Lawrence Wins Third Toyota Series on Kentucky Lake

For the third time in his career, Jake Lawrence put the bow on a dominating win on Kentucky Lake, leading wire-to-wire in the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats Plains Division opener. The win marks his third in five tries on Kentucky and Barkley, and he’s led each event from the get-go. Impressively, he’s done it all kinds of ways, catching prespawn and postspawn smallmouth as well as summer largemouth, and with and without LiveScope.

This week, Lawrence came out of the gate with 24 pounds, 2 ounces, then followed it up with 18-3 on Day 2 and 20-13 on the final day, adding up to a 63-2 winning total. Finishing second with 61-13, Matt Robertson was by far Lawrence’s biggest competition as the only other angler to top 60 pounds.

Now, Lawrence needs to find space for another trophy, and he gets to take home a total of $74,500 (including a $35,000 Phoenix Bonus).

An expert with LiveScope and a jighead minnow, Lawrence weighed 10 smallmouth and five largemouth this week, and he caught almost everything from current breaks with a minnow on a lead head.

On the first and last days, the current was optimal to allow him to pick off single fish in relatively shallow water.

“It was current breaks, but it seemed to change throughout the week,” he explained. “The way that I caught them the first day and today, they weren’t necessarily right on the contact point, right where the current seam leaves the bank or leaves the shallow bar – that textbook spot. Most of mine were within 100 yards of it, but downstream of it, in the slack water. I don’t know if it is because we’ve had such strong current for such a period of time or what, but you could run it from right outside the marina as far south as you wanted to go.”

And Lawrence did use the whole lake. On Day 1, he started on a school near Moors, then finished south of Paris Landing. Today, he worked his way down almost to Jonathan Creek. Understanding the quirks of the current on Kentucky Lake let Lawrence succeed throughout the week.

“Yesterday, I feel like the inflow was as much or more than the outflow was, “he said. “So, a lot of your current breaks right at the mouth of the bays, you don’t get that sucking effect. It’s a lot of current, but all straight down the river channel. Once you got outside of the river channel several hundred yards yesterday, it was way less than normal. Today, I could tell within the first 30 minutes; every one I rolled up to, they’d be crawling around on the bottom.”

On Day 2, whether he knew it or not, Lawrence adjusted by moving closer to the main channel to catch some key smallmouth. Plus, he was able to key his bag with three largemouth that day.

jenko jig minnow bait

Fishing mostly in the 5- to 10-foot range, Lawrence used a prototype minnow from Jenko and did most of his work with a 3/16-ounce head, though he did use lighter and heavier models.

While it looked easy on stage, Lawrence said it was absolutely not.

“The last Toyota, it was really easy to catch them,” he said. “I could catch 60, 70 a day fairly easily. Not a lot of big ones, but I could catch almost every bass I saw. This week, it was not a challenge to find them, it was a challenge to trick them. It’s getting harder and harder to trick them everywhere, but that seems to be the deal now — they’re a lot harder to catch than they used to be.”

A rookie on the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals, Lawrence will be back in action (and no doubt sporting a live camera on MLFNOW!) in April on Kentucky Lake. After making a living guiding for the last six years, Lawrence has put his considerable skills to fishing full-time in 2024. So far, it’s been very successful.

“This takes a humongous amount of pressure off,” he said. “This is what we all dreamed of. My grandad and uncle were taking me when I was in diapers and pull ups. This is what I’ve always wanted to do. To have the start that we’ve had, my goodness — it’s been 16 months straight, everything seems to go right when it needs to. At some point, that ball is going to quit rolling in my direction, but until then, we’ll keep rocking with it.”

The top 10 pros on Kentucky Lake finished:

  1. Jake Lawrence, Buchanan, Tenn., 15 bass, 63-2, $74,500 (includes $35,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus)
  2. Matt Robertson, Kuttawa, Ky., 15 bass, 61-13, $15,306
  3. Jordan Hartman, Benton, Ky., 15 bass, 54-2, $11,850
  4. Harbor Lovin, New Concord, Ky., 15 bass, 52-6, $9,875
  5. Clint Knight, Lewisburg, Ky., 15 bass, 51-5, $9,387
  6. Drew Gill, Mount Carmel, Ill., 15 bass, 51-4, $7,900
  7. Brad Jelinek, Lincoln, Mo., 15 bass, 50-11, $6,912
  8. Hunter Fillmore, Waynesville, Ohio, 15 bass, 50-6, $5,925
  9. Ethan Fields, Breese, Ill., 14 bass, 49-9, $4,937
  10. Brent Anderson, Kingston Springs, Tenn., 15 bass, 49-3, $3,950

Complete results can be found at

Pro Taylor Umland of Carlock, Illinois, earned Thursday’s $500 Berkley Big Bass Award with a largemouth weighing in at 7 pounds, 13 ounces. The $500 Berkley Big Bass Award on Day 2 Friday was earned by pro Clint Knight of Lewisburg, Kentucky, who weighed in a 6-pound, 2-ounce bass.