Local pressure a concern among pros

PARIS, Tenn. -- Something seems out of kilter at Kentucky Lake. The best bass pros on the planet are about to compete on one of the greatest bass fisheries in America – yet frustration and fear seem to be superseding excitement as the Zippo BASSfest at Kentucky Lake presented by A.R.E. Truck Caps begins.

Kevin VanDam, Terry Scroggins and Shaw Grigsby each shared their biggest concerns as practice ended and competition is set to begin on this massive 160,000-surface-acre reservoir along the Tennessee River.

VanDam: “Angling pressure is the single biggest challenge,” said VanDam, who won Elite Series events this same time of year on Kentucky Lake in both 2008 and 2010.

“Both local anglers, as well as fellow tournament anglers, are pressuring the deep schools. Honestly, I don’t have a lot of deep schools located. Today’s electronics are almost too good at showing people where to catch ‘em.”

Scroggins: “It’s kinda like we got everything working against us,” Scroggins said. “We’ve had a north wind blowing against the natural flow of the river, which slows the current down, along with cloudy skies, a ton of boat pressure, and high water levels that are keeping lots of fish shallow. But I’m not getting quality bites in the bushes, and none of the things I mentioned lead to great deep water ledge fishing.

“I ain’t sure people work around here. I saw more locals fishing on Monday and Tuesday than I did fellow competitors. I’ve got five or six schools located where I think I can catch them, but it dang sure ain’t the Kentucky Lake we’re used to.”

Grigsby:  “My biggest concern is to catch a freakin’ bass,” exclaimed the perpetually positive Florida pro. “I can catch 12 pounds out of the flooded bushes – but what good is that gonna do ya?” And most of the deep spots I want to fish are being hammered by locals.”

Three of pro angling’s most positive and accomplished souls are indeed casting doubt and frustration in equal proportion to deep diving crankbaits as BASSfest 2015 begins on Kentucky Lake.