Wednesday, May 23, 2018

T-H Marine Keeps Expanding


T-H Marine Supplies, Inc., of Huntsville, Alabama, announces the acquisition of the assets of Blue Water LED Enterprises, LLC (Blue Water) of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Blue Water designs, assembles, and sells a broad and unique line of LED light kits and lighting components for boats, kayaks, autos/trucks, trailers, ATVs/UTVs, golf carts, RVs, off-road vehicles, public safety vehicles, and utility trucks. Blue Water has long been known as the pioneer and market leader in LED light kits for bass boats and professional bass fishermen.

“We are so excited to announce the acquisition of the Blue Water assets," T-H Marine’s president, Jeff Huntley, stated. "We have long-admired the quality of their products and their status as the market share leader for aftermarket LED light kits. The team at Blue Water have built a great company of superior-quality products, all with a lifetime warranty, and we look forward of taking their vision to the next level.” 

“It’s been an awesome experience to grow our company and to meet so many of our customers and dealers," stated Jeff Hillard, one of the original founders and president of Blue Water LED. "Our faith-based company has operated on the principles of providing superior-quality products, excellent customer service, and an unprecedented lifetime warranty."

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Jason Lambert Wins 2018 FLW Tour Kentucky Lake with 101-09lbs!

Jason sets record with 28 pound winning margin.
(Photo: FLW)
No questions. No doubts. No surprises. No one even came close to catching Jason Lambert on the final day of the FLW Tour event presented by Costa Sunglasses on Kentucky Lake.
The Michie, Tenn., pro added another 27 pounds, 3 ounces to his total weight to finish with an astounding four-day total of 101 pounds, 9 ounces.
Lambert began the day with a lead of more than 19 pounds over Scott Martin, and finished with a winning margin of 28 pounds, which is a new FLW Tour record. The previous record was 23-9 by Randall Tharp at Lake Okeechobee in 2012. Lambert’s overall weight is the most ever at Kentucky Lake (besting his record of 97-2 from 2016), and ranks 10th all-time among FLW Tour events.
Since 2016, Lambert has won three multi-day FLW tournaments on Kentucky Lake, all during the months of May and June, which comprise the heart of the ledge-fishing season, and he’ll be back in a few weeks to compete in the Costa FLW Series tournament out of neighboring Lake Barkley, where he’ll be the odds-on favorite once again.
Yesterday, Lambert basically put it out of reach by catching 30 pounds, 8 ounces. He started on a community hole at the northern end of the lake and had 20 pounds in the box quickly. That was a main-lake spot where a school of hawgs was hanging out on a current-facing point on a narrow ridge. He then added a pair of 5-pounders and a 9-pound, 2-ounce kicker from another main-lake school that basically showed up that morning on an old waypoint.
Today, he blew everyone away in the first hour.
“I started this morning where I caught that 9-pounder and them two 5s yesterday,” Lambert says. “I had, like, two 3s and a 5. That was the very first three casts of the day.
“I had a lull after that for about 20 minutes or so, and then it got ridiculous again for 30 or 40 minutes. I caught probably eight or nine total. I caught some little guys too, though, and I stayed there until about 9:30.”

Drew Benton Wins 2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest on Lake Travis!

Benton grabs Classic spot!
Thomas Allen

Big time win for 1st time Elite winner Benton!
(Photo: BASS)
Drew Benton of Panama City, Fla., capped off an impressive week with a Championship Sunday five-bass limit that weighed 16 pounds, 15 ounces to win first place and $100,000 at the 2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The third-year pro finished in fourth place at his first tournament as a Bassmaster Elite Series contender; today he bested the Top 108 bass anglers in world with a four-day weight of 67-15.
Benton’s final day didn’t start out as planned.
After a minor rule infraction, he had to endure a 15-minute delay at take off, which he feared would impact his morning bite.
“It was a stupid mistake on my part,” he said. “But over the past couple of days, I was catching my best fish during the first 15 to 20 minutes of the morning in a marina up Lake Travis. I was sharing water with Marty Robinson, and he graciously agreed to let me have that area to myself, even after I sat in the penalty box for 15 minutes. That was huge, and I'm grateful he worked with me.”

