Kentucky Lake follow-up: What happened with Fox?
"This is one of the best places I've ever fished ... at least as far as numbers go," says Kyle Fox, an aspiring Elite Series pro from Lakeland, Fla. "You can catch 50 or 60 bass a day here, easy. They won't all be keepers, but they'll give you a day of real fun on the water."
The problem with what he says is in the details — they won't all be keepers. Fox reports catching several bass in the 4 to 5 pound range. His biggest practice bass tipped the scales at 6 1/2 pounds. Unfortunately, however, most of the rest of them were below the 15-inch size limit.
Much of that is caused by lake conditions. The water is stable and slightly stained with visibility between 2 and 3 feet. Fox didn't check the water temperature but believes it's in the typical early fall range and dropping a bit every day.
"That's driving the smaller fish in where they can be caught. Most of the bass are holding in shallow weeds, less than 8 feet deep. There are big ones in there, but they don't seem to be biting as well and aren't as aggressive. It's hard to get past the little ones."
His best catches have come from fishing topwater plugs early in the morning — poppers and stickbaits — and then switching to fast moving, shallow running baits when the sun breaks through.
"After the topwater bite disappears, lures like jerkbaits, lipless crankbaits and swimming jigs will provoke strikes. I think they're moving back, just under the surface, once the sun comes out in the morning. From there it gets tougher as the day goes along.
"The problem — at least my problem — is that the sun is affecting the bigger fish more than the little ones. They seem to be moving deeper into the grass than the little ones. That makes it tough to catch a heavy sack.
"I think most of the anglers will fish the grass and do something similar to what I've been doing. But, I want to warn everyone not to think that's the only way they'll be caught. Kentucky Lake is big. There's a lot of stuff to fish out there. Some of the guys are fishing the ledges. I don't know what they're doing. I also saw a few guys fishing channels. They could be onto something. You never know."
Based on those conditions as well as his practice Fox believes there'll be a lot of limits caught but that really big bass will be scarce. He predicts it'll take around 30 pounds to make the cut. His theory is that Kentucky Lake — with its 15-inch size limit and good fishing this week — will produce many 12-pound sacks on both days. The cut weight will be earned by those who do just a little better.
He theorizes the winning weight will be high — something close to 60 pounds. That's a 30-pound difference between the cut weight and the winning weight with only one more day of fishing — huge by any standard. Asked to explain his prediction, Fox says the best of the best will find the big ones.
"In practice, the bigger bass have been scattered around the lake but were holding somewhat together. What I mean by that is that I'd fish four or five places before I found solid keepers. But when I did I might catch two, three or four good ones from the same general area. They weren't schooled together, really, just kind of hanging out in the same neighborhood.
"The winner will be the angler who puts three days of those spots together and he or she will have a heavy total weight. It won't surprise me to see a big difference in the weights between the top handful of anglers and everybody else. I can see four or five guys running away with it.
"And I wonder if those same anglers won't catch the biggest bass of the tournament which I believe will be around 7 pounds."
The weather isn't expected to be much of a factor. The tournament launches from Paris Landing at the upper end of the lake. It's been hot and sunny with very little wind. That isn't expected to change through Saturday.
If it does change, however, all bets are off. Kentucky Lake is legendary for high winds. If it picks up or the sky turns overcast, the weights could skyrocket. That is, unless it gets so bad the anglers can't get to their spots. Then weights could drop dramatically.