Oct. 11, 2012
Straight Talk pro J.T. Kenney
Palm Bay, Fla.
, took the early lead at the
Walmart FLW Tour Open on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury
with a five-bass limit that weighed 19 pounds, 6 ounces. A field of the best bass professionals in the world are battling it out for a first-place cash prize of up to
. Kenney leads second-place angler
, by 2 pounds, 4 ounces.
Link to photo of pro leader JT Kenney
Rayburn turned into a fickle fishery Thursday as many of the pros struggled to catch a limit and seasoned professionals were heard saying that they weighed their lightest bag ever in competition. But the Straight Talk pro figured something out, and his bag was anchored by two bass that each weighed over 6 pounds.
Kenney, known for his strength of flipping grass, indicated that he had not caught a bass flipping grass since January on Lake Okeechobee. Instead, he has found a new fascination with offshore fishing. Kenney is excited and perhaps rejuvenated with a new style of fishing that he seems to have quickly mastered — at least on Rayburn.
"This is a whole new window of opportunity for me," said Kenney. "The thing that I find fascinating is that you can win a tournament on two or three spots, as opposed to bank fishing where you randomly hope you catch a good one here and there. Offshore fish tend to stay in one area and replenish.
"I started my practice by finding a bank I figured out how to catch keepers on," Kenney continued. "It took me about three hours. The rest of my practice was spent fishing offshore. I found three good spots; I didn't even hit them all today. My two big ones came early off the same spot, so I left it alone. I had a good limit by
, and I had caught what I weighed by 11."
Kenney indicated that he is fishing in about 17 to 25 feet of water targeting brush piles and dropoffs where the baitfish are hanging out. He indicated the importance of presentation and did not want to go into specifics about the baits he is using but mentioned both moving baits and plastics. He did say the moving baits seem to produce the bigger fish. Kenney said he is confident in his areas and is feeling good about his chances of making his second Tour top 10 of 2012.