By BassFan Staff
Just a shade over 3 1/2 pounds is all that will separate the Top 10 when day 4 of the Kentucky Lake FLW Tour gets under way. The final-day field is a mix of veterans and newcomers, past winners and first-time contenders, all of whom are averaging more than 20 pounds per day on a venue that some are calling the best tournament lake in the country.
Texan Tom Redington, with just one previous single-digit finish on his ledger in 6 seasons on the circuit, held onto the lead by catching an 18-13 sack that pushed his total to 65-12. The other nine final-cut survivors are within one big bite on a lake that gives them up regularly.
Skip Johnson, a Michigan resident who grew up fishing for the giant bass of Southern California, moved up to the No. 2 position with a 19-12 stringer for a 64-10 total. His previous best finish in his initial year on Tour was a 42nd at Lake Hartwell.
Newly crowned Rookie of the Year and Tennessee River stud Jason Lambert moved up four spots to 3rd with 64-10 after sacking 21-02 on day 3. Brett Hite, the day-1 leader who already boasts a win on both the Tour and the Bassmaster Elite Series this year, jumped from 12th to 4th with a 22-11 bag for a 64-06 aggregate.
Steady veteran Jim Moynagh stayed in the No. 5 slot with a 19-09 bag for a 63-11 total.
Here are the totals for the 10 anglers who'll return to the water for the final day, with their deficit margins indicated by red numbers in parentheses:
1. Tom Redington: 65-12
2. Skip Johnson: 64-10 (1-02)
3. Jason Lambert: 64-10 (1-02)
4. Brett Hite: 64-06 (1-06)
5. Jim Moynagh: 63-11 (2-01)
6. Tim Malone: 63-06 (2-06)
7. Randy Haynes: 63-02 (2-10)
8. Clent Davis: 62-11 (3-01)
9. Andrew Upshaw: 62-06 (3-06)
10. Scott Canterbury: 62-02 (3-10)
Andy Morgan weighed his lightest bag of the event (16-12) and missed out on advancing to day 4, but he secured his second straight Angler of the Year (AOY) title with a 14th-place finish. That was one place ahead of challenger Cody Meyer, whom he led by 8 points coming in.
Also exiting the Top 10 today were Scott Martin, who fell from 2nd place to 13th with a 15-08 stringer; and grizzled veteran Charlie Ingram, who managed just 12-11 and sank from 3rd to 18th.
Skip Johnson's bag would've easily exceeded 20 pounds had he not lost three big ones early in the day.
This is one of those rare events in which every competitor in the final-day lineup has a legitimate chance to win. The lower half of the Top 10 includes ledge stalwart Randy Haynes, the winner of last month's Rayovac on this venue, and 2012 Rookie of the Clent Davis, who had day 3's biggest bag (22-14).
Sunday's weather forecast calls for the same conditions that have prevailed throughout the event – scattered thunderstorms, a high temperature in the low 80s and a southwesterly breeze that'll reach 12 mph at times.
Not so Easy for Redington
> Day 3: 5, 18-13 (15, 65-12)
When he took over the lead with a 24 1/2-pound stringer on day 2, Redington talked about how the day had flowed smoothly from the get-go. Day 3 was a much different story.
"It was pretty awful, I thought," he said. "Of the days I've had here practicing and competing in the Rayovac (in which he finished 13th) and the practice and competition days in this tournament, today was by far the toughest. A lot of guys who struggled today mentioned how the fish seemed to be more spread out and there were a lot fewer schools.
"Today was the first time in all the days I fished here that I caught a bunch of small ones – 2 1/4-pounders all the way down to 12-inchers. I was throwing big baits, trying to get big bites, but the little ones still bit it."
He caught about 25 fish, but only 10 were worth of being placed on his balance beam. None reached the 5-pound mark.
He said the fish are becoming more spooky each day and extremely long casts are necessary.
"I'm using 7-foot-6 and 8-foot Dobyns rods and getting as far back as I can and just launching (the baits). Those long rods have really helped so far."
He fished somewhat defensively today in order to protect his position, but the gloves will come off on day 4.
