Ranger boats pro J.T. Kenney of Palm Bay, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 9 pounds, 4 ounces to win $125,000 at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Toho presented by Mercury with a four-day cumulative total of 20 bass weighing 76 pounds even.
After dominating the tournament for the first three days of competition and taking a 12-pound, 8-ounce lead into the final day, Kenney slipped a bit Sunday. But, despite valiant final-day efforts from Tour-veterans Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury of Springville, Alabama and Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tennessee, Kenney managed to hang on and win by a narrow 11-ounce margin.
"The weather was nice today so I went back and tried to catch the big ones in Kissimmee on the Gambler Fat Ace," said Kenney, who earned the second FLW Tour victory of his career. "I think that they must be done with their reproductive cycle - they were gone.
"I did the best that I could do," Kenney said. "I hate to use the cliché, but I left everything out on the water this week. It obviously worked out really good for me, but it has been a long week."
Kenney said that on the first two days of competition that he landed his big fish in Lake Kissimmee using a Gambler Fat Ace in black and blue, X-mas and watermelon red colors using 17-pound test Berkley Trilene fluorocarbon line on his J.T. Kenney-signature series Halo Rods. He was forced to scramble on day three, opting to fish in Lake Toho and switching to a Nichols Lures Pulsator spinnerbait to fill his limit. Kenney returned to Lake Kissimmee Sunday and managed to catch his limit and seal the win.
"There is no way that I could have won this tournament without the Power-Poles on the back of my boat," Kenney said. "I had exact spots that were the size of a five-gallon bucket that I needed to cast to, and I could pull up, pole down and sit there and milk it. Without those Power-Pole shallow water anchors there is no way that I could have did this.
"I stayed focus and stuck with my guns," Kenney went on to say. "If we had to restart this tournament tomorrow, there is not one single thing that I would do differently."
The top 10 pros finished the tournament:
1st: J.T. Kenney, Palm Bay, Fla., 20 bass, 76-0, $125,000
2nd: Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., 20 bass, 75-5, $30,000
3rd: Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., 20 bass, 74-11, $25,000
4th: Stacey King, Reeds Spring, Mo., 20 bass, 67-9, $20,000
5th: Bridgford Foods pro Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 20 bass, 65-6, $19,000
6th: Stetson Blaylock, Benton, Ark., 20 bass, 60-10, $18,000
7th: Bridgford Foods pro Randy Blaukat, Joplin, Mo., 20 bass, 59-9, $17,000
8th: Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., 20 bass, 56-8, $16,000
9th: Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 18 bass, 53-12, $15,000
10th: Ramie Colson Jr., Cadiz, Ky., 18 bass, 50-9, $14,500
Overall there were 46 bass weighing 124 pounds, 6 ounces caught by pros Sunday. Eight of the final 10 pros caught five-bass limits.
Bridgford Foods co-angler Chad Randles of Elkhorn, Nebraska, won the co-angler division and $20,000 Friday with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 29 pounds, 15 ounces, followed by Mark Holman of Cornelius, North Carolina, in second place with nine bass weighing 27 pounds, 11 ounces worth $7,500.
In addition to casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the pro division and up to $25,000 cash in the co-angler division, anglers are also competing this week for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aug. 20-23 on Lake Ouachita and is hosted by Visit Hot Springs. The Forrest Wood Cup Champion could win as much as $500,000 - professional bass-fishing's richest prize.
Coverage of the Lake Toho tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) when Season 20 of "FLW" premieres Sept. 28 from 7 p.m.-8 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.