By BassFan Staff

Three finishes of 108th or lower in five FLW Tour events and no placements higher than 42nd did nothing to dampen Skip Johnson's faith in his ability to compete at the sport's highest level. That self-assurance was justified on Sunday when he caught a 24-pound stringer to win the 2014 regular-season finale at Kentucky Lake.

"I've got a lot of tournament wins under my belt – not at the major level, but I've got boxes of trophies in my basement," said the 46-year-old native of Southern California who now resides in Goodells, Mich. "Not to sound cocky, but I felt like I was overdue. I'd gone through five tournaments and hadn't done it."

He did it by catching the weekend's biggest stringer – 24-00 – to register a 4-day total of 88-10. He won the derby on his final cast when he caught a 5 1/4-pounder that replaced a 3 1/2 in his livewell.

He finished a little more than a pound in front of Jason Lambert, the Tour Rookie of the Year who closed out a superb month of Tennessee River competition with a 22-14 sack for an 87-08 total.

Veteran Jim Moynagh claimed the NO. 3 spot with an 86-13 aggregate after a 23-02 final-day bag. He was followed by offshore guru Randy Haynes, who boxed 22-09 to give him a 4th-place total of 85-11

Clent Davis concluded an up-and-down campaign on a strong note, weighing a 21-08 bag that pushed his total to 84-03.

Here are the final numbers for the lower half of the Top 10:

6. Tom Redington: 83-12
7. Brett Hite: 83-02
8. Andrew Upshaw: 82-04
9. Scott Canterbury: 80-09
10. Tim Malone: 77-14

Redington, who led after days 2 and 3, caught his lightest bag of the event (18-00) to drop five places. Still, it was his career-best finish in 6 years on the circuit.

Upshaw, a third-year pro, logged his best Tour finish by far – his previous standard was a 26th at Beaver last year. The same was true for Malone, a second-year competitor who'd ended up 94th or lower in the five previous events this year.

FLW/Brian Lindberg
Photo: FLW/Brian Lindberg

Jason Lambert had a profitable month's worth of Tennessee River events.

Four of the Top 10 – Lambert, Haynes, Hite and Canterbury – will compete in the Forrest Wood Cup at South Carolina's Lake Murray in August.

Johnson Vindicated

> Day 4: 5, 24-00 (20, 88-10)

Johnson, who owns a concrete-pumping business in Michigan and also runs a guide service on Lake St. Clair, said he moved east a few years back as part of a mutual agreement with his wife: She got to live closer to her family and he'd be allowed to pursue a professional fishing career. Several hundred thousand dollars worth of equity in their San Diego-area home provided the funding for the transition.

The recession of 2008-09 delayed his pro aspirations for awhile. His only top-level appearance prior to this year resulted in a 20th-place finish in the 2012 Detroit River FLW Tour open.

On Sunday, it all became worthwhile as he caught the third-heaviest bag of the tournament. It was headed up by a 7-02 brute that bit at 1:30 p.m.

"I'm damn near breaking out in tears, it feels so good," he said. "I knew when I found those fish (on the morning of the first day of practice) that I could do it."

His weigh-in fish came on a combination of jigs and a Texas-rigged worm. Full details of his winning pattern, as well as those of the other top finishers, will be published soon.

2nd: Lambert's Emotions Jumbled

> Day 4: 5, 22-14 (20, 87-08)

Lambert had mixed emotions about his finish. It was his second runner-up showing at Kentucky Lake in a month (he was also 2nd to Haynes in the Rayovac), and sandwiched in between was another Tour Top-10 at Pickwick.

"It's hard to complain about finishing 2nd at this level, but you always want to win," he said. "It feels great, but I'm a little disappointed at the same time."

FLW/Kyle Wood
Photo: FLW/Kyle Wood

Jim Moynagh's 3rd-place finish was his best on the FLW Tour since 2008.

He caught his biggest sack of the event on the final day and went through about 30 keepers in compiling it. His best fish was a 5 1/2.

He opted to remain close to the launch in Paris, Tenn. when he saw how hard the wind was blowing – about 15 to 20 mph in the morning before slacking way off around noon.

"I fished real clean today – I never lost a fish. With the wind, I decided to drive less and fish more and I feel like I did the right thing. I just came up one (big) fish short."

