Offshore will be where it’s at on Kentucky Lake when the Bassmaster Elite Series makes the first stop there of its final two events for the 2010 regular season, for the June 9-12 Tennessee Triumph out of Paris, Tenn.
Kentucky Lake has hosted a dozen BASS events, including the 2009 Tennessee Triumph, at which then-Elite Series sophomore pro Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., won his first BASS tournament with a total of 97 pounds, 9 ounces, after leading through all four days.
Fishing fans can catch all of the on-the-water action from the Tennessee Triumph on The Bassmasters, which airs Saturday, July 4, at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2. The daily weigh-ins for all regular-season Elite events and the two postseason events will air live on ESPN3.com.
Bassmaster.com will follow the Tennessee Triumph each day with BASSCast, BASSCam, real-time leaderboards during weigh-ins, photo galleries, daily results, and Hooked Up with ESPN Outdoors personalities Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders. Live, streaming video will be carried by ESPN3.com.
Kentucky Lake is 185 miles in length, with 160,000 surface acres and 2,380 miles of shoreline. Lake Barkley, a navigable canal, adds another 80,000 surface acres. Lane said that being a little late in the spawning season at Kentucky Lake means looking for the bass in their comfort zone – in deep water where they can ignore the trolling motors of 100 boats.
“I hope it’s exactly the same as last year,” said Lane, who learned at this event in 2009 that he had to leave his own comfort zone – fishing shallow – if he wanted to win. “They’ll be offshore – there’ll be some limits caught shallow, but offshore is the way to go. I had to learn that the hard way too many times. Every other tournament I’ve ever fished there, I’d fish the banks.”
Lane added that, since his Kentucky Lake win, gaining confidence in offshore fishing has helped him improve on a lot of other fisheries.
“The huge advantage is the fish will get on certain ledges – muscle bars, grass – and giant schools will group up out there and are much easier to catch,” he said. “In the springtime, the bank can’t be beat, but when they transition deeper, you might catch one 5-pounder on shore as opposed to culling 5-pounders offshore.
“They’re out of their comfort zone when they’re shallow and have to stay there for a couple days while they have deep water around them. When they spawn, they’re up and they’re gone. They love being out in the middle where nothing’s bothering them, feed in the mornings where there’s no traffic at all. And the bait is 100 times what it is on shore.”
Lane said he guesses it will take a daily five-fish limit of 22-plus pounds to stay in the top five, and after Day 2 the cut will be at around 18 to 20 pounds a day, “as long as they do some kind of generation schedule,” he said.
“The top-12 cut will need about 20 to 22 pounds a day, because spots replenish a little, but not as much this time of year. It’ll take about 90 to 100 pounds to win, again.”
The 2009 winner said he expects to see a lot of crankbaits, Carolina rigs and football head jigs, and on the bank anglers will most likely go to chatterbait and frogs.
“Guy Eaker weighed in 27 pounds one day last year off the bank, but those guys have about 20 percent chance to win it,” Lane said. “It’s just not enough this time of year, the weights steadily decline through the tournament.”
In the 2008 event on Kentucky Lake, reigning Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam’s winning weight of 84 pounds, 13 ounces, were courtesy of a variety of lures, including jigs, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. He keyed on rough spots on shell beds at the bottom of the lake.
Along with the top prize of $100,000, the Tennessee Triumph awards valuable points in the 2010 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race. In the heat of the chase, 2007 AOY and 2009 Bassmaster Classic winner Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., leads with 1,642 points. Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., is his closest competitor, in second place with 1,464.
Rounding out the top five in the AOY race are 2007 Rookie of the Year Derek Remitz of Grant, Ala., in third with 1,393; two-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Gary Klein of Weatherford, Texas, in fourth with 1,382; and Cliff Pace of Petal, Miss., in fifth with 1,381.
The public is invited to attend the daily launches (6 a.m. CT) Wednesday-Saturday and weigh-ins (3:30 p.m.) at Paris Landing State Park, 16055 Hwy. 79 N., Buchanan, Tenn. After Day 2’s competition Thursday, the field will be cut to the top 47 anglers for Day 3. Only the top 12 will go on to compete in Saturday’s Day 4.
Other activities Friday and Saturday at the Tennessee Triumph will begin at 1 p.m. CT at Paris Landing State Park. All events are free and open to the public.
The local sponsor of the Tennessee Triumph is the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce.
Up next for the Elite Series is the regular-season finale, the June 17-20 Sooner Run on the Arkansas River out of Muskogee, Okla.
The top 12 pros in the AOY standings at the end of the regular season will advance to the 2010 Bassmaster Elite Series postseason, in which the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year will be determined.
Toyota Trucks Championship Week is set for July 24-31 and will be played out once again on two productive Alabama fisheries. The first leg, the July 24-25 Trophy Chase, returns to Lake Jordan out of Wetumpka. The finale, the Evan Williams Bourbon Trophy Triumph, is slated for July 30-31 on the Alabama River from Montgomery.
Also, with two regular-season events to go, the race is heating up to qualify for the 2011 Bassmaster Classic on the Louisiana Delta out of New Orleans. Elite Series rookie Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part, La., and Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., are on the bubble, in 36th place (1,158 points) and 37th (1,139 points), respectively. Matt Herren of Trussville, Ala., is just behind them in 38th, with 1,133 points. BASS qualifies the top 36 anglers in the AOY standings for the Classic, but Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., the 2010 Classic champion, will automatically qualify, thereby allowing the angler in 37th place to make the Classic cut as VanDam is among the top 36 in AOY points, in 26th with 1,229.
Bassmaster Elite Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Skeeter, Yamaha and Bass Pro Shops.
Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Lowrance, Triton Boats, Nitro Boats and Ramada.
About BASS For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and its expansive tournament structure while championing efforts to connect directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles. As the flagship offering of ESPN Outdoors, the Bassmaster brand and its considerable multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer; comprehensive Web properties in Bassmaster.com, BASSInsider.com, ESPNOutdoors.com and ESPN360.com, and ESPN2 television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle. BASS oversees the prestigious Bassmaster Tournament Trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, BASS Federation Nation and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic. BASS offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.