(Apr 8, 2017 - SOMERSET, Ky.)
Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, padded his lead Saturday at the FLW Tour at Lake Cumberland presented by T-H Marine after bringing a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 10 ounces to the weigh-in stage. Wendlandt’s three-day cumulative total of 15 bass weighing 50 pounds even is enough for him to hold the No. 1 seed heading into championship Sunday when the final 10 pros will cast for a top cash award of up to $125,000.
“It was a struggle out there today, I only caught six keepers,” said Wendlandt, a 17-time Forrest Wood Cup qualifier who has amassed more than $2 million in earnings in FLW competition. “I’m targeting smallmouth and had a good day in terms of the amount I caught, but there were a lot of short fish in the 17-inch range. Catching those big ones over 18 inches is hard right now.
“I think I have the best chance to win targeting smallmouth,” continued Wendlandt. “The fish I’m on are mostly prespawn. A few may be spawning, and sight-fishing may play a role tomorrow but it hasn’t for me yet. I think I saw one on a bed today, but it left. If I see one tomorrow, I’ll go after it.”
Wendlandt’s limit Saturday was made up of multiple species – four smallmouth and one largemouth bass.
“I have two main patterns and I’m rotating between two different baits,” said Wendlandt. “I’m mostly in creeks, but I’ve got a few main-river places I’m hitting as well. I probably moved 15 to 20 times today.”
Wendlandt said he plans on spending his final day on the water fishing like he has the entire event – loose.
“When you plan your day out too much it stifles any creativity and intuition you may have out there,” said Wendlandt. “This lake is big, and I don’t know where I’m pulling up to. I’m just going to fish and when I think it’s time to move, I’ll move. I think there’s something to be said of anglers who have the ability to adjust no matter what their original plan was.”
The top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition on Lake Cumberland are:
1st: Clark Wendlandt, Leander, Texas, 15 bass, 50-0
2nd: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 15 bass, 46-5
3rd: Barry Wilson, Birmingham, Ala., 15 bass, 45-4
4th: Terry Bolton, Paducah, Ky., 15 bass, 44-15
5th: Casey Scanlon, Lenexa, Kan., 15 bass, 44-11
6th: Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., 15 bass, 43-7
7th: Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., 15 bass, 43-6
8th: Chris McCall, Palmer, Texas, 15 bass, 43-4
9th: Matt Reed, Madisonville, Texas, 15 bass, 42-14
10th: Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 15 bass, 42-6
Finishing in 11th through 20th are:
11th: James Watson, Lampe, Mo., 14 bass, 41-8, $12,000
12th: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 41-5, $12,000
13th: Cody Bird, Granbury, Texas, 12 bass, 39-8, $12,000
14th: Yamamoto Baits pro Shinichi Fukae, Palestine, Texas, 14 bass, 38-10, $12,000
15th: Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 15 bass, 38-10, $12,000
16th: Bill Day, Frankfort, Ky., 14 bass, 38-6, $12,000
17th: Shane LeHew, Catawba, N.C., 15 bass, 37-12, $12,000
18th: Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie Mo., 12 bass, 37-5, $12,000
19th: Yamamoto Baits pro Gary Yamamoto, Palestine, Texas, 15 bass, 36-14, $12,000
20th: Matthew Stefan, Junction City, Wis., 12 bass, 33-7, $12,000
Overall there were 89 bass weighing 219 pounds, 11 ounces, caught by the 20 pros Saturday. The catch included 14 five-bass limits.
Pro Johnny McCombs had his day-two weight disqualified after he was found to be in violation of FLW rule No. 14 which states that contestants may fish anywhere on tournament waters available to the public and accessible by boat except areas posted or otherwise designated as “off-limits,” “no boats,” “keep out,” “restricted,” “no trespassing” or “no fishing” (or similar language or markings intended to restrict public access) by FLW. McCombs’ total of five bass weighing 9 pounds, 15 ounces, was good for 144th place.
Jeff Clark of Fort Smith, Arkansas, won the Co-angler Division and $20,100 Friday with a two-day total of eight bass weighing 20 pounds, 1 ounce, followed by Frank Divis Sr. of Farmington, Arkansas, who finished in second place with six bass weighing 19 pounds, 8 ounces, worth $7,550.
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 competes in the two-day opening round. 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 final 10 anglers will take off at 7 a.m. EDT Sunday from General Burnside Island State Park, located at 8801 S. Highway 27, in Burnside, Kentucky. Sunday’s championship weigh-in will be held at General Burnside Island State Park beginning at 4 p.m.
Prior to the weigh-in Sunday, fans are encouraged to experience the free Family Fishing Expo at General Burnside Island State Park from noon to 4 p.m. The Expo is a unique opportunity 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.
Television coverage of the FLW Tour at Lake Cumberland presented by T-H Marine will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) May 24 from 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. EDT. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
The total purse for the FLW Tour at Lake Cumberland presented by T-H Marine is more than $800,000, including $10,000 through 50th place in the Pro Division. The event is hosted by the Somerset Tourist and Convention Commission.
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.