GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – The fifth tournament of the 21st season of the Walmart FLW Tour, the most competitive circuit in professional bass-fishing, returns to Kentucky Lake June 9-12 with the Walmart FLW Tour at Kentucky Lake presented by Mercury Marine. Hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the tournament will feature a full field of the world’s best bass-fishing professionals and co-anglers casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the pro division and up to $25,000 cash in the co-angler division.
The Walmart FLW Tour has visited Kentucky Lake 10 times previously in its 21-year history, with 2016 marking the Tour’s eleventh visit. One angler who is looking forward to the Tour’s return to the world-class largemouth fishery is Boy Scouts of America pro Tom Redington, who won the Costa FLW Series tournament on Kentucky Lake in 2015.
“I think this tournament is setting up to be a whack-fest,” said Redington, a Texas angler who has career earnings of more than $200,000 in FLW competition. “When the fish first start to move out deep to the ledges they’re not hard to catch. They are in huge schools and very easy to trigger – it doesn’t matter what color, what bait or how you fish. I think this tournament is going to fall right in that time frame and we’re going to see some very big fish caught.
“The lake is still running a little bit behind where it normally is this time of year, so that could spread out the field a bit as well,” Redington continued. “There will still be quite a few good fish up shallow, and we know that guys like John Cox and Jay Yelas will find them.”
Redington said that tournament anglers fishing offshore on the ledges would be throwing swimbaits, deep-diving crankbaits, big worms, jigs, spoons and hairjigs. He predicts that shallow-water specialists will be targeting bream beds, shad spawns and flipping willows, with jigs, spinnerbaits and topwater baits all expected to play a role.
“This tournament isn’t so much about the bait as it is timing,” Redington said. “If you get on a school at the right place at the right time, you can throw whatever bait you’re comfortable with and catch fish.
“I expect the winning angler to be right around 86 or 87 pounds,” Redington went on to say. “Someone is going to catch a 25-pound stringer and back it up with a few 20-pound limits. Kentucky Lake is always a great tournament-fishing environment.”
Anglers will take off from Kentucky Dam State Park located at 7792 U.S. Highway 641 N. in Gilbertsville at 6:30 a.m. CDT each day of competition. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at the State Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will also be held at the State Park, but will begin at 4 p.m.
Fans will also be treated to the FLW Expo on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at Kentucky Dam State Park prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes a 100-yard Lew’s Casting Lane, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.
As part of the FLW Tour’s community outreach initiative, FLW Tour anglers will visit children at iKids Childhood Enrichment Center, located at 1471 U.S. Highway 68 W., in Benton on Wednesday, June 8, from 9-10 a.m. to introduce students to fishing and outdoor activities in their community. During the presentations the pro anglers will reinforce how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) relate to outdoor activities as well as boating safety. The presentation will promote the sport of fishing and outdoor recreation and give youth the information they need to “Get Outdoors. Go Fish!”
Also for youth, the FLW Foundation’s Unified Fishing Derby will be held at Kentucky Dam State Park on Saturday, June 11, from 9:30-11:30 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 18 years of age and younger and Special Olympics athletes. Event goodie bags will be awarded to the first 50 participants who sign up. Rods and reels are available for use, but youth are encouraged to bring their own if they own one. All bait is donated by the DMF Bait Company.
Coverage of the Kentucky Lake tournament will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) September 28 from 1 p.m.-2 p.m. EST. 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.
In FLW Tour competition, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. The 2016 Forrest Wood Cup will be on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Alabama, Aug. 4-7 and is hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau.