MURRAY, Ky. (June 14, 2009) â€“ Team Land O’Lakes pro Keith Williams of Conway, Ark., caught a final-round total of 10 bass weighing 42 pounds even to win $125,000 in the FLW Tour event presented by Pringles on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes. Williams topped his closest rival, David Young of Mayfield, Ky., by 2 pounds, 6 ounces to earn the win and 200 points toward qualifying for the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol and BP, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2 on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pa., where they could win as much as $1 million â€“ the sport’s biggest award.
â€œI’ve had so many ups and downs â€“ mostly downs,â€ said Williams, who has won more than $439,000 in FLW Outdoors events. â€œI’ve had some bad years. My first three years were really good, but after that I had a bad dry spell without any good finishes. I had considered not doing it any more. I had considered quitting and Land O’Lakes kept me in it.â€
Williams said his first fish of the day, a 9-pound, 1-ounce largemouth, was the fish that sealed the victory.
â€œI knew right then I had a chance to win if I could just settle down and catch a decent limit,â€ Williams said. â€œI’m not really sure what time I caught it. After I caught it, everything was just a blur. I made myself get off the trolling motor and slow way down, because I was shaking. I knew I was going to mess up if I started fishing too fast.â€
Williams said he focused on a grassy area with shell spots and rocky spots in a road bed that he said runs through Kentucky Lake for five or six miles. Williams said he alternated between a 10 1/2-inch plum-colored Zoom Ole Monster worm, a 3/4-ounce Strike King football-head jig and a Zoom Brush Hog fished on 20-pound Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon. His Texas-rigged worm rig consisted of a 5/16-ounce Tru-Tungsten weight and a 5/0 hook.
â€œSeventy percent of my fish came on the initial fall after I’d make a long cast,â€ Williams said. â€œThey were really boat shy.â€
Williams said his hot spot was in the New Johnsonville area and was about 45 miles from Kenlake Marina and about 75 miles from the Kentucky Dam Marina.
â€œIn the morning, especially on cloudy days, they were way on top of the road bed and I was keeping my boat deep and making really long casts to keep from spooking them, and I was throwing shallow – maybe even eight feet,â€ Williams said. â€œSometimes my boat was sitting 25 or even 30 feet deep.
â€œI knew there was acres and acres and acres of grass there,â€ Williams added. â€œThat’s the only reason I fished this area. I knew that the grass was the deal and I knew a lot of the guys wouldn’t know about it, because the lake’s been up this year and it hasn’t grown up to the top.â€
Williams opened the tournament Thursday in fifth place with five bass weighing 21-12. He slipped to seventh place Friday with a five-bass catch weighing 18 pounds, 14 ounces to advance into the final round of 10 pros with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 40 pounds, 10 ounces. On Saturday, weights were cleared, and Williams caught five bass weighing 17-3 to advance to the final day of competition in fourth place. Williams added another five bass weighing 24-3 to his final-round total Sunday.
Young caught a final-round total of 10 bass weighing 39-10 to claim second place and $50,000.
â€œI had a seven (pounder) at the boat that the hook broke off,â€ said Young, who has posted 27 FLW Outdoors top-10s on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes. â€œI had another seven (pounder) at the boat that came off. I had a six get off. I had two fives get off. I had six more fish on that were huge that we never saw. I should have weighed in 30 pounds today.â€
Young said he caught the majority of his fish Sunday on a spoon and a chartreuse and white Norman DD-22 deep-diving crankbait.
â€œMy first and second fish of the day came on my first two casts,â€ Young said. â€œAnd they were big ones. It was unbelievable.â€
Rounding out the top 10 pros were Team Chevy pro Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark. (10 bass, 33-11, $40,000); Mark Rose of Marion, Ark. (10 bass, 32-11, $30,000); Travis Fox of Springdale, Ark. (10 bass, 31-1, $20,000); Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla. (10 bass, 30-9, $19,000); Team PTSI pro Ron Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark. (eight bass, 30-4, $18,000); Team Land O’Lakes pro Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn. (10 bass, 28-9, $17,000); Bobby McMullin of Pevely, Mo. (10 bass, 25-13, $16,000) and Kenneth Woods of Hazard, Ky. (eight bass, 21-2, $15,000).
Overall there were 48 bass weighing 162 pounds, 12 ounces caught in the Pro Division Sunday. The catch included nine five-bass limits.
Brandon Hunter of Benton, Ky., won the Co-angler Division and $25,000 Saturday in front of his hometown crowd with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 11 ounces followed by Frank Divis, Sr. of Fayetteville, Ark., in second place with five bass weighing 18-0 worth $10,000.
Hunter opened the tournament in eleventh place Thursday with five bass weighing 16-4 while fishing with Team Pop-Tarts pro Greg Bohannan of Rogers, Ark. On Friday he advanced to seventh place with a five-bass catch weighing 14-8 while fishing with Tom Mann Jr. of Buford, Ga. He wrapped up his win while fishing with Land O’Lakes pro Keith Williams of Conway, Ark.
â€œWe got to do what I love to do, and that’s fish a big worm on this lake,â€ said Hunter, who is fishing in his second season of FLW Tour competition. â€œI live on the north end of the lake and I got to see water I’ve never seen before. It’s a lot different. The quality of fish is so much better down there.â€
Hunter said he had a limit by 10:30 and caught a total of six keepers throughout the course of the day. Hunter’s rig consisted of a 5/16-ounce bullet weight and a plum-colored Berkley PowerWorm Texas rigged on 12-pound Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon.
â€œIt’s tough to make a living as a co-angler, but this is just a learning experience for me,â€ said Hunter. â€œIf you catch them, that’s just a bonus. It’s awesome to be able to win one of these.
â€œI really thought I’d have to cull another fish and catch another 3- or 4-pounder to get it done, but it turns out I didn’t,â€ Hunter added.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are Dirk Davenport of Delaware, Ohio (five bass, 12-12, $7,500); Scott Gibson of Wiggins, Miss. (five bass, 12-10, $5,000); Mark Horton of Nicholasville, Ky. (five bass, 11-10, $4,000); Chuck Lee of South Bend, Ind. (five bass, 10-5, $3,500); Shawn Murphy of Nicholasville, Ky. (three bass, 10-3, $3,000); Larry Carter of Little Rock, Ark. (four bass, 10-0, $2,500); Rodney Brown of Eddyville, Ky. (one bass, 3-10, $2,000) and Matt Hoffman of Cold Spring, Ky. (zero bass, 0-0, $1,500).
Overall there were 38 bass weighing 108 pounds, 13 ounces caught in the Co-angler Division Saturday. The catch included six five-bass limits.