel is just an unbelievable combination,” Haynes said. “I was using 14- to 20-pound-test line when I was fishing the swimbait, and 14-pound-test line when I was cranking.
“I’m real lucky that I have been able to stay on the road with Mark Rose and Greg Bohannan,” Haynes continued. “It’s nice to be with two great guys like that, and I’ve learned a lot. They are definitely one of the reasons that I am up here.
“This is pretty awesome,” said Haynes of his win. “I’m so happy for my family and friends. There are so many people back home that I compete for, and against. This is just special for me to do this for them.”
Chevy pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., finished in second place with a four-day total of 19 bass weighing 62 pounds, 1 ounce. He earned $35,000 for his efforts.
The top 10 pros finished the tournament in:
1st: Randy Haynes, Counce, Tenn., 20 bass, 73-1, $125,000
2nd: Chevy pro Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 19 bass, 62-1, $35,000
3rd: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., 18 bass, 61-0, $30,000
4th: Castrol pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 20 bass, 60-12, $25,000
5th: Stetson Blaylock, Benton, Ark., 20 bass, 59-9, $20,000
6th: Kelley Jaye, Dadeville, Ala., 20 bass, 59-6, $17,000
7th: Straight Talk pro J.T. Kenney, Palm Bay, Fla., 17 bass, 52-15, $16,000
8th: John Devere, Berea, Ky., 15 bass, 51-7, $15,000
9th: David Fritts, Lexington, N.C., 18 bass, 51-2, $14,000
10th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 16 bass, 47-12, $13,500
Overall there were 38 bass weighing 109 pounds, 15 ounces caught by pros Sunday. The catch included six five-bass limits.
Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., won the co-angler division and $20,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 11 bass weighing 27 pounds, 7 ounces, followed by Jason Johnson of Gainesville, Ga., in second place with 10 bass weighing 24 pounds, 13 ounces worth $7,500.
Pros competed for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2013 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. The 2013 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Shreveport, La., Aug. 15-18 on the Red River.
The Tour stop on Lake Eufaula presented by Straight Talk Wireless was hosted by the Eufaula Barbour Chamber of Commerce and was the fourth of six events on the Walmart FLW Tour’s 2013 season. The next Walmart FLW Tour event will be held at Grand Lake June 6-9 in Grove, Okla., and is presented by Castrol. The event will be hosted by the Grand Lake Association and boats will launch from Wolf Creek Park in Grove. For a complete schedule, visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Coverage of the Lake Eufaula tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs June 23 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
Image courtesy FLW Outdoors