3rd: Moynagh had Dead Periods

> Day 4: 5, 23-02 (20, 86-13)

Despite his happiness over logging his best placement since a runner-up showing at Lake Norman in 2008, Moynagh lamented the long stretches that he endured without bites each day.

"It was a nice finish, but I feel like this tournament was there for me to win," he said. "I just didn't close it out. It's not like I lost a lot of big fish or anything, but I had a lot of down time when I was getting bites.

"All I needed was 2 more pounds and I could've had that if I'd done a better job of working through those periods. The early afternoon was strong for a lot of guys, but I wasn't doing much and that bugs me."

He caught about a dozen keepers on day 4, the biggest of which was a 5-pounder.

4th: Haynes a Bit Bummed

> Day 4: 5, 22-09 (20, 85-11)

The always-humble Haynes said he wasn't quite as joyful as he should be about yet another single-digit showing in a ledge-fishing event.

"I kind of feel like I let one slip through the cracks this time," he said. "I ought to be happy, but I want to win them all on (the Tennessee River).

"I had kind of a mental breakdown this morning and had a couple good fish pull off. Then I finally got a big one to bite the spoon and I had a problem with my reel and it came off right at the boat. It was just a tough day."

He had only one fish in his livewell at 1 o'clock, but then went on a run in which he picked up good ones at four of his next five stops.

5th: Davis Pumped Up

> Day 4: 5, 21-08 (20, 84-13)

Davis posted his second Top-5 of the season (he was also 3rd at Hartwell). It was a good conclusion to a campaign that saw the former Rookie of the Year finish 127th or lower in three of the other four events.

"I'm extremely excited about it," he said. "I put in a lot of time up here this year and it paid off pretty well. You won't get any complaints from me."

He boated approximately a dozen keepers on day 4.

"It was a really slow day for me. There seemed to be a window from about 8 to 11 each day when I got all my weight. After that I could still catch some, but the better quality wasn't there."

He said he lost two that weighed between 4 and 5 pounds.

Notable

> Day 4 stats – 10 anglers, 9 limits, 1 four.

Day 4 (Final) Standings

1. Skip Johnson -- Goodells, Mi -- 22-00 (5) -- 22-14 (5) -- 44-14 (10) -- 19-12 (5) -- 24-00 (5) -- 88-10 (20) -- $100,000

2. Jason Lambert -- Pickwick Dam, Tn -- 20-15 (5) -- 22-09 (5) -- 43-08 (10) -- 21-02 (5) -- 22-14 (5) -- 87-08 (20) -- $30,000

3. Jim Moynagh -- Carver, Mn -- 21-06 (5) -- 22-12 (5) -- 44-02 (10) -- 19-09 (5) -- 23-02 (5) -- 86-13 (20) -- $25,000

4. Randy Haynes -- Counce, Tn -- 22-11 (5) -- 21-01 (5) -- 43-12 (10) -- 19-06 (5) -- 22-09 (5) -- 85-11 (20) -- $20,000

5. Clent Davis -- Montevallo, Al -- 20-06 (5) -- 19-07 (5) -- 39-13 (10) -- 22-14 (5) -- 21-08 (5) -- 84-03 (20) -- $19,000

6. Tom Redington -- Royse City, Tx -- 22-06 (5) -- 24-09 (5) -- 46-15 (10) -- 18-13 (5) -- 18-00 (5) -- 83-12 (20) -- $18,000

7. Brett Hite -- Phoenix, Az -- 24-14 (5) -- 16-13 (5) -- 41-11 (10) -- 22-11 (5) -- 18-12 (5) -- 83-02 (20) -- $17,000

8. Andrew Upshaw -- Tulsa, Ok -- 19-08 (5) -- 23-02 (5) -- 42-10 (10) -- 19-12 (5) -- 19-14 (5) -- 82-04 (20) -- $16,000

9. Scott Canterbury -- Springville, Al -- 21-00 (5) -- 19-13 (5) -- 40-13 (10) -- 21-05 (5) -- 18-07 (5) -- 80-09 (20) -- $15,000

10. Tim Malone -- Gatlinburg, Tn -- 20-10 (5) -- 21-10 (5) -- 42-04 (10) -- 21-02 (5) -- 14-08 (4) -- 77-14 (19) -- $14,000