Kenney Wins EverStart Series Tournament on Lake Champlain
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – J.T. Kenney of Palm Bay, Fla., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the EverStart Series Northern Division bass fishing tournament on Lake Champlain with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 56 pounds, 12 ounces. For his victory, Kenney earned $32,189 and a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor.
“It feels pretty good to break that Florida bubble,” said Kenney, who surpassed the million dollar mark in career FLW earnings after his victory. “I’ve won a few of these, but never one out of Florida. I’d been close quite a bit, and I knew that I was going to eventually win one away from Florida.
“The bite was pretty steady all day long,” Kenney continued. “I actually caught my biggest fish today about 30 minutes before I had to make the trip back. I knew that the winning fish were down at (Ticonderoga) and I really just had to figure them out. Yesterday, in some of my best areas there was a north wind blowing on the grass. Today it turned around and was blowing out of the south. I noticed it at my first spot. I knew that there were a lot of fish there, but I didn’t get a bite yesterday. I caught a few right away this morning, so I started running around to places where I knew there were fish but I couldn’t get to because of the wind. I looked for any good grass beds that had the wind blowing off of it instead of into it. I didn’t catch big ones at every spot, but that was definitely the pattern today.”
Kenney caught most of his fish this week on three main baits – a ghost shad-colored Gambler Big EZ swimbait, a chatterbait and a Gambler Ugly Otter. He also weighed in a few fish Saturday on a frog.
“When I was fishing the frog and flipping I was in about 2 feet of water,” Kenney said. “When I was fishing the Big EZ swimbaits I was catching them in 5 feet. I caught around 25 keepers today.
“When I first started fishing, I never would have believed that I would win a million dollars with a fishing rod in my hand,” Kenney went on to say. “I was just some kid from Maryland who loved to go fishing. Somewhere along the way someone suggested that we fish a tournament. Fifteen years later, here I am.”
Rounding out the top 10 pros were:
1st: J.T. Kenney, Palm Bay, Fla., 15 bass, 56-12, $32,189 + Ranger Z518 w/200 HP outboard
2nd: Bryan Labelle, Hinesburg, Vt., 15 bass, 56-9, $11,036
3rd: Joseph Thompson, Landenburg, Pa., 15 bass, 55-15, $9,197
4th: Joe Lucarelli, Center Harbor, N.H., 15 bass, 55-3, $8,277
5th: Matt Greenblatt, Port St. Lucie, Fla., 15 bass, 55-0, $7,357
6th: Thomas Waltz, Fairfax, Vt., 15 bass, 53-6, $6,438
7th: Tom Belinda, Holidaysburg, Pa., 15 bass, 53-1, $5,518
8th: Dave Lefebre, Erie, Pa., 15 bass, 52-7, $4,598
9th: George Lambeth, Thomasville, N.C., 15 bass, 49-9, $3,679
10th: Glenn Babineau, Mechanicville, N.Y., 12 bass, 41-8, $2,759
Ron Wolfarth caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division Thursday – a 6-pound, 1-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s EverStart Series Big Bass award of $264.
Edward Pecore of Plattsburgh, N.Y., won the Co-angler Division and a Ranger 177TR with an Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 43 pounds, 5 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers on Lake Champlain were:
1st: Edward Pecore, Plattsburgh, N.Y., 15 bass, 43-5, Ranger 177TR w/90 HP outboard +$5,000 Ranger Cup
2nd: Carl Alexander, Hampton, N.Y., 15 bass, 41-0, $4,214
3rd: Billy Carroll, Fayetteville, N.C., 15 bass, 40-7, $3,746
4th: Brian Alspaugh, Manchester, Vt., 12 bass, 40-2, $3,278
5th: Dan Tesch, Elkton, Md., 14 bass, 39-2, $2,809
6th: Derek Bigford, Cicero, N.Y., 13 bass, 38-3, $2,341
7th: Matt Randles, Gallipolis, Ohio, 15 bass, 37-0, $1,873
8th: Kenneth Roderick Jr., Putnam, Conn., 11 bass, 34-2, $1,405
9th: Cecil Wolfe, Cross, S.C., 11 bass, 34-1, $93
10th: Stephen Kocell, Waxhaw, N.C., 10 bass, 29-3, $749
Kocell caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Friday – a 5-pound, 15-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s EverStart Series Big Bass award of $176.
The EverStart Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title along with $5,000 for the pro and $2,000 for the co-angler. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each respective division will qualify for the EverStart Series Championship that will be held on the Ouachita River in Monroe, La., Nov. 1-4.
The next EverStart Series Northern Division tournament will be Aug. 16-18 at 1000 Islands in Clayton, N.Y.