Kenney extends lead at FLW Tour opener on Lake Toho
presented by Mercury FLW Outdoors
Professional angler J.T. Kenney of Palm Bay, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Friday weighing 22 pounds, 9 ounces to extend his lead at the FLW Tour at Lake Toho presented by Mercury. Kenney's two-day cumulative weight of 52-7 gives him a substantial 12-pound, 10-ounce lead over second-place pro Stacey King of Reeds Spring, Missouri, who has a two-day weight of 10 bass worth 39-13 as the tournament heads into the third day of competition. The field is now cut to the top 20 in the four-day event that features 154 of the best bass-fishing anglers in the world casting for the top cash award of up to $125,000.
"It was definitely a little tougher out there today," said Kenney, who has three career victories in FLW competition. "I went to a lot of the fish that I had marked and a lot of them didn't bite. Luckily, 22 pounds of them still did."
Ranger boats pro JT Kenney said that his morning bite was extremely slow but improved as the sun came out and the day progressed. He didn't fill his limit until 11 a.m. today.
JT Kenney (FLWFishing.com)
"I had five decent bass today, and I had two real good ones get off," Kenney said. "I'm really doing some serious fish management. I've got some back up stuff that's not spawning fish that I haven't even touched yet. And I've got a lot more spawning fish marked that I haven't gone to. I don't think I've got anything that will produce another 30-pound bag like yesterday, but I'm going to catch some more good ones."
The top 20 pros that made the Buck Knives Cut and will fish Saturday on Lake Toho are:
1st: J.T. Kenney, Palm Bay, Fla., 10 bass, 52-7
2nd: Stacey King, Reeds Spring, Mo., 10 bass, 39-13
3rd: Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., 10 bass, 38-14
4th: Alex Davis, Albertville, Ala., 10 bass, 34-14
5th: Bridgford Foods pro Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 10 bass, 34-7
6th: Ramie Colson Jr., Cadiz, Ky., 10 bass, 34-1
7th: Shane Lehew, Mooresville, N.C., 10 bass, 33-2
8th: Stetson Blaylock, Benton, Ark., 10 bass, 33-1
9th: Brad Knight, Lancing, Tenn., 10 bass, 32-15
10th: Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., 10 bass, 32-15
11th: Lionel Botha, Fort Pierce, Fla., 10 bass, 32-12
12th: Keystone Light pro Jeff Sprague, Point, Texas, 10 bass, 32-10
13th: James Biggs, Euless, Texas, 10 bass, 32-0
14th: Bridgford Foods pro Randy Blaukat, Joplin, Mo., 10 bass, 32-0
15th: Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 10 bass, 31-15
16th: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 10 bass, 31-13
17th: Marshall Deakins, Dunlap, Tenn., 10 bass, 31-9
18th: Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., 10 bass, 31-3
19th: Travis Fox, Rogers, Ark., 10 bass, 30-13
20th: Bridgford Foods pro Matthew Stefan, Junction City, Wis., 10 bass, 30-12
Colson won the Bridgford Big Bass Award on the pro side Friday with a monster bass weighing 11 pounds even - tying the record for the third largest bass ever weighed in FLW Tour competition - to win the $500 prize.
Stefan was named the Buck Knives Cut winner and awarded the limited edition FLW Buck Knife that is given to the 20th place pro following the day two weigh-in at each FLW Tour event.
Overall there were 684 bass weighing 1,536 pounds, 9 ounces caught by 152 pros Friday. The catch included 117 five-bass limits.
David Smith of Del City, Oklahoma, was forced to withdraw from the competition due to illness.
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.
"I'm ecstatic right now," said Randles. "I wasn't able to catch a limit at all in three days of practice. I wasn't sure how my week was going to pan out, but to come out here and get the win is just awesome."
The top 10 co-anglers finished:
1st: Chad Randles, Elkhorn, Neb., 10 bass, 29-15, $20,000
2nd: Mark Holman, Cornelius, N.C., nine bass, 27-11, $7,500
3rd: John Hunter, Shelbyville, Ky., nine bass, 27-7, $5,000
4th: Lee Black, Danville, Ala., 10 bass, 23-13, $4,000
5th: Billy Dehart, Burlingame, Calif., eight bass, 23-8, $3,000
6th: Joshua Weaver, Macon, Ga., 10 bass, 22-5, $2,500
7th: Brian Burgess, Palm City, Fla., five bass, 21-15, $2,000
8th: Sean Richards, Carson City, Nev., 10 bass, 21-5, $1,800
9th: Mike Devere, Berea, Ky., nine bass, 20-11, $1,700
10th: Josh Smith, Hamilton, Ohio, nine bass, 20-10, $1,600
Burgess caught Friday's Bridgford Big Bass in the co-angler division weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces to win the $250 prize.
Overall there were 442 bass weighing 767 pounds, 12 ounces caught by co-anglers Friday. The catch included 43 five-bass limits.
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.
Anglers will take off from Big Toho Marina located at 69 Lakeview Drive in Kissimmee at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday and at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday's final take off. Saturday and Sunday's final weigh-ins will be held at the marina beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will also be treated to the FLW Expo on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at Big Toho Marina prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes a Ranger boat simulator, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.
In conjunction with the FLW Expo, the FLW "Get Outdoors. Go Fish!" Youth Fishing Derby will also be held at Big Toho Marina on Saturday from noon - 3 p.m. The derby is free and open to area youth 15 years of age and younger. FLW Tour pros who are not one of the top 20 anglers that make the Buck Knives Cut will be on hand to assist the youth. Pros Rich Dalbey and Todd Hollowell's "Hooked on Helping" foundation will also be hosting a food drive to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. FLW fans who donate five or more cans of food will be entered to win a $50 Walmart gift card.
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.