EverStart Series title on Pickwick Lake. (Photo by Gary Mortenson/FLWOutdoors)
04.May.2013 by Gary Mortenson
FLORENCE, Ala. – After boating an incredible 33 pounds, 1 ounce on the first day of EverStart Series competition on Pickwick Lake, it appeared as though Randy Haynes of Counce, Tenn., was going to run away with the title. However, by the end of day two, Haynes was forced to watch his 5 ½-pound lead melt all the way down to a mere 13 ounces. Now, with one day of fishing left in the tournament, everyone knew it was game on.
And so did Haynes.
“Coming into today I was really worried,” said Haynes. “I knew that there were some great ledge fisherman in this tournament, (especially) Mark Rose. And I also knew that I (potentially) could be beat on Wilson Lake (by the Suratt brothers). So when I woke up today I knew I had to get out there and just go fishing.
“But no matter what, I was going to keep fishing offshore,” Haynes continued. “And whether there were only three fish there, I was going to live and die with that.”
In the end though, Haynes proved once again why his is one of the most revered anglers on Pickwick Lake. Bolstered by a whopping 26-poound, 14-ounce catch in the finals, the largest day-three stringer brought to the scales, Haynes maintained his overall lead for the third consecutive day, winning the title in unexpectedly comfortable fashion.
“It’s awesome,” said Haynes, who recorded a total catch of 79 pounds, 11 ounces to net more than $30,000 in prize money as well as a brand new, fully equipped Ranger Z518 bass boat. “A couple of years ago I thought my winning was over. I still can’t believe it. It’s a very humbling sport and you never know when the winning is going to stop. I have family and friends here so I’m really just blown away right now.”
Haynes said he relied heavily all week on a combination of Strike King 6XD and 10XD crankbaits, targeting river ledges and humps in anywhere from 15 to 20 feet of water.
“I was really fortunate the fish made a move with the current,” he said. “It was a grind out there all week. But today I was blessed with a great stringer.”
Throughout the week, Haynes put on a veritable offshore fishing clinic. After the first day of competition, where he bested his own personal one-day tournament record on Pickwick Lake, Haynes continued to plug along, forcing the rest of the field to play catch up – a hurdle which some of the best Pickwick anglers in the business weren’t able to overcome.
“I had five good days of practice and I know this lake very well,” said Haynes. “So I knew I could do it. In the end, it wound up being a great week – probably one of the best weeks of fishing I’ve ever had in my life.”
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