"It's almost like a different tournament – like a 1-day BFL where whoever catches a giant bag wins it. I have to go on the attack and find the schools that are up and that have big fish in them.
"If I bring in another 18-pound limit, I'll get railroaded. On a lake this big and this good, there's a spot somewhere that they're biting and somebody will find it."
2nd: New Digs for Johnson
> Day 3: 5, 19-12 (15, 64-10)
Johnson had to scramble following the weigh-in to find new sleeping accommodations. He'd checked out of his motel to avoid having to pay for another night in the event he missed the 10-cut.
His day on the water was somewhat frazzled as well as he lost three fish in excess of 5 pounds each during the early part of the day. Each losing battle was caught by and FLW camera and will be on full display with the TV show airs in September.
All three bruisers coughed up jigs.
"I've got a different plan for tomorrow," he said. "I'm going to a Texas rig so they won't have as much weight to shake around. I'm not going to lose any and I'm going to take a shot at winning this thing."
Jason Lambert moved up four places in the standings today and also captured the Rookie of the Year award.
He caught 40-plus keepers on the day, the biggest of which was a 5-pounder.
"My best action has been sporadic – a little in the morning, some more at mid-morning and an afternoon bite. When they started pulling current today, the fish just exploded."
He said he's not the least bit nervous about being so close to the lead going into the final day.
"I was born with a Skeeter in my garage – my father was a tournament fisherman in San Diego and I did all the team tournament stuff out West, plus a lot of saltwater tournaments. I'm the kind of guy who sort of checks out during the rules meetings because it's just like going to work. I'm very relaxed when it comes to things like this."
3rd: Two in a Row for Lambert
> Day 3: 5, 21-02 (15, 64-10)
Lambert has now posted back-to-back Top-10 finishes on his home system (like Haynes, he lives on the shore of Pickwick Lake). He picked up one trophy today for the rookie honor and has a real shot at another on day 4 – along with a six-figure paycheck.
"That's the objective," he said. "That's what we're out here for – to try to win.
"I feel like I can catch them again. I've had some mixed days so far – the first day I went through so many 4-pounders that I got tired of catching them and the last 2 days I've had one big one and just solid fish to go with it. I feel like I've got enough schools I can run to and get on, especially with only 10 people fishing."
His day-3 bag was topped by a 6-pounder. Part of his repertoire involves throwing a big spoon and he farmed some quality fish on it today.
"That thing is high-risk, high-reward," he said. "You get some big bites on it, but you lose a lot of fish, too."
He'll go with the same game plan on the final day that he's employed so far – hitting a group of relatively shallow fish first thing in the morning, then hitting as many as three dozen deeper ledges through the remainder of the day.
"Some places that I consider stops I don't even fish. I'll idle them and if I only see a few and they're scattered out or busted up, I haven't been throwing to them. I like to see a group before I settle down and start fishing."
He called the rookie honor "humbling."
"A lot of guys out here are rookies and I was fortunate enough to pull it out. It's something you only get one shot at."
4th: Hite Stayed Put
> Day 3: 5, 22-11 (15, 64-06)
Hite spent the entire day in one locale and made up most of the ground in the standings he'd surrendered the previous day.
"I was really torn the first day about which spot to go to, and obviously I made the right decision," he said. "I felt the other spot was really good, and I went there at about 10 o'clock yesterday and Scott Martin was fishing there. There's three good areas around there and it just took awhile to settle in. Luckily I was in a late flight and I saw some crazy things happen (in regard to) how many fish were there.
"I went to my first-day spot the first thing this morning, then I went to the spot where I finished yesterday and never moved again. I probably caught 30 that were over 3 pounds. There's just a ton of big fish right there and I'm excited about fishing tomorrow."
His best fish today pushed 6 pounds and he had one jump off that was at least a pound heavier.
"At about 11:30 I stopped throwing (the bait) that I was getting a bite on almost every cast. I didn't want to keep culling 3 1/2- to 4-pounders because I know I'm going to need them tomorrow and I also didn't want to tip anybody else off to how I was catching them, whether they were locals or tournament competitors.
"I'll go back there tomorrow and put the throttle down on them."
