Randy Haynes Wins Kentucky Lake Rayovac

Every tournament Randy Haynes fishes on the Tennessee River presents its own unique set of challenges. Each time, he somehow finds a way to overcome them. Last week at the Kentucky Lake Central Rayovac Series, he found himself up against a field of 170-plus boats in addition to the 300-plus boats that were part of the Triton Owners Tournament. Employing a run-and-gun strategy that included some deep cranking and jig fishing, he tallied more than 75 pounds over 3 days to capture his record-tying fifth career Rayovac Series win. "It's hard to stay a step ahead of these guys," he said Sunday evening after finishing up day 1 of practice for another Tennessee River tilt, the Lake Pickwick FLW Tour. "I think every time I win it's going to be my last one because the guys are getting that good. I just feel like I'm losing my edge. When I caught those last couple fish (on day 3), it sent some chills up my back thinking I might've done it." While Haynes is pretty familiar with Kentucky Lake, he went up a week and a half early for practice. "I've won up there, but I still feel like I don't understand that lake," he said. "Every Tennessee River lake is different, but I hadn't figured out all of the community holes and the secondary stuff. I felt like I didn't understand it enough to compete." He started down south near Paris and caught a few, but the water stained and the bass weren't stacked up offshore, at least not yet. "They were on secondary stuff," he noted. "I moved up the lake toward the dam and a lot of fish were out, but they were all pretty skinny. I was catching them, but before practice was over, I went back south and the fish were thicker and fatter. They'd made a move out." He deemed his practice "decent," but didn't think he'd be a threat come tournament time. "I didn't think I could catch enough to win," he said. "I'd caught a couple 7s in practice, but that during the evening deal and those Tennessee River lakes are notorious for getting your hopes up in the evening. I just didn't think I was on enough to win."

Competition:

Haynes had a late boat number on day 1 and he opted to head south from take off at Kenlake Marina. After a slow start, he caught a 5-pounder, but still only had two in his livewell at 9 a.m. He added couple of 3 1/2-pounders shortly thereafter to kickstart a day that saw him hit about 30 spots. He says he caught about 75 fish, including multiple 20-pound limits. "I went down there and had one of those great days," he said, noting the majority of his fish were caught cranking. "I caught several 4s and hit a couple good schools where they were eating." On a day when 29 anglers caught 20 or more pounds, his 25-01 total put him in 3rd place, 2 1/2 pounds back of leader Brandon Hunter. On day 2, Haynes had a strong morning, catching the bulk of his 22-10 right away. "I thought I didn't have enough to make the cut," he said, "but I was afraid to get off what I was doing because I thought I needed one or two more to upgrade. I just didn't want to get off the beaten path." As it turns out, he held onto 3rd and the deficit to the lead entering the final day was less than a pound. "I had to make a decision," he said. "The fishing was getting tougher and you could tell all the boats were having an impact. I noticed at weigh-in that the fish caught by the guys who were fishing up north were fat and healthy. I knew who was fishing up there and saw a couple bags come from up there. I knew the fish had made a move. I wasn't sure I could catch them up there or not." He went into the final day thinking 26 pounds would give him a shot at the win, but he didn't think it could be done up north. To start day 3, he went to a couple of his primary spots for about 45 minutes "just to clear my head," he said, and came away with a 3 1/2-pounder. That's when he decided to pull the plug on Paris and move north. "As soon as I went under the (I-80) bridge, I got into them and started filling the livewell," he said. He hit about 40 schools he'd marked and wound up bringing 50 fish into the boat. His best five weighed a tournament-best 27-10 as he wound up beating Jason Lambert by just over a pound. "Every school was different," he said. "The last couple of days it didn't last long. The longest (flurry) I had was about 10 minutes. I had to move around to find them and keep up with them. If you moved your boat the wrong way or casted wrong you were out of them. Typically, when you'd catch one they'd move."

Winning Pattern:

Haynes started out throwing a Strike King 10XD crankbait on each spot "just because of the profile of the bait," but ultimately realized one bait didn't truly outshine another in terms of quality fish caught. "I caught a few on a swimbait and some on a jig. It was just the rotation of what I used." Haynes said the schools he found near Paris were in about 12 feet of water near where the channel dropped into 18 to 25 feet. The schools up north were in 21 to 28 feet. "On the lower end, the deep stuff I like to fish they'd moved off the secondary stuff went to main river channel," he said. "It seems like whomever finds those fish first after they transition wins."

Winning Gear:

Deep cranking gear: 7'11'' heavy-action Kistler KLX Mark Rose Offshore casting rod, Lew's BB1 Pro casting reel (5.1:1 ratio), 15-pound unnamed fluorocarbon line, Strike King 10XD (sexy shad), ProFound Outdoors Z-Boss 20 (black back/silver sides) Haynes only had two prototypes of the Z-Boss 20 baits that he'd received just before the tournament. "I had to be very selective with where I threw it," he said. "It's the same size as a 6XD, but compared to a lot of baits it's more subtle. It's easy to pull and it was designed to fish behind people."

Jig gear: 7'6" heavy-action Kistler Helium 3 casting rod, Lew's Tournament Pro casting reel (7.1:1 ratio), same line, 1-oz. ProFound Outdoors football jig (PB&J), Strike King Rage Tail Craw trailer (green-pumpkin).

Performance edge: "It had to be the Raymarine HybridTouch and my Mercury motor. I was burning 40 gallons of gas a day and if it went down at any time, I wouldn't have won."

Kentucky Lake Winning Pattern Bassfan 6/4/14 (Todd Ceisner)