The Walmart FLW Tour at Kentucky Lake presented by Mercury Marine will come down to a nail-biting finish Sunday – six anglers known for their Tennessee River prowess competing alongside four of the most versatile fisherman in the country. The event that started with 162 of the best bass-fishing anglers in the country has now been trimmed to 10 as the anglers compete for the title of Kentucky Lake champion and the top prize of $125,000.
Jason Lambert of Pickwick Dam, Tennessee, who started the day in second place, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 5 ounces – the largest limit of the tournament – to take the lead with a three-day total of 68-2.
Local pro Brandon Hunter of Benton, Kentucky, (66-10) sits in second, with Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina, (63-2) in third. Day Two leader Terry Bolton of Paducah, Kentucky, (61-11) fell to fourth after bringing in a limit weighing 16-14, and Walmart pro Mark Rose of West Memphis, Arkansas, (58-8) rounds out the top five.
With just 6-7 separating Lambert from fourth place angler Terry Bolton, the tournament has turned into an old fashioned Kentucky Lake ledge-fishing shootout.
“Today was as good of a day that I could ask for,” said Lambert, who finished in second place when the FLW Tour last visited Kentucky Lake in 2014. “This lake is really turning on more every day. I got a good start early – I caught a five-pounder and a couple of fours, and it seemed that every stop that I made for the next couple of hours I was upgrading. I probably caught 30 to 40 fish today, the most fish that I’ve caught any day of this tournament. More fish are coming to the ledges and there is less fishing pressure now.”
Lambert said that he had started the tournament with 14 rods on the deck of his boat, but had narrowed it down to just eight today. When he broke off his drop-shot rig today, he said that he didn’t re-tie, opting to remove it from his arsenal.
“There are getting to be less and less rods on my front deck,” Lambert said. “I’m keyed in on three baits, and I’ve been cycling through them. I’ll hit them from different angles and change how I line things up, but I’m really dialed down to three.
“If we can get some wind or a breeze to get the water moving around a little bit, I think we can wreck them tomorrow,” Lambert continued. “The lake has really opened up now with only 10 of us fishing, so the opportunity of getting more places to fish and bouncing around are going to be a lot better.
“I’ve been coming up here fishing for a long time and had a lot of success on this lake,” Lambert went on to say. “I’ve had a couple of second place finishes, a couple of thirds and quite a few top-10s. But, I’ve never gotten the win. It’d be special to win $125,000 anywhere, but it would really be nice to win up here and I would love to pull it off tomorrow.”
The top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition on Kentucky Lake are:
1st: Lucky Tackle Box pro Jason Lambert, Pickwick Dam, Tenn., 15 bass, 68-2
2nd: Bass Boat Technologies pro Brandon Hunter, Benton, Ky., 15 bass, 66-10
3rd: Damiki pro Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 63-2
4th: Rapala pro Terry Bolton, Paducah, Ky., 15 bass, 61-11
5th: Walmart pro Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., 15 bass, 58-8
6th: Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 15 bass, 55-4
7th: Buckeye Lures pro Jayme Rampey, Liberty, S.C., 15 bass, 54-13
8th: Academy Sports pro Jacob Wheeler, Indianapolis, Ind., 15 bass, 54-0
9th: Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., 15 bass, 53-14
10th: Rigid Industries pro Brad Knight, Lancing, Tenn., 15 bass, 53-10
Finishing in 11th through 20th are:
11th: Sheffield pro Ramie Colson Jr., Cadiz, Ky., 15 bass, 53-10, $12,000
12th: Quaker State pro Matt Arey, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 51-11, $12,000
13th: Jackall pro Alex Davis, Albertville, Ala., 15 bass, 51-10, $12,000
14th: Profound Outdoors pro Randy Haynes, Counce, Tenn., 14 bass, 51-1, $12,000
15th: 5 X 3 Pro Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 15 bass, 50-14, $12,000
16th: Ranger Boats pro Jim Jones, Big Bend, Wis., 15 bass, 48-10, $12,000
17th: Yamamoto Baits pro Shinichi Fukae, Palestine, Texas, 15 bass, 48-0, $12,000
18th: Red Gold Tomatoes pro Todd Hollowell, Fishers, Ind., 13 bass, 46-2, $12,000
19th: TH-Marine pro Luke Dunkin, Lawrenceburg, Tenn., 15 bass, 44-12, $12,000
20th: TDJ pro Pete Ponds, Madison, Miss., 15 bass, 43-11, $12,000
Final results for the entire field can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Overall there were 98 bass weighing 331 pounds even caught by pros Saturday. Nineteen of the final 20 pros weighed in five-bass limits.