Kentucky Lake EverStart Winning Pattern
Randy Haynes now has three EverStart titles on his résumé. (Photo: FLW/Jennifer Simmons)
By Todd Ceisner
Randy Haynes was busy doing his homework on Kentucky Lake’s numerous offshore ledges when pal and FLW Tour pro Mark Rose called him a couple weeks ago. Rose was calling to see if Haynes was interested in fishing the Lake Guntersville Southeast EverStart as it was evident Guntersville’s ledges were holding untold numbers of fish.
An admitted ledge-fishing junkie, Haynes put his practice at Kentucky Lake on hold, scored a 13th-place finish at Guntersville on short notice, then came back and won the Kentucky Lake Central EverStart the following week.
“He got me straightened out,” Haynes said of Rose, whom he’s known for several years.
Haynes’ weights increased each day and he closed with a 19-10 stringer on day 3 to finish with 54-06. His total was nearly 4 pounds better than runner-up and Kentucky Lake stalwart Sam Lashlee.
The hardwood flooring installer from Counce, Tenn., collected his third career EverStart title, but this one carries a little more meaning seeing it didn’t come on his home waters of Lake Pickwick, site of his other two wins.
“This one, being away from home, is definitely on top because some of the best fishermen on the lake were there,” he said. “It was pretty much a who’s who of Kentucky Lake. It was a full-fledged ledge-fishing deal, which is what I love.”
Here’s how he did it.
Those who know Haynes’ fishing pedigree know that he’s not one to stay close to the bank. That’s why it took him little time to dissect certain areas and determine the better fish would be caught offshore.
He’d pinpointed close to 20 schools of fish that he planned to work on during the tournament, but when he returned from Guntersville and resumed his practice, many of the fish had moved, which had him worried.
“There was a big change,” he said. “When I got back on Saturday and Sunday, the fish were everywhere. There were so many fish in those schools, I don’t think you could catch them out in 5 days. I’ve never seen so many fish. By the time the tournament came, they disappeared. Everybody was saying the same thing. They made a little move and that’s a reason why the weights were down. Nobody could figure it out.”
> Day 1: 5, 15-05
> Day 2: 5, 19-07
> Day 3: 5, 19-10
> Total = 15, 54-06
The opening day of competition was a bit of a struggle for Haynes. He fished in the Blood River where he’d found good fish in practice, but couldn’t get on anything consistent there. He also checked an area at the north end of the lake that he thought would’ve come around in time for the tournament, but again, no luck.
While he brought around 40 keepers into the boat, if they weren’t in the 2 1/2- to 3-pound range, they went back. He boxed a couple good fish in the morning and squeezed three more out deep the rest of the day, catching his fish on a deep-diving crankbait and an Alabama Rig.
He was focused on the 18- to 35-foot depth range because the fish would stage on top of the ledges in the mornings, then push back and suspend for a bit before settling into deeper water later in the day.
“When they went deep, it was hard to get the better fish,” he said.
On day 2, he focused on areas he had in the southern portion of the lake and that’s where he hit paydirt with the crankbait. He had his weight by 9 o’clock and spent the rest of the day searching for more schools.
He threw the rattling version of the Strike King Series 6 XD in the morning, targeting fish on tops of the ledges. When they’d move off the bars, he’d throw the silent version and clip the lip of the ledge, which would trigger reaction strikes from the suspending fish.
Once the fish would move out deep in the afternoon, he’d drag a football jig along the bottom, but he wasn’t able to raise the quality fish.
“I could catch them on that every cast, but after catching 10 fish on 10 casts you’re not catching anything that helps,” he said. “You had to throw the crankbait.”
His prime depth for the crankbait was 18 to 20 feet, which is where the fish were suspending about 5 feet off the bottom. He caught 19-07 to make the cut in 3rd place, just 1-05 behind leader Lance Ricketts.
Photo: FLW/Jennifer Simmons
A 1-ounce football jig and a deep-diving crankbait were Haynes' most effective baits at Kentucky Lake
He did the same thing in the same areas on day 3, but was worried he’d put too much of a hurting on them the previous day.
“I beat those fish up pretty bad because you never know on Kentucky Lake and I was trying to make the cut,” he said. “I thought I was out of fish, but they moved about 50 yards and I found them and got lucky to crack them again.”
His 19-10 stringer was the heaviest among the 10 finalists and was 6 pounds better than Ricketts.
“I don’t know what’s community up there because I’ve never fished there on weekends and that probably worked to my advantage,” he said. “I just took a bunch of time and looked.”
Winning Gear Notes
> Crankbait gear: 7’11” medium-heavy unnamed crankbait rod, Shimano Chronach casting reel (5.1:1 ratio), 10-, 12- and 15-pound Seaguar InvisX fluorocarbon line, Strike King Series 6 XD crankbait (chartreuse sexy shad or green gizzard shad).
> Haynes threw the chartreuse sexy shad plug in the morning and had better success with the green gizzard shad in the afternoon.
> He tried doing some long-lining with his crankbait, but he couldn’t get bit consistently.
> Jig gear: 7’ heavy-action G. Loomis GLX casting rod, same reel, 20-pound Seaguar InvisX fluorocarbon line, 1-ounce Strike King Tour Grade football jig (summer craw), Strike King Rage Tail Lobster (double header/red).
The Bottom Line
> Main factor in his success – “Meeting up with (Mark) Rose down at Guntersville. He fine-tuned me down there. We’re joined at the hip when it comes to (fishing) ledges. It’s nice to know someone who loves it as much as you do.”
> Performance edge – “My four Lowrance HDS-10s with StructureScan and my HydroWave and MotorGuide trolling motor. I’m a big believer in technology.”