Benton was sure to acknowledge Robinson’s generosity and sacrifice, although he later found out that due to the cloudy, rainy weather the action in his marina had faded.
“I’m confident the weather this morning really suppressed the shad activity that had the bass feeding so heavily during the previous mornings,” he said. “The weather also kept the pleasure boaters off the water, which allowed me to fish some areas that were otherwise unfishable.”
The 30-year-old angler had two different patterns going: One in the morning and one in the afternoon.
“I found some fish during practice that helped me throughout this tournament,” he said. “But I really didn’t put it together until later in the day on Day 1. I was using a walking topwater presentation that was working well throughout the day, even in the hot sun and clear skies. I decided to give it an hour during the first day, and it paid off.”

Benton was using a 7-foot, 1-inch Phenix Rods Feather casting rod paired with a Lew’s Team Pro Magnesium Speed Spool baitcaster in a 7.5:1 gear ratio loaded with 65-pound Smackdown Seaguar braid.

2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Lake Travis Day 3: Drew Benton Captures Lead with 51lbs.

Low light key to leaders
Thomas Allen

Benton focused on marinas to sack big bass early.
(Photo: BASS)
Drew Benton of Panama City, Fla., caught an impressive five-bass limit that weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces during today’s semi-final round to take command of the top spot at the 2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at Lake Travis.
Benton, the 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Rookie of the Year, pushed his three-day total weight up to 51 pounds.
With $1 million in total payout, $100,000 of which to be paid to the top finisher, the tournament champion will also earn a coveted berth in the 2019 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods in Knoxville, Tenn.
Benton said he’s focusing on the Lake Travis bass and not the blue championship trophy or the paycheck.
At least not yet.

“I’ve still got a full day of fishing ahead of me, so I can’t afford to think about how much winning would mean to me at this point,” Benton said. “Don’t get me wrong, I know how hard it is to win on the Elite Series, and I want it badly. It’s just important that I stay focused throughout the day.”
Benton said he was able to isolate a couple of productive fishing patterns over the past three days of competition — both time-of-day dependent.
“The low-light action early in the morning has been critical to my limits,” he said. “The morning bite has been lasting longer each day, and with a chance of rain and cloud cover likely all daytomorrow, I think my early pattern could stay strong for quite a while.”

Saturday, May 19, 2018

2018 FLW Tour Kentucky Lake Day 3: Lambert Controls with 74-06lbs!

His 30lb limit vaults Lambert 19lbs ahead of field.
(Photo: FLW)
Most folks assumed the FLW Tour event presented by Costa Sunglasses on Kentucky Lake would feature a final-day, down-to-the-wire duel between the two best ledge fishermen in the country, Randy Haynes and Jason Lambert. The two Tennessee Valley hammers were far in front of the rest of the top 30 coming into today’s third day of competition.
However, an unusual situation played out on Kentucky Lake this morning that, if you watched the FLW Live broadcast or followed the FLW coverage blog, you’re already aware of.
Shortly after takeoff, Lambert and Haynes both arrived on the same spot – a well-known community hole at the north end of the lake. It’s a spot that both anglers fished on days one and two. Lambert arrived first, and the two anglers ended up fishing side-by-side for several minutes. Lambert caught several keepers quickly. Frustrated by the situation, Haynes chose to give Lambert the spot and return to the ramp and finish his day early. Haynes officially finished with zero keepers today.
It was previously reported that Haynes had committed a rule infraction by failing to compete on a day in which he was qualified to fish. However, the tournament directors later clarified that, because Haynes did compete, there was no infraction. He voluntarily finished early.
Again, if you watched FLW Live or followed the blog, you know what happened next. Jason Lambert put an absolute beatdown on Kentucky Lake. By lunchtime, it was clear he had a mega-bag. By weigh-in time, it was clear he would be miles ahead of everyone else by the time the day was done. The only uncertainties were how big Lambert’s limit was, and exactly how far he’d be ahead of second place.
We got our answer back at Kentucky Dam State Park this afternoon, when Lambert weighed in a 30-pound, 8-ounce limit of bass, which was anchored by a 9-pound, 2-ounce giant. His three-day total stands at 74 pounds, 6 ounces. Scott Martin, now in second place, has 55-3. He’s 19 pounds, 3 ounces behind Lambert with one day left to fish.

