Day 3 - 2nd Place (Final)
Kentucky Lake set up to Haynes’ liking and he seemed to catch fish everywhere he roamed, from the dam south to Tennessee waters. On the last day, however, Haynes ran out of big fish and lacked the kicker that might have rendered him bulletproof. As it was his 21-pound, 13-ounce limit was one of the best of the day.
Haynes was fishing Profound Outdoors Z-Boss 20 and 25 crankbaits on ledges inside or outside the mouths of major creeks and coves – pretty much the same sort of structure Redington was covering.
“It seemed like the fish were hitting the bait instead of eating it. I got tons of short strikes,” says Haynes of Saturday’s fishing. “The other two days, they were really nailing it. I should have done some things a little differently [Saturday] once I realized they were transitioning. Some of them moved on me too.”
Haynes came within an eyelash of making Rayovac FLW Series history. Had he won, it would have meant a record sixth Rayovac title. At present, he’s tied with Koby Kreiger and Bryan Schmitt with five Rayovac wins apiece.
Day 2 - 1st Place
Same church, different pew.
This time last year, Randy Haynes was poised to win the Rayovac FLW Series tournament on Kentucky Lake, which took place out of Kenlake State Park. This year, the event is headquartered at Moors Resort & Marina farther up the lake, but otherwise everything else is pretty much the same.
Haynes, a certifiable master of ledge fishing, jumped from fifth place to first in this year’s tournament with a 25-pound, 15-ounce sack Friday. It gave him 47 pounds, 15 ounces overall. In claiming the lead, Haynes replaced Texan Tom Redington, the opening-round leader with 24-13. Redington had 21-9 Friday, and is 1 pound, 9 ounces behind Haynes.
“It was one of those days when everything seemed to work out,” Haynes says of his second round. “I ran from the dam down to Danville [between Paris Landing and New Johnsonville, Tenn.] checking spots. It’s all about timing. I must have fished 40 or 50 spots and there’s no telling how many others I looked at.”
Of course, it takes Haynes about 20 seconds to fish a spot. If he doesn’t catch enough fish to suit him, he moves on. And when he stops to look at a potential target, it’s to check the disposition of the fish with his electronics, and to determine whether they seem to be bunched up near the bottom and ready for action. If he doesn’t like what he sees, he leaves without wetting a line.
Haynes, of Counce, Tenn., isn’t the only one ledge hopping, and close behind him are pros known for their prowess at firing up offshore schooling bass. Among them are Brandon Hunter (3rd) of Benton, Ky., and David Fields (5th) of Murray, Ky. – both Kentucky Lake regulars – as well as Walmart pro Mark Rose (4th). Jason Lambert (10th) and Rose finished second and third, respectively, to Haynes in 2014. In fact, there’s nary a flipper or shallow-water specialist in the top 10, which is indicative of how this event has evolved into a deep-water duel.
Still, Haynes might be in a class by himself. Though he might falter Saturday in the championship round, if anything he seems to be gaining momentum and on his way to his fourth Rayovac win in as many seasons.
“I think I’ve got something figured out about how to make them bite,” says Haynes. “I’m using Profound Outdoors Z-Boss 20 and 25 crankbaits and mixing in a swimbait and a jig every once in a while. I’m fishing water anywhere from 8 feet on down to about 25 feet. I’ve been trying to find the best section of the lake where the fish respond the best to what I’m doing. What I need to do is keep getting one or two of those better kicker fish. I culled a couple of 4-pounders today [Friday] and didn’t lose any big fish, so I’m feeling pretty good about Saturday.”
Day 3 - 5th place
Haynes is fishing a prototype crankbait from Profound Outdoors called the Z-Boss 25, which dives to about 25 feet on 15-pound-test fluorocarbon. He made more stops than the mailman Thursday, ranging from well below Paris Landing to the upper reaches of the lake. In fact, he ran out of fuel just in front of Moors and had to be towed in.
"I'm scared every time I throw that Z-Boss 25 [silver with black back] because it's the only one I've got and I can't afford to lose it," says Haynes. "Friday I might go out like it's another day of practice. To me the fun part of this tournament is trying to be the guy who finds the fresh batches of fish that just moved out. Whoever that is, he's going to have a strong chance of winning.
"You've got to stay ahead of the fish and the other fishermen to do well in this tournament," he continues. "Everybody is wearing out the fish that are already there. What I need to do is get on the ones that are just now showing up."