After winning the Forrest Wood Cup last season, pro angler Brad Knight has been in a bit of a slump. In the four regular-season events held since, Knight has had an average finish of 79th place and cashed just one paycheck. This week at the Walmart FLW Tour at Kentucky Lake presented by Mercury Marine, Knight looks to be breaking out of that slump.
Knight, of Lancing, Tennessee, caught five largemouth that weighed 23 pounds, 6 ounces to take the lead on Day One, ahead of Yamamoto Baits pro Shinichi Fukae of Palestine, Texas, (23-3) in second place and third-place angler Randy Haynes of Counce, Tennessee, (22-15) in the four-day event that features 162 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000.
“I was covering a lot of water today; not fishing a bunch of big schools, but catching a few here and there,” said Knight, who has two previous top-10 finishes on Kentucky Lake in FLW competition. “I had around 20 stops that I fished and I caught 25 to 30 keepers, cranking with a Strike King plug, working as hard as I can.
“I caught the big one in the last two hours of the day,” Knight said. “I hate to call it luck, so I’ll call it good fortune from working hard.”
Knight was in the first flight of boats to check in Thursday, and was hopeful that his long day of fishing when the flights flip on Friday would be similar.
“The places that have 40 to 50 bass on them will have five boats already on them, and that’s what I’m trying to avoid,” Knight said. “I hope I can go out there tomorrow and catch a quick limit and relax. I don’t really know when the bites are going to come, you just have to hope at the end of the day you’ll have five good ones.”
With upper-90-degree temperatures being forecast over the next few days, Knight is looking forward to the heat.
“When I’ve got sweat running down my back, dripping off of my elbows and my arms are hurting because I’m winding a plug as hard as I can go, I’m happy,” Knight said. ”This is the Tennessee River and I grew up fishing here. I’m pretty comfortable here.”
The top 10 pros after Day One on Kentucky Lake are:
1st: Brad Knight, Lancing, Tenn., five bass, 23-6
2nd: Yamamoto Baits pro Shinichi Fukae, Palestine, Texas, five bass, 23-3
3rd: Randy Haynes, Counce, Tenn., five bass, 22-15
4th: Brandon Hunter, Benton, Ky., five bass, 22-11
5th: Walmart pro Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., five bass, 22-10
6th: Quaker State pro Matt Arey, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 22-6
7th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 22-5
7th: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 22-5
9th: Terry Bolton, Paducah, Ky., five bass, 22-1
10th: Ramie Colson Jr., Cadiz, Ky., five bass, 21-6
For a full list of results visit FLWFishing.com.
Knight also weighed in an 8-pound, 9-ounce largemouth to win the Big Bass Award on the pro side Thursday and the $500 prize.
Overall there were 729 bass weighing 2,101 pounds, 12 ounces caught by 159 pros Thursday. The catch included 127 five-bass limits.
Mark Horton of Nicholasville, Kentucky, leads the co-angler division with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 5 ounces, followed by Joe McClary of Kirkwood, Missouri, in second place with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 1 ounce.
The top 10 co-anglers after Day One on Kentucky Lake are:
1st: Mark Horton, Nicholasville, Ky., five bass, 21-5
2nd: Joe McClary, Kirkwood, Mo., five bass, 21-1
3rd: Spencer Howerton, Melbourne Beach, Fla., five bass, 19-14
4th: Jay Clary, Slaughters, Ky., five bass, 19-5
5th: Maurice Cobb, Kuttawa, Ky., five bass, 18-11
6th: Rex Jaeger, Hamilton, Ohio, five bass, 18-7
7th: Nick Loeffelman Jr., Valles Mines, Mo., five bass, 18-2
8th: Dave Lauer, McConnelsville, Ohio, five bass, 16-14
9th: Otto Hecht, Stafford, Va., five bass, 16-12
10th: Mark Myers, Cedar Falls, Iowa, five bass, 16-9
Horton also earned the Big Bass Award on the co-angler side Thursday with a bass weighing 7 pounds, 10 ounces to win the $250 prize.
Overall there were 534 bass weighing 1,377 pounds, 11 ounces caught by 147 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 64 five-bass limits.