(Feb 2, 2017 - Gunte)
Hometown favorite Jay Kendrick of Grant, Alabama, drew cheers from an appreciative crowd Thursday when he crossed the weigh-in stage at Guntersville City Harbor with a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds, 12 ounces to lead day one of the FLW Tour at Lake Guntersville presented by Lowrance. Kendrick now brings a 3-pound, 8-ounce lead into day two of the four-day season-opening event that features 165 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000.
“It’s just the first day, and this is a marathon, but at least I’m out of the starting blocks,” said Kendrick, who won a Costa FLW Series tournament on Lake Guntersville in 2015. “I have a lot of experience on this lake. I know what I’m looking for and I know when I see it. There is a technique to fishing those bridges and once you figure it out you can go in amongst those other boats and catch those fish.
“The problem is that the other boats can get in your way in how you need to present your bait,” Kendrick continued. “I’m looking for a certain thing and then once I find it I’m presenting the bait a certain way and it’s triggering those fish to bite. I’ll be happy to talk more about it after the tournament is over.”
Kendrick said that he caught three fish off of a bridge, then filled his limit in another area. He said that he caught seven keepers throughout the day on two different baits.
“I wasn’t trying to manage any fish on the bridge, I just caught everything that I could catch there and burned it up, so I won’t go back,” Kendrick said.
“There is more than one pattern going on right now,” Kendrick said. “I may not even fish bridges tomorrow. I’ve got some other stuff that I wanted to fish today and I just ran out of time. I only got to fish two places. When you’ve got 600 waypoints on your unit and you’re trying to figure out which one to go fish, that’s hard.”
The top 10 pros after day one on Lake Guntersville are:
1st: Jay Kendrick, Grant, Ala., five bass, 25-12
2nd: General Tire pro Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., five bass, 22-4
3rd: Stephen Patek, Dallas, Texas, five bass, 21-4
4th: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 20-13
5th: Todd Hollowell, Fishers, Ind., five bass, 20-12
6th: Yamamoto Baits pro Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., five bass, 20-9
7th: Jordan Osborne, Longview, Texas, three bass, 19-10
8th: Clark Reehm, Huntington, Texas, five bass, 18-12
9th: Cody Meyer, Auburn, California, five bass, 18-10
10th: David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 18-9
10th: Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 18-9
Nixon earned the day's $500 Big Bass award in the pro division thanks to an 8-pound, 6-ounce largemouth.
Overall there were 545 bass weighing 1,671 pounds, 3 ounces caught by 155 pros Thursday. The catch included 66 five-bass limits.
Rod Huff of Monterey, Tennessee, leads the co-angler division with four bass weighing 16 pounds, 9 ounces, followed by Keith Honeycutt of Temple, Texas, and Jeff Ragsdale of Gardendale, Alabama, who are tied for second place with 14 pounds, 15 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers after day one on Lake Guntersville are:
1st: Rod Huff, Monterey, Tenn., four bass, 16-9
2nd: Keith Honeycutt, Temple, Texas, five bass, 14-15
2nd: Jeff Ragsdale, Gardendale, Ala., four bass, 14-15
4th: Benjie Seaborn, Guin, Ala., five bass, 14-14
5th: Timothy Curran, Huntsville, Ala., five bass, 14-12
6th: Cody Hammontree, Flat Rock, Ala., five bass, 14-10
7th: David Wootton, Collierville, Tenn., five bass, 14-4
8th: Dan Hamdorf, Lowden, Iowa, four bass, 13-14
9th: Logan Thomas, Calvert City, Ky., three bass, 13-9
10th: J.P. Sims, Cookeville, Tenn., five bass, 12-5
Jeffrey Clark of Hoover, Alabama, earned $250 for the Big Bass award in the co-angler division with a 7-pound, 4-ounce largemouth.
Overall there were 216 bass weighing 622 pounds, 10 ounces caught by 114 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included six five-bass limits.
In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field of 330 anglers competes Thursday and Friday. Co-angler competition concludes following Friday’s weigh-in, while the top 20 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advance to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing. The 2017 Forrest Wood Cup will be on Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina, Aug. 11-13.
The total purse for the FLW Tour at Lake Guntersville presented by Lowrance is more than $800,000, including $10,000 through 50th place in the Pro division.
Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. CST each day from the Guntersville City Harbor located at 201 Blount Ave., in Guntersville. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at the Guntersville City Harbor beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins will also be held at the Guntersville City Harbor but will begin at 4 p.m.
Prior to the weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday, FLW will host a free Family Fishing Expo at Guntersville City Harbor from noon to 4 p.m. each day. The Expo is a chance for fishing fans to meet their favorite anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.
Also for youth, the FLW Foundation’s Unified Fishing Derby will be held at Guntersville City Harbor on Saturday, Feb. 4 from 9-11 a.m. The event is hosted by FLW Foundation pro Cody Kelley along with other FLW Tour anglers, and is free and open to area youth 15 years of age and younger and Special Olympics athletes. Rods and reels are available for use, but youth are encouraged to bring their own if they own one.
The tournament is hosted by the Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.