FLORENCE, Ala. – If FLW Outdoors continues to have American Fishing Series events on Pickwick Lake, they might have to consider changing the name of the event to the Randy Haynes Benefit Tournament.
For the second time in his fishing career, Randy Haynes of Counce, Tenn., has won an AFS event on Pickwick Lake. His first win came in June of 2008 and Haynes is also credited with piloting a fishing team to victory in a PAA Corporate Cup in 2008 as well.
Today Haynes put an exclamation point on his Pickwick dominance with a closing limit of 20 pounds, 9 ounces to give him a three-day total of 63-10, over a 10-pound margin of victory. He collected $18,933 for his win.
“Anytime I win on Pickwick it’s special to me,” said the 37-year old hardwood flooring contractor. “It’s my home lake and I feel like I’ve defended my turf.”
Haynes key baits during the week included a Strike King 6XD crankbait (sexy shad), a Strike King Sexy Spoon, a ¾-ounce football head jig teamed with a Rage Craw trailer and Carolina-rigged Zoom Brush Hog.
Haynes noted that the biggest difference between his win in ’08 and now is the sheer numbers of bass in Pickwick these days.
“Back then there were not as many fish in the lake, so I had to use a grub a lot,” Haynes said. “But now, there are so many fish out there, and they’re so competitive, that I can use a crankbait and sometimes a spoon to catch them.”
Haynes also said that this time of year the bait and bass tend to stack up higher in the water column than in the early summer.
“In June, a lot of time those fish will hunker down on the bottom on those ledges and dragging lures are more of a key,” he said. “But now, they’re up chasing shad around. When I ride over a place I can tell what mode the fish are in just by looking at my depthfinder. I can’t really explain it, but based on how those fish look on my graph determines what I throw to catch them.”
Haynes spent a majority of his fishing time from Bear Creek to the Tennessee State line (Tennessee water was off-limits) where the ledges are deeper and grass has less of an influence. His best ledges were 14 to 22 feet deep.
“I know a lot of people probably think I go to the same holes over and over again for these wins,” Haynes said. “But I can tell you that’s not the case. A lot of ledge fishing is just like any other type of fishing, you have to keep an open mind and constantly search out new places and try different lures – these lakes are always changing and the fish are always moving.”
“I’ve been fishing this lake for 12 years and each time I’ve won a big tournament out here I’ve found the winning spot during the practice round – they were totally new spots to me,” he continued. “The spot that produced the best for me in this tournament, I found Wednesday afternoon and it was a place I had never fished before. Even with ledge fishing you can’t get too set in your ways and stop experimenting. These fish move so much, each week new spots develop out there as fish move from one ledge and stack up on another. But that’s the part of this game I love so much – there’s always a new gem to find out there.”
William Davis of Sheffield, Ala., finished second with a three-day total of 53 pounds, 2 ounces worth $6,437.
Davis spent much of the week slow-rolling a ½-ounce L.B.’s spinnerbait (white and chartreuse) along deep grass lines.
He also used a football-head jig and a Carolina-rigged Brush Hog on deeper ledges at times. He did most of his fishing between the Trace and Indian Creek.
“My ledge fish moved on me and I never really figured out where they moved to,” Davis said. “So my back up pattern was the grass where I slow-rolled the spinnerbait.”
Kevin Snider of Elizabethtown, Ky., finished third with a three-day total of 45 pounds, 14 ounces worth $4,544.
In addition, Snider was also the AFS points leader in the Southeast Division meaning he has now qualified for the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup to be held at Lake Ouachita in Arkansas next August.
Snider spent his week fishing a ¾-ounce football-head jig teamed with a Prowler Flapping Craw in the Waterloo area. His key depth was the bottom of a 20-foot ditch that ran out of a big grass bed.
“I caught so many fish this week and I think a big key for me getting so many bites was going to light fluorocarbon in 10- and 12-pound tests,” Snider said. “When it got really tough I’d drop down to 10-pound test and instantly it made a different in the number of bites I would get.”
Jade Keeton of Florence, Ala., finished in fourth place with a three-day total of 44 pounds, 9 ounces worth $3,787.
While most pros focused on grass fish or deep ledges, Keeton chose a strategy based on schooling fish in current.
He caught nearly all of his fish waking a Bomber Long A on the surface.
Michael Wooley of Collierville, Tenn., finished in fifth place with a three-day total of 44 pounds, 4 ounces worth $3,408.
Wooley relied on a ¼-ounce Strike King shaky head with a green pumpkin Trick Worm tied to 15-pound line to catch most of his fish this week.
He spent most of his time fishing three humps around the Trace area that topped out in about 14 feet of water.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 pros in the FLW American Fishing Series event on Pickwick Lake:
6th: Leon Williams of Fairdale, Ky., three-day total of 44-3, $3029
7th: Nathan Brewer of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., three-day total of 42-12, $2651
8th: Adam Lynch of Hamilton, Ala., three-day total of 38-14, $2272
9th: Shawn Perrigo of Rienzi, Miss., three-day total of 36-15, $1893
10th: Erwin Cole of Murfreesboro, Tenn., three-day total of 30-14, $1515.00