Big bags expected at Triton Owners Kentucky Lake event
BUCHANAN, Tenn. -- About 300 teams will compete in the Triton Owners Tournament, set for June 4-5, 2010, on Kentucky Lake near Buchanan, Tenn.
“This is an opportunity for Triton Boats to say ‘thank you’ to owners of their boats,” said Randy Sullivan, tournament director with American Bass Anglers. “It’s a two-day team event where at least one person in the team must own a Triton boat. The Triton owner can pick anyone for a partner as long as that person hasn’t paid more than $1,500 in entry fees to any professional level tournament during the last two years.”
The anglers launch out of Paris Landing State Park at safe light both days and may fish any waters in the Kentucky Lake or Barkley Lake system. On the Tennessee River, Kentucky Lake spreads over 160,300 acres, creating more than 2,400 miles of shorelines. Lake Barkley runs nearly parallel to Kentucky Lake for 57,900 acres along the Cumberland River, offering about 1,004 miles of shoreline. Both lakes contain good populations of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass.
The weigh-in begins at 3 p.m. June 4 and 2 p.m. June 5. Everyone fishes both days with the highest cumulative weight taking top honors. Anglers may also fish for big bass prizes. One lucky competitor will also win a new Triton boat package by lottery.
David Gnewikow of Mount Juliet, Tenn., won the May 29-30, 2009, event on Kentucky Lake with a two-day bag going 48.47 pounds to collect $7,000. Scott Mansfield of Erin, Tenn., took second with 46.32 pounds, followed by Eric Law of Primm Spring, Tenn., with 45.64 pounds. Jerry Bond of Paducah, Ky., placed fourth with 44.52 pounds chased by Ritchie Anderson of Greenback, Tenn., with 43.31 pounds.
Mike Tabor of Jackson, Tenn., landed big bass honors with an 8-pound largemouth, followed by Monty Daniel of Luray, Tenn., with a 7.31-pounder and Bob Brody of Avoca, Pa., with a 7.19-pounder. Rogne Brown of Hixson, Tenn., caught the top smallmouth, a 5.52-pounder.
“Kentucky Lake has some really big bass,” Gnewikow said. “People catch some 7- to 9-pounders and an occasional 10-pounder. Last year, the 5-pounders were plentiful. This year, things are a lot tougher. I don’t think it’s going to take as much weight to get a check, but the big weights will still be up there. I don’t think we’ll see as many 22- to 25-pound bags as last year, but it will probably take about 48 pounds to win with an 8-plus as the big bass.”
In 2009, Gnewikow fished deep-running crankbaits in Sexy Shad or chartreuse and blue. With post-spawn fish coming off the flats and heading out to deeper channels, he’ll stick to that winning strategy and hit offshore ledges this year with crankbaits, 3/4-ounce football jigs, spoons and worms.
“Without a doubt, the tournament will be won by someone fishing offshore ledges,” Gnewikow predicted. “Big flutter spoons are good for fishing ledges. A 10-inch worm is another good bait for this time of year. A lot of people catch fish by dragging Carolina rigs over the bottom. Most ledges top out at about 10 to 15 feet deep and drop off into 20 to 40 feet of water.”
Law won a Triton TR19 in a previous tournament, but now drives a Triton 21X. He predicts it will take 45 to 47 pounds to win the two-day event. He also fished deep last year, catching most of his fish on Strike King crankbaits or black and blue jigs in 10 to 15 feet of water. In the 2009 event, Law led the first day with a 26.33-pound sack, but someone beat him to his hole on the second day.
“We should have done better the second day, but didn’t,” Law admitted. “When some guys sat on our spot, we had to go looking for fish. I have 25 to 50 spots that I might fish on Kentucky Lake. The bass are coming off the beds and are gorging themselves on shad. When bass are schooled up, anglers can catch a pile of fish with crankbaits on Kentucky Lake. I’m going to fish deep channel drops and ditches off the main river with a jig, a big worm or a crankbait.”
Like last year, high water hit the area again this year as intense rain flooded parts of Tennessee a few weeks ago. The lake level rose several feet, but dropped in time for the tournament. With high water, many bass moved into flooded brush. While people can still catch fish shallow, the falling water pulled bigger bass into the depths.
“Kentucky Lake is a phenomenal lake,” Law said. “It’s just full of 3.5- to 5-pound bass. The water is stable now. It’s back down to summer pool and looking pretty good.”
Although the competitors cannot pick professionals as partners, several top Team Triton anglers will be on hand to greet the crowds and swap stories at Paris Landing State Park. For more information, call Sullivan at 256-230-5633 or Bernie House, Triton Boats events manager, at 888-887-4866. For Paris Landing State Park information, call 1-800-250-8614.