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Nordbye edges Ebare at KY Lake Invitational

Nordbye edges Ebare at KY Lake Invitational

CALVERT CITY, Ky. – Leading with 22 pounds, 12 ounces after Day 1 of the MLF Invitational on Kentucky Lake, Andrew Nordbye of Guntersville, Ala., took a step back to second on Day 2 and could have continued the slide. Instead, he sacked up the biggest bag of the final day — 21-14, including a near 6-pounder — to earn the win Sunday.

With a 63-5 total, Nordbye finished almost a pound ahead of Brookeland, Texas’ Dakota Ebare and earned $80,000 and a berth to REDCREST 2025.

The win is Nordbye’s first with MLF, and he did it with his wife, Codi, and their newborn twins, Andi Mae and Zeal, on hand.

“Incredible, just amazing,” he said of the win. “I’ve been in first multiple times, second multiple times. But I’ve never been able to put all three days together to finish out and get a victory.”

Like many in the Top 10, Nordbye targeted smallmouth spawning on the flats of Kentucky Lake. He focused on stumps in 9 to 11 feet of water.

“I marked 1,500 waypoints in practice using side-scan,” he said. “We had long, 14-hour days in practice, so I probably idled six to eight hours a day and fished six to eight. When I would find a flat with stumps, maybe 300 stumps, I would graph them all first, and then I would pull up.

“I think the key was finding a niche stump row that probably had 100 stumps a little bit spread out that nobody else found,” he added. “I had my own water on about 100 stumps, and I caught my bag on Day 1 there except for one, and Day 2, three of them came there, and today, two of them came from there.”

Relying heavily on Garmin LiveScope, Nordbye used Lew’s rods and Lew’s Custom Lite SS Series reels to present a variety of finesse offerings. His primary baits were a 5-inch Strike King Z-Too in Arkansas shiner, a Mach Skooler and a Strike King Ned Ocho.

Finessing the spawning smallies off stumps was standard issue for the pros on the week, but Nordbye separated himself by moving fast, refusing to get hung up on fish that wouldn’t bite.

“The fresh ones, they would bite right off the bat,” he said. “But honestly, I didn’t work a bed fish more than 5 or 10 minutes. I heard a lot of guys say they sat on one for 20 minutes and finally got it to bite. I felt like that was a waste of my time unless I knew it was a giant. I caught a 3-pound male today that was the size of a 6-pounder, and it would look like a 6-pounder on LiveScope. I really tried to make the most of my time, and if they wouldn’t bite, I had a plethora of stumps to fish.”

He narrowed his stump selection to the north end of the lake and ended up having a rough idea of what he wanted out of his stumps as well.

“I went south of the first bridge, almost all the way to Paris, in practice, and I found some stump fields and fished them and didn’t do any good,” Nordbye said. “The stump fields up here were a lot more productive in practice. Out of the current but still on the main lake, where there is current, seemed to be the deal. And a hard bottom. I caught a few right on the break of the channel, but 2-pounders, mostly; the better quality was more on the flat.”

In the end, it wasn’t just stumps and spawners for Nordbye – he needed to make the sort of gameplan adjustment that wins tournaments. Doing so produced his kicker, a 5-15 brute with just a couple hours left before weigh-in.

“The whole tournament, I fished stumps with spawning smallmouth, and today at like noon, I decided to go fish an area where I caught a 4 1/2-pound largie and some 2-pound smallies by a barge tie,” he said. “I went in there, and there was a school of 6-pound smallies sitting on the barge tie. There were like 20 of them. I got one to eat, and I couldn’t get any more to eat, but that was all I needed.”

Here are the final totals for the 30 anglers who advanced to the final day:

1st: Andrew Nordbye, Guntersville, Ala., 15 bass, 63-5, $80,000
2nd: Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 15 bass, 62-2, $50,000
3rd: Colby Miller, Elmer, La., 15 bass, 61-1, $20,000
4th: Alec Morrison, Peru, N.Y., 15 bass, 59-2, $18,500
5th: Brody Campbell, Oxford, Ohio, 15 bass, 57-13, $17,300
6th: Jacob Walker, Springville, Ala., 15 bass, 56-9, $16,000
7th: Kyle Hall, Granbury, Texas, 15 bass, 56-6, $15,500
8th: Kevin Meunier, Lamar, Ind., 15 bass, 56-1, $14,000
9th: Jaden Parrish, Liberty, Texas, 15 bass, 55-12, $13,000
10th: Drew Gill, Mount Carmel, Ill., 15 bass, 55-9, $12,000
11th: Nick Hatfield, Greeneville, Tenn., 15 bass, 55-1, $10,000
12th: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., 15 bass, 54-11, $10,000
13th: Michael Harlin, Sunrise Beach, Mo., 15 bass, 54-6, $10,000
14th: Adam Bartusek, Clearwater, Minn., 15 bass, 54-2, $10,000
15th: Ken Thompson, Roaring Springs, Pa., 15 bass, 52-6, $10,000
16th: Marshall Hughes, Hemphill, Texas, 15 bass, 51-7, $10,000
17th: Justin Cooper, Zwolle, La., 15 bass, 50-12, $10,000
18nd: Robby Lefere, Jackson, Mich., 14 bass, 50-5, $10,000
19th: Brett Carnright, Plattsburgh, N.Y., 15 bass, 49-11, $10,000
20th: Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, 15 bass, 49-7, $10,000
21st: Ethan Greene, Eufaula, Ala., 15 bass, 49-3, $11,000
22nd: Brock Reinkemeyer, Warsaw, Mo., 15 bass, 48-13, $10,000
23rd: Brad Jelinek, Lincoln, Mo., 15 bass, 48-12, $10,000
24th: Jake Lawrence, Buchanan, Tenn., 15 bass, 47-4, $10,000
25th: Cole Breeden, Lebanon, Mo., 15 bass, 47-3, $10,000
26th: Brad Leuthner, Victoria, Minn., 15 bass, 46-2, $10,000
27th: Connor Cunningham, Springfield, Mo., 15 bass, 44-10, $10,000
28th: Mark Condron, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 15 bass, 43-1, $10,000
29th: Tom Redington, Royse City, Texas, 13 bass, 42-9, $10,000
30th: Ethan King, Wilsonville, Ala., 15 bass, 41-11, $10,000

Complete results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

his third Top 10 of the season, Drew Gill of Mount Carmel, Ill., stayed on top of the Angler of the Year race with 587 points. However, there was some shuffling behind him, as Peru, N.Y.'s Alec Morrison moved into second with 578 points, while Brody Campbell of Oxford, Ohio edged up to third place with 572 points.

For complete final standings, click here.

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