Kentucky Lake is known for its ledge fishing, but from the reports I’ve been seeing, there have been a lot of great bags being caught up shallow. The spawn is still in full swing in that part of the country. There are still some stragglers waiting to spawn, but most are either going to be spawning this week with the last full moon or they’ll already be out on ledges.
I’m going with mostly ledge guys with a few flippers in the mix. If I have to pick between a few in a given bucket, momentum will help me push to one angler over another. Either way, this event is going to be another slaunch-fest.
Expect around 17 pounds a day to cash a check, and I’m calling mid-90s on the total weight for the eventual winner.
BUCKET A: HITE
My pick: Brett Hite
A lot of the typical Kentucky Lake beasts are outside of Bucket A, and we have a lot of anglers who are relatively new to being in this bucket. However, if there is a sniff of the fish setting up like they did at BASSFest a few years ago, expect Hite to make a showing. He threw a neko rig on the way to a third place finish. I like Hite because he is good enough to mix it up shallow if he needs to, and he can trick those finicky offshore fish when there isn’t much current. No matter what, he should be able to put it together for a strong showing. He finished 11th at Martin and 16th at Grand. That’s plenty of evidence for me to put him on top.
Also consider: Takahiro Omori
Not many guys have as much momentum as Tak. He won the first event of the year and led the first day of Grand Lake. Crankbaits will definitely be a huge piece of the puzzle and that’s easily one of his favorite things to do. Don’t forget he won the event on Wheeler Lake just upriver in 2016.
BUCKET B: K. VANDAM
My pick: DUH… KVD
I hate that he’s going to have 93 percent ownership, and all it would take is making the one pick that does a spot or two better than him to make a little move. However, there’s no need to get creative here. All of the guys who will should finish high in this event will more than likely finish within a spot or two of KVD, and the amount of points you can either gain or lose here don’t justify the risk of picking someone else. He has won 40 percent of the Elite-level events here. His finishes here include: second in 2015, first in 2010, second in 2009, first in 2008 and third in 2006. He has never finished less than third place. That’s insane.
Also consider: Greg Hackney
If you’re looking for a dark horse against KVD, I definitely wouldn’t pick a cranker. Go with a guy like Hackney. If for some reason there are not enough fish offshore for KVD to do his thing out there, a flipper like Hackney could definitely rise up. His finishes on this lake haven’t been great, but it’s pretty much always been an offshore deal, and this year could be different.
BUCKET C: LEFEBRE
My pick: Dave Lefebre
At Grand Lake, Lefebre let slip that he was excited about Kentucky Lake because the fish were in the bushes. That kind of confidence usually translates into the focus and energy you need to have to make a deep run. He has some stout history on the FLW trail with a win in 2012. He can flip with the best of them but can adjust if necessary. That makes his dangerous.
Also consider: Edwin Evers
I’m still trying to recover from picking him at Grand. His wins at Grand didn’t do him any good there, so I can’t give them much clout here. However, I promise you he is mad at the fish after squeaking into the last place paid. He has a first in 2015, second in 2010, 68th in 2009, 12th in 2008 and eighth in 2006. Good history here, but his momentum is lacking.
BUCKET D: B. LANE
My pick: Bobby Lane
I’m going to put another flipper in this bucket. He had tough finishes at Martin and Grand but carded a win on the Kissimmee Chain a few months back. He won the Kentucky Lake Tennessee Triumph in 2009. Versatility is going to be key for sure. B. Lane is another angler than can catch them shallow or find them deep. With a tough start to the Elite trail this year, he’ll be looking to turn it around here.
Also consider: Steve Kennedy
I feel like if I pick him, maybe it will cancel out the bad luck that hits him when Pete Robbins picks him. I haven’t seen Pete’s picks yet, but it would not surprise me if he does. So if by the time the tournament starts, if Pete has picked him, I will switch over as well. You’re welcome Steve. As far as reasons to pick him, he is killer with a swimbait whether shallow or deep. He has three top-25 finishes including a sixth in 2009.
BUCKET E: COMBS
My pick: Keith Combs
I’m going against my gut right now by picking Keith Combs. That said, I might have to change him before Thursday. He is normally unstoppable with a crankbait, but he struggled on Martin and Grand where the crankbait was king. Sometimes guys just have off years and this could be his year to have a tough season. His only B.A.S.S. finish here was 25th in 2015. He is versatile enough to find them here. I’ll be tossing this one back and forth until the bitter end.
Also consider: Timmy Horton
This might be the better option, but you’re pretty much banking on the offshore bite to be the deal. He finished fourth here in 2015 and has a myriad of high finishes and wins cranking offshore. He doesn’t live very far from there and loves this river system. As we get closer to the event, if it is looking like the offshore bite will be on, I’ll likely be making the switch. If he beats Keith, I’ll jump over 25 percent of Fantasy Fishing players in this bucket.