2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Lake Travis Day 2: Jacob Wheeler Leaps into Lead!

Thomas Allen

Junk fishing key for Wheeler's lead.
(Photo: BASS)
Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn., fished “a hodge-podge" of lures, techniques and depths Friday to catch 18 pounds, 3 ounces of largemouth bass and take command of the 2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on Lake Travis.
“The way I’ve been catching my bass this week has been through a long list of tactics, lures and locations,” he said. “I’ve been fishing ‘hodge-podge.’ That’s the best way I can explain it. But that’s really how I like to fish, and it’s been working well for me.”
This isn’t the first time the second-year Bassmaster pro has been in the lead. Wheeler has two Elite Series victories to his credit, but Texas Fest carries more weight than a regular-season tournament.
His two-day weight of 35-7 moves him closer to the $100,000 first-place payday and a coveted berth into the 2019 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.The 27-year-old said he had 18 rods on the deck of his boat during Friday’s second round of competition, but he claimed to have learned more about his pattern as the day went on.
“I dialed in on them a little more today,” Wheeler said. “Not enough to say I’m confident in winning this tournament. Not just yet. I used most of the rods I had out, and I caught fish from 6 inches of water to 40 feet and I hit a bunch of spots. It was a hodge-podge day.”
Most pro anglers keep their cards close to the vest at this point in major tournaments, but he did say his big fish were coming from a couple specific structural elements.
“I still think it’s going to take 15 to 17 pounds a day to win on Lake Travis,” he said. “I’ve kept myself in position to potentially win even if I have a tough Saturday or Sunday. I'm very happy with how my day went, and I hope I can stay consistent into tomorrow.”

Friday, May 18, 2018

2018 FLW Tour Kentucky Lake Day 2: Haynes 1st Lambert 2nd in Ledge Shootout!

by Curtis Niedermier

Haynes, Lambert way out in front of the field.
(Photo: FLW)

With two more days to fish, it might be a hair early to declare the FLW Tour event presented by Costa Sunglasses a two-horse race. But then again, when Randy Haynes has the lead going into the weekend, Jason Lambert is only 2 pounds, 4 ounces behind him, and the next closest competitor is another 6 pounds back, you might as well start preparing for a ledge-master showdown.
No one in the world is better at plying Tennessee River ledges than Haynes and Lambert. They’ve done more to prove it this week than ever, with impressive back-to-back limits in what has been a very challenging opening round of fishing.
Haynes set the pace with limits of 26-3 on day one and 19-15 today, for a two-day total of 46-2. Lambert trails with 43-14. His limits went 24-6 and 19-8
Today was the first day each reported experiencing those classic Kentucky Lake flurries that loads the boat quickly. But their weights did drop, and they really had to earn every bite.
“It was a struggle today,” says Haynes. “I had to relocate my fish today. I had to catch them a totally different way.”
The Mississippi pro put a pair of 2 1/2-pounders in the livewell real early to start off the FLW coverage blog. Then he hit a lull. Eventually, Haynes spent about 45 minutes running some secondary areas. With nothing happening on those spots, he returned to his starting area – the same place he caught his weight on day one – and everything turned around.
“I hit a pretty good window after I relocated,” says Haynes. “I finally got a little Tennessee River flurry, where I caught five or six pretty quick.”
Haynes filled his limit at about 11:30 and upgraded a couple times after that. He says he caught eight keepers on the day using a Zoom Swimmer and a couple of other swimbaits. Part of the reason he changed from the deep-diving crankbait that he fished on day one to the swimbait on day two was to slow down his presentation and get more bites, but he also needed a break from cranking to rest an aching shoulder. Yesterday, he wound that crankbait hard and fast all day long.

