Saturday, March 7, 2015

2015 Walmart FLW Tour Lake Toho Day 2: JT Kenney Leads by 12 Pounds!

Big Spawners Keeping Kenney King
JT Kenney has a tournament strategy on Lake Toho that, at the halfway point, seems to be bulletproof. What’s at the heart of that strategy?
Red dots.

Blind casting to big spawners found in practice paying off for JT. (Photo: FLW)
During the practice round of the Walmart FLW Tour event, which is presented by Mercury, Kenney decided to color-code his waypoints. His coloring system was pretty simple – mark the biggest fish with red waypoints, and then use various other colors for other fish of lesser grade. That’s the simple explanation.

So far his game of connecting the dots has translated into leading the event with 52 pounds, 7 ounces, more than 12 pounds ahead of Stacey King in second place. And the bad news for the rest of the field is that Kenney has plenty more red dots he has not “cleaned up.”
If you are wondering why other anglers weren’t able to cruise the shallows looking for beds and marking them with the same results as Kenney, it’s because the Palm Bay, Fla., pro’s method was not that simple. The red-dot fish were not found visually. He found them by fishing.

During the off-season, Kenney spent a great deal of time preparing for this event by scouting the Kissimmee Chain for the exact types of places where the lake’s bigger fish spawn: scattered lily pads. Then during practice he fished in only those areas, casting a soft-plastic bait with no hook to small scattered-pad areas. When his line moved off nice and easy, “like the big ones usually do,” Kenney says, that location was awarded a red dot. After three days of practice Kenney had reduced the massive lake system down to nine little areas, each containing anywhere from one to seven red dots.
Yesterday he went to the place that had the most dots and sacked 29-14. Today he had to rely on several other areas that contained just one or two dots, which produced 22-9.

“Some of these places have just one dot on them,” Kenney says. “I cleaned some of those up today.”
The weather today was not at all conducive to Kenney’s plan. Dark, overcast with a nippy north wind, the conditions put a major damper on the overall catch for the field. But there was one window today when the sun came out and the waters slicked off, and that’s when Kenney made red-dot hay.
“When that little window came, I ran some good dots and caught the ones that were there,” he says. “On one place I never even had to put the trolling motor down. I just glided in, made the cast and she bit.”
That’s a good indication of just how well Kenney is dialed in on his red-dot program. And it looks like there will be more of that in the works for the next couple of days.
“I still have plenty of dots to investigate,” he says. “I’ve mostly been in Kissimmee the last two days, but I have some dots up in Toho that I plan to utilize as well.”
This now begs the question: Can Kenney continue to connect the dots without another pattern in play? He thinks so.

“I’ve got a couple of areas where I think I can catch some smaller fish just casting and winding,” he says. “But I’d rather keep running the red dots because that’s where the quality is found.”
As for lures, Kenney says he’ll reveal more detail in the coming days. He’s only willing to admit that he’s using a Texas-rigged soft-plastic bait.

Top 10 Pros
1. JT Kenney – 52-7 (10)
2. Stacey King – 39-13 (10)
3. Scott Canterbury – 38-14 (10)
4. Alex Davis – 34-14 (10)
5. Luke Clausen – 34-7 (10)
6. Ramie Colson Jr. – 34-10 (10)
7. Shane LeHew – 33-2 (10)
8. Stetson Blaylock – 33-1 (10)
9. Brad Knight – 32-15 (10)
10. Wesley Strader – 32-15 (10)

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