By BassFan Staff
After making his presence on the pro scene known in unprecedented fashion to start the 2002 FLW Tour season, JT Kenney quickly got a taste of the other end of the spectrum over the balance of his first season.
To his credit, he was undaunted and undeterred coming into year two.
Kenney, who went from being a rookie on the waiting list at the Lake Okeechobee Tour event to winning the tournament to then finishing 94th in Tour points, came back strong to start his sophomore campaign.
Without any significant financial support from sponsors, Kenney opted to compete on both the FLW Tour and Bassmaster Tour in 2003 and collected checks in eight of his first 10 events between the two circuits.
He quickly noticed that competing on multiple tours allowed him to overcome his bad habits much quicker.
"When you spend that much time on the water – on all kind of lakes and in all situations – you really begin to get an intuitive feel for the water, almost like a sixth sense for what the fish are doing," he said. "It's hard to explain, but the more time I spend on the water, the more I feel right at home on it no matter if I'm on Okeechobee or Beaver Lake."
Kenney went on to have a successful career as an FLW Tour angler before retiring after the 2018 season to become a studio analyst for the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour live-stream broadcasts.
Here’s a rundown of some other news we’ve covered over the years that we published May 15. Check back next Friday for another batch of archival content.
It would stand to reason that over the close to 20 years that Eric Olliverson had guided at Table Rock Lake that he’d pretty much explored every nook and cranny the lake had to offer.
Evidently, he’d missed a spot and it wound up helping him secure the victory at the Central FLW Series event.
"It's one of those places that's just kind of an ugly spot, if you know what I mean," Olliverson said. "It's just a real flat bank, but the water was up and it had the right amount of water in the bushes. I thought there might be a smallmouth in there because it was real close to some stuff I'd been fishing."
Sure enough, a 3-pounder on the final day helped him cull and gave him the weight he needed to snag the win by a margin of five ounces.
The Lee brothers made their time in Texas three years ago memorable, that’s for sure. In March, Jordan Lee mounted a historic comeback to capture the Bassmaster Classic victory at Lake Conroe, north of Houston.
Two weeks later, Matt Lee collected his first top-12 finish as an Elite Series competitor at the Toledo Bend Elite Series. The key, more than anything, especially at a lake as vast at Toledo Bend, was committing to a specific area.
“In practice, you fish 300 places a day,” Lee said. “In the tournament, you might just fish two. I try not to leave an area until I’ve caught everything that lives there. You can also go forever without a bite and you start to think what else to try, but sometimes you have to stick with what you know.”
Troy Morrow excelled at playing the brush-pile game to give himself the lead at the Lake Eufaula FLW Tour after two days. The Georgia pro revisited spots he’d fished the previous day and hauled in 18-01.
He overtook day-1 leader Clent Davis, who slipped to second, while eventual tournament champion Bryan Thrift was lurking down in seventh place.
The Kentucky Lake Central FLW Series (battery company Rayovac sponsored the circuit at the time) was won by Tom Redington, who prevailed by targeting post-spawn bass ganging up on the ledges, a classic pattern in late spring on the TVA lakes.
Deep water was also the theme for tournament runner-up Randy Haynes and Brandon Hunter, who finished third. In the 2-3 pattern recap, Haynes revealed it was all about cranking, but he had to probe deeper water with each passing day.
Hunter, meanwhile, mixed a swimbait and crankbait and concentrated on secondary points where creeks emptied into the river.
Here’s a line that’s been written a few times before: VanDam moves into lead.
That’s exactly what happened 17 years ago today as Kevin VanDam overtook Tom Monsoor for the top spot on the leaderboard after two days of the Kentucky Lake FLW Tour. VanDam’s lead was short lived, however, as Steve Kennedy ultimately went on to win the event, which was marked by high water.
Rob Kilby hauled in an impressive stringer weighing 23-01 on day 1 of the Old Hickory FLW Tour 18 years ago today, good enough to be leading. His was the lone bag over 20 pounds and he opened up a 4-plus pound edge on David Womack in second and a 9-plus pound cushion on 10th place. Back then, only the top 10 advanced past day 2.