2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Lake Travis Day 1: Hanselman Captures Lead with 21-05lbs!

Cliff Pace with 10 pounder!

Morning bite key to big bass success.
(Photo: BASS)
A heavy, 21-pound, 15-ounce limit of largemouth bass, anchored by an impressive 7-9 big fish, put Ray Hanselman Jr. of Del Rio, Texas, in the lead after the opening round of competition at the 2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on Lake Travis.
Texas Fest offers fans a unique format under which the majority of the fish are caught, weighed and immediately released. Each pro is allowed to keep one big bass that measures more than 18 inches.
Each big bass will be brought to the scales, weighed and showed off to the Bassmaster cameras. The bass are then immediately returned to Lake Travis after the weigh-in has concluded.
Hanselman grew up in South Texas, and has guided bass fisherman on legendary Lake Amistad for many years. After noticing many similarities between Lake Travis and Amistad, he was confident in what he needed to do.
“The water color on Lake Travis is very similar to Amistad. But the biggest difference is there isn’t any grass here,” Hanselman said. “I just clicked with this lake. I’ve fished many of the other lakes in this chain and they are all pretty similar, but overall I don’t have much experience on this particular lake.”
The 45-year-old rookie earned an invitation to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series by finishing among the Top 5 in standings for the 2017 Bass Pro Shops Central Opens last year.
“The weather has been hot and calm, which makes my morning bite critical,” he said. “I’d feel a lot better about staying consistent if some clouds and wind would move in. It’s harder to fool these bass in water this clear.”
Lake Travis is known for its gin-clear water and substantial fishing pressure due to close proximity to Austin, Texas.
“Another 20-pound day is sure possible, but getting the right fish to bite at the right time is the challenge,” he said. “I caught my three big bass from the same stretch that was about 250 yards long. After that, I left it alone hoping to save some bigger fish for coming days of the tournament.”
Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., managed an impressive 21-2, which will have him starting Friday’ssecond round of competition in second place.
“I fished real clean today,” Lane said. “I caught three big fish and I got them into the boat without any problems. That doesn’t always happen, especially when you’re fishing around wires, cables, pipes and docks. Lake Travis is full of those types of things.”

Thursday, May 17, 2018

2018 FLW Tour Kentucky Lake Day 1: Randy Haynes Smashed 26-03lbs!

Ledge fishing is not dead at Kentucky!
(Photo: FLW)
Normally, when Randy Haynes catches them big on the Tennessee River, then reports a tough day and a lack of confidence that he can repeat a big limit for a second day, he’s sandbagging like crazy. This time around on Kentucky Lake, in the FLW Tour event presented by Costa, the Ripley, Miss., pro’s “tough day” statements might be more accurate … but he’s probably still sandbagging a little.
Haynes pounded out 26 pounds, 3 ounces to take the day-one lead, but instead of walloping fish all day long and targeting dozens of schools, he got it done from one key area, and he had to really lean hard on them to get there
“I kind of burned the hole down today, so I might have nothing tomorrow,” Haynes says. “I was very fortunate to have what I had. I grinded it out. The bites I had were just the right ones.”
His uncertainty stems from the fact that the fish just haven’t made it out in big numbers to Haynes’ favorite ledges. He checked spots deep and shallow, and areas traditionally good early in the season and late. They’re essentially behind schedule. If they continue to show up over the next few days, however, watch out, because he’s one of the best at the offshore game.
Haynes struck out on his first five or so spots this morning. He ended up catching a couple of keepers on his key area mid-morning. For the next couple hours, he bounced around and checked a number of spots without much luck. A return trip in the afternoon produced most of his weight. All totaled, he says he landed only six keepers.
“There were 10 fish on that spot. I caught six of them. My co-angler caught a couple. It’s burned to the ground now.”
The good thing for Haynes is he’s not encountering a lot of fishing pressure from the rest of the field. He says the area is “wide open,” meaning he can check just about anything he wants without having to dodge other boats. That’s the way he likes it.