GILBERTSVILLE – Kentucky Lake is not the place Dave Lefebre expected to end an eight-year victory drought.
Consequently, his victory Sunday in the FLW Tour on Kentucky Lake left the Erie, Pa., veteran stunned – but happy.
“I can’t believe it because the Potomac and Champlain are the two I look at and say, ‘Those are the ones I have a chance to win,’” Lefebre said. “And after the Potomac, where I let one get away, this one is a shocker to me.”
Lefebre was referring to the tournaments before and after this weekend’s event in Kentucky. He finished eighth May 17-20 in the Potomac River tourney at National Harbor, Md. The tour moves on the Lake Champlain in Plattsburg, N.Y., in two weeks.
Lefebre was 40th after the opening round, but began to haul in the fish on Friday. He landed a 23-pound, 15-ounce quintet of bass on Saturday, the tournament’s heaviest stringer.
On Sunday, Lefebre brought in a final-day catch of 19-5 for a four-day total of 77-3. He won $125,000.
“This feels good,” Lefebre said simply.
Twice on the final day, Lefebre left the spot, about a mile from the takeoff at Kentucky Dam Marina, where he had fished until he had a limit catch by around 8:30 a.m.
Upon his third trip of the day to that spot, about 1 p.m., Lefebre landed his biggest fish.
“The wind had calmed down just a little bit and I was able to make the exact cast I wanted to make,” Lefebre said. “It was substantially different conditions, and I think it was the first cast that I caught the 5-1/2 (pounder).”
Lefebre’s catches in the first three rounds were 14-15 on Thursday, 19 even on Friday and 23-15 on Saturday.
Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C., was second with a total weight of 70 pounds, 11 ounces . He won $33,287.
Rounding out the top five were Kyle Mabrey, McCalla, Ala., 20 bass, 68-4, $28,720; Jim Moynagh, Carver, Minn., 20 bass, 67-2, $23,753; and Jay Yelas, Corvallis, Ore., 20 bass, 67-0, $18,987.
Baumgardner held a narrow lead over Lefebre after Saturday’s fishing, his 58-pound catch just 2 ounces heavier than Lefebre’s 57-14.
Moynagh, at 53-13, slipped to third after leading the pack at the end of Friday’s second round.
Lefebre ranked ninth Friday, comfortably making the cut of 20 for Saturday.
Last year’s winner, Chad Grigsby, and Scott Martin, winner last month on the Potomac River, were among those who failed to make the weekend cut. Grigsby placed 51st in the field of 142 pros while Martin ended up out of the money in 96th.
Among local fisherman, Terry Bolton of Paducah finished 11th, winning $11,837. Bolton ranked sixth after Friday and barely missed the final cut of 10 for Sunday’s fishing.
Casey Martin of New Market, Ala., won the co-angler division and $25,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 51 pounds, 6 ounces followed by Terrance Smith of Fishers, Ind., in second place with 15 bass weighing 42-14 worth $7,134.
NOTE: Marshall County High School student Logan Thomas will compete in Saturday’s Walmart BFL tournament on Kentucky and Barkley lakes.
The event is part of the tour’s LBL Division schedule.
Thomas also plans to fish in the Music City Division event at Old Hickory Lake, Gallatin, Tenn., on June 30.