While some anglers' catches have fluctuated over the last three days of competition, Bolton has improved is catch by more than a pound each day. He weighed in 17 pounds, 2 ounces on opening day and 19 pounds, 5 ounces on day two.
"Today, when I first started, the wind was terrible," said Bolton, who has two FLW Outdoors wins and 32 top-10 finishes to his credit, including 19 on Kentucky Lake alone. "You have to have confidence and believe in what you are doing."
Bolton's efforts have been predominantly focused on ledges using a jig fished on heavy fluorocarbon line.
"There's one little sweet-spot on a ledge," he said. "I'm going to the places where I know there are fish."
Ranger pro Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., ended the day in second place with five bass weighing 15 pounds, 15 ounces.
"I grew up fishing ledges on Eufaula and West Point," said Kennedy, who won the 2003 FLW Tour stop on Kentucky Lake. "We don't get too many opportunities to fish ledges, so I need to make the best of it."
Rounding out the top five pros are Yamaha pro Gary Yamamoto of Mineola, Texas (five bass 15 pounds, 2 ounces); Yamaha pro Curt Lytle of Zuni, Va. (five bass 13 pounds, 13 ounces) and Team Castrol pro David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va. (five bass 13 pounds, 6 ounces). v Tyrone Phillips of Little Rock, Ark., earned a $20,000 victory in the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 15 ounces. The majority of his fish were caught on a Zoom paddle-tail worm while fishing with Yamamoto.
"We went into an area that made the wind obsolete," said Phillips, who also collected a $500 Wal-Mart gift card and $500 in Castrol products for his first FLW Tour victory. "We fished a 300-yard-long bank and only about 100 yards of it held fish. I caught three good ones and Gary got his limit there. We went to another area, and I caught one on a crankbait."
With only four fish in the livewell and time running out, Phillips' chances for a five-bass limit were looking bleak.
"We stopped just outside the check-in point on our way in," he said. "And I caught my last fish with 10 minutes left."
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C. (four bass 11 pounds, 10 ounces, $10,000); Brian Hickey of Cadiz, Ky. (five bass 10 pounds, 1 ounce $9,000); George Polosky of Alliance, Ohio (five bass 9 pounds, 1 ounce $8,000) and 18-year-old Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark. (two bass 4 pounds, 8 ounces, $7,000).
The 10 remaining pros will take off at 6:30 in the morning from Kentucky Dam Marina. Saturday's weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 310 West Fifth Street in Benton beginning at 4 p.m.
The community is invited to attend the free Family Fun Zone Saturday outside the weigh-in tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The Family Fun Zone, which opens at noon, features interactive displays, product samples and games for the entire family to enjoy.
The full field competes in the two-day opening round for one of 10 slots in Friday's competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for day three, and co-angler competition concludes following Friday's weigh-in. The top 10 pros continue competition Saturday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.
In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The total purse for the Kentucky Lake tournament is $900,000, including $10,000 through 50th place in the Pro Division. In addition to this purse, Tyson has released three tagged "Power Bass" worth $5,000 each into Kentucky Lake. Any pro or co-angler competing in the tournament is eligible to catch these "Power Bass" and claim the cash award.
This is the most lucrative FLW Tour season to date with a $7.6 million purse, including four $900,000 events and two $1.25 million open events during the regular season. Each event leads up to the $1.5 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship and Outdoor Show presented by Castrol, which will be held Aug. 2-5 on Logan Martin Lake in Birmingham, Ala. The prestigious championship hosted by Birmingham, Pell City and St. Clair County features 48 pros, 48 co-anglers and bass fishing's largest guaranteed cash award - a $500,000 first-place prize for the winning pro. Held in conjunction with the tournament is a world-class outdoor show featuring more than 140 exhibits.
Coverage of the Kentucky Lake tournament will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on June 25 and July 2 as part of the "FLW Outdoors" television program. "FLW Outdoors" airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. "FLW Outdoors" is also broadcast internationally to more than 350 million households in such countries as Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.
Kellogg's will present the sixth and final stop of the FLW Tour's regular season on Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, N.Y., June 21-24.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Stratos Owners' Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $37.9 million through 249 events in 2006.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
Wal-Mart and many of America's largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world's leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.