13th: No Big Ones for Martin
> Day 3: 5, 15-08 (15, 60-15)
Martin said his lackluster day was simply a matter of not getting any quality bites.
"I had three or four places I was really focusing on, and today three of those places didn't have any good fish on them for some reason," he said. "There were good numbers, but just a lot of 2 1/2-pounders.
"Out of my two best spots, I was only able to fish one of them today. I had some company and I wasn't able to rotate between the two."
He went through pretty much the same routine at each stop throughout the event – throwing a Basstrix Swimbait, a 3/4-ounce jig with a Bruiser Crazy Craw trailer, a River2Sea Goon crankbait and a white hair jig.
"I really utilized the Garmin SideVu and DownVu technology along with the new maps and I was able to find several key schools by looking at the really accurate contour lines. If it showed a small indentation or a little kick-out or whatever, those things were really there. It was dead on."
> Day 3 stats – 20 anglers, 20 limits.
> Sun., June 29 – Scattered Thunderstorms - 82°/70°
- Wind: From the SW at 12 mph
Day 3 Standings
1. Tom Redington -- Royse City, Tx -- 22-06 (5) -- 24-09 (5) -- 18-13 (5) -- 65-12
2. Skip Johnson -- Goodells, Mi -- 22-00 (5) -- 22-14 (5) -- 19-12 (5) -- 64-10
3. Jason Lambert -- Pickwick Dam, Tn -- 20-15 (5) -- 22-09 (5) -- 21-02 (5) -- 64-10
4. Brett Hite -- Phoenix, Az -- 24-14 (5) -- 16-13 (5) -- 22-11 (5) -- 64-06
5. Jim Moynagh -- Carver, Mn -- 21-06 (5) -- 22-12 (5) -- 19-09 (5) -- 63-11
6. Tim Malone -- Gatlinburg, Tn -- 20-10 (5) -- 21-10 (5) -- 21-02 (5) -- 63-06
7. Randy Haynes -- Counce, Tn -- 22-11 (5) -- 21-01 (5) -- 19-06 (5) -- 63-02
8. Clent Davis -- Montevallo, Al -- 20-06 (5) -- 19-07 (5) -- 22-14 (5) -- 62-11
9. Andrew Upshaw -- Tulsa, Ok -- 19-08 (5) -- 23-02 (5) -- 19-12 (5) -- 62-06
10. Scott Canterbury -- Springville, Al -- 21-00 (5) -- 19-13 (5) -- 21-05 (5) -- 62-02
The following anglers did not make the cut and will not fish on day 4.
11. John Voyles -- Petersburg, In -- 17-00 (5) -- 24-07 (5) -- 20-01 (5) -- 61-08 -- $12,000
12. Michael Neal -- Dayton, Tn -- 22-04 (5) -- 17-14 (5) -- 21-05 (5) -- 61-07 -- $12,000
13. Scott Martin -- Clewiston, Fl -- 22-08 (5) -- 22-15 (5) -- 15-08 (5) -- 60-15 -- $12,000
14. Andy Morgan -- Dayton, Tn -- 21-04 (5) -- 21-06 (5) -- 16-12 (5) -- 59-06 -- $12,000
15. Cody Meyer -- Auburn, Ca -- 19-04 (5) -- 20-14 (5) -- 18-12 (5) -- 58-14 -- $12,000
16. Jason Christie -- Park Hill, Ok -- 22-01 (5) -- 19-08 (5) -- 16-14 (5) -- 58-07 -- $12,000
17. Ramie Colson Jr -- Cadiz, Ky -- 17-05 (5) -- 22-08 (5) -- 18-01 (5) -- 57-14 -- $12,000
18. Charlie Ingram -- Centerville, Tn -- 22-06 (5) -- 22-10 (5) -- 12-11 (5) -- 57-11 -- $12,000
19. Alex Davis -- Albertville, Al -- 18-05 (5) -- 23-13 (5) -- 15-08 (5) -- 57-10 -- $12,000
20. Mark Rose -- West Memphis, Ar -- 18-14 (5) -- 21-01 (5) -- 11-13 (5) -- 51-12 -- $12,000