BASS Elite Series #5

Kentucky Lake, June 3-7, 2015

By Kurt Dove

Published: September 2015

Half of the season has now gone by and no 'bombs'. That is a goal of my 2015 season. In seasons past I have always had a finish or 2 in the 90's or 100's and I am working to avoid that this year. It has been a long time (2007) since I competed on Kentucky Lake but I feel I understand the fishery pretty well. I didn't have a chance to get to the waterways and pre-practice. I decided to attack the event with a 2-pronged approach ... fish 2 days deep and one day shallow will the object to stay with 5-6 miles of the takeoff location in Paris, TN.


The weather was crazy! Strong south winds, cloudy skies. In three days of official practice we never saw the sunshine and probably never had winds less than 10 mph. That made for some tough fishing conditions and a down right brutal practice for me. I reason why it was so tough wasn't just because of the weather but also the way I approached practice. Instead of continuing my search for deep schools of fish ... I was fishing too much for small schools I would locate. Yea that kinda sounds weird but here on Kentucky Lake if you aren't finding the larger schools of fish you really aren't finding the bass. The day I fished shallow was fair but I couldn't find the better fish needed to have a shot at even cashing a check. Ultimately I found one large school of bass I was hoping to exploit through out the event. I was committed because that was all I had!

Event Day 1: 5 Bass/11 lbs 5 oz – 87th place of 124

Photo of Kurt Dove holding up a large bass

I had a great boat number that first morning ... somewhere in the 20's. I thought for sure I would get to my school first and be able to capitalize. I was hoping there wouldn't be many other competitors there so I could move around the area and fish it effectively. I arrived and sure enough I was first .... Several casts with a deep crankbait produced a couple 2.5 lbers and I was pretty excited! Then problems began as other competitors started arriving. 1 then 2 then 3 ... 4 other competitors joined me on the ridge with the school of fish. That's part of how deep ledge fishing on TVA lakes seems to go these days. I wasn't happy about it, but honestly I would have joined a group if I had located the same school in practice. I had to immediately down downsize my offerings to continue getting bites ... but it was a slow grind. At about 10:30 myself and one other competitor were the only ones left. I had a limit for about 11lbs and needed a couple good bites to get into the mid/upper teens and stay competitive on this lake.

Then bam! I get a 4 lber to bite ... fighting him all the way to the boat on a drop-shot and putting my hands on the fish to bring her aboard ... she wiggles free and becomes un-hooked! I couldn't believe it. Then 5 min later a 3.5 lber pulls off about 10 feet from the boat. Holy cow ... Here we go ... I fish the location for another 2 hours with one more fish becoming unbutton as I fought it to the boat. I just couldn't believe my situation. I've caught thousands of fish on my drop-shot set up ... and this was just a weird deal.

Event Day 2: 2 Bass/7 lbs 9 oz – 100th place of 124

Photo of Kurt Dove holding up a 2 bass fish

I had such a tough time on the first day I decided to look for another school on Day 2. I would run just a little ways down lake from the take-off location and begin my search. I looked and looked stopping over anything that looked remotely like a bass. The results were the same for hours ... nothing. I decided at about 12:30 to run into the back of a creek with a small rock pile to see if I could get a bit and immediately I caught a 4 lber. Then a cast or 2 later I caught a 3.5 lber. Now I am on my way! Couple of hours left to fish I thought there has to be 3 more decent ones down there. Nope ... there wasn't. I limped back to the weigh-in with 2 bass. Very disappointing!

Event Total – 7 Bass/18 lbs 14 oz/100th place of 124

I have to say I was completely unprepared for this event. I fished Amistad for years and can find deep structure fish all the time ... Kentucky Lake is different. Its really is very small specific spots most of these fish group up on. You must be willing to idle for hours on end to locate 2-3 maybe 4-5 schools of bass over a 3-day practice period. I believe I have a much better understanding and I am looking forward to a good performance next time I am there, no doubt!

Photo of Kurt Dove and Dillion Harrell
Kurt Dove and Dillon Harrell came out swinging with 11-9.
A good day, but not enough to eclipse the leaders.

High School All-American Event

Once eliminated from the tournament I was asked to participate as an Elite Pro partner for the High School All-American tournament to be held on Lake Barkley. There were about 12 distinguished high school competitors chosen by BASS from around the country to take part in this special event. I fished with a young man named Dillion Harrell from Texas. We had a great time and caught quite a few fish. We ended up finishing in 3rd place in this exhibition event fishing straight tail worms on a shakey head around isolated drop offs near the dam. I really enjoy helping the youth get out and experience the passion of bass fishing!