GILBERTSVILLE, Ky., May 17, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pro Randy Haynes of Ripley, Mississippi, weighed a 26-pound, 3-ounce, limit of bass Thursday to take the early lead at the FLW Tour at Kentucky Lake presented by Costa Sunglasses. Haynes’ limit – tied for the third largest single-day limit ever caught on Kentucky Lake in FLW Tour competition – will pace the field heading into Day Two of the four-day event that features the world’s most best bass-fishing professionals and co-anglers casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the Pro Division and up to $25,000 cash in the Co-angler Division.

Right behind Haynes is second-place pro Jason Lambert of Michie, Tennessee, a fellow ledge-fishing expert who was the 2016 FLW Tour at Kentucky Lake Champion. With Haynes and Lambert both catching their fish out deep and separated by less than 2 pounds, the stage could be set for a potential offshore shootout.

“My first five holes were tough, but I hit a good one and stayed there most of the day. I caught a couple, left for a little while, came back and culled a couple more times,” said Haynes, who is seeking his second career win in FLW Tour competition. “It was pretty tough out there – I only had six keeper bites all day. I’m very fortunate to have what I did. It’s kind of wide open out there right now. I can fish anywhere I want to, and I like that.”

Haynes said he counted 10 bass in his primary location, six of which he put in the boat. He said it took most of the day to put together his limit.

“I just grinded it out and the bites I got were the right ones,” said Haynes. “The spot is burned to the ground now so I’m going to have to go out there and start over tomorrow. It’s all about finding them right now – finding the fresh ones. That’s the whole deal right now.”

The top 10 pros after day one on Kentucky Lake are:

1st: Randy Haynes, Ripley, Miss., five bass, 26-3

2nd: Jason Lambert, Michie, Tenn., five bass, 24-6

3rd: Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury, Odenville, Ala., five bass, 21-5

4th: Lowrance pro Austin Felix, Eden Prairie, Minn., five bass, 19-13

5th: Josh Douglas, Isle, Minn., five bass, 19-10

6th: Bradley Hallman, Norman, Okla., five bass, 18-6

7th: Polaris pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 18-5

8th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., five bass, 17-14

8th: Tom Redington, Royse City, Texas, five bass, 17-14

8th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 17-14

For a full list of results visit FLWFishing.com.

Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, South Carolina, earned the $500 Simms Big Bass award in the Pro Division Thursday thanks to a 6-pound, 15-ounce bass.

Overall there were 641 bass weighing 1,804 pounds, 13 ounces, caught by 169 pros Thursday. The catch included 76 five-bass limits.

Ronny Webb of Dyersburg, Tennessee, leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 7 ounces, followed by Keith Gunsauls of El Cajon, California, who weighed five bass totaling 15-2, good for second place.

The top 10 co-anglers after day one on Kentucky Lake are:

1st: Ronny Webb, Dyersburg, Tenn., five bass, 17-7

2nd: Keith Gunsauls, El Cajon, Calif., five bass, 15-2

3rd: Greg Ravitsky, Ashburn, Va., five bass, 14-10

4th: Mike Gabel, Saint Charles, Ill., five bass, 14-4

5th: Michael Yoder, Texarkana, Ark., five bass, 14-1

6th: Rex Jaeger, Hamilton, Ohio, five bass, 13-11

7th: Chatfield Smith, Minnetonka, Minn., five bass, 13-8

8th: Roger McQueen, Eagar, Ariz., four bass, 13-4

9th: Craig Middleton, Harrodsburg, Ky., four bass, 11-12

10th: Michael Weimann, Murfreesboro, Tenn., four bass, 11-9

Christopher Kanute of Clover, South Carolina, earned $250 for the Simms Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division with a 6-pound, 1-ounce bass.

Overall there were 292 bass weighing 769 pounds, 10 ounces caught by 137 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included nine five-bass limits.

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 full field of anglers competes in the two-day opening round. Co-angler competition concludes following Friday’s weigh-in, while the top 30 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advance to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.

The total purse for the FLW Tour at Kentucky Lake presented by Costa Sunglasses is more than $930,000. The event is hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. CDT each day from Kentucky Dam State Park, located at 7792 U.S. Highway 641 N. in Gilbertsville. Friday’s weigh-in, May 18, will be held at the State Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins, May 19-20, will also be held at the park, but will begin at 4 p.m.

Prior to the weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday, May 19-20, FLW will host a free Family Fishing Expo at Kentucky Dam State Park from noon to 4 p.m. The Expo is the perfect opportunity for fishing fans of all ages to meet their favorite anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, meet characters from the “Paw Patrol” children’s television show, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.

Also for youth, the FLW Foundation’s Unified Fishing Derby will be held at Kentucky Dam State Park on Saturday, May 19, from 9-11 a.m. The event is hosted by FLW Foundation pro Cody Kelley along with other FLW Tour anglers, and is free and open to youth (18 and under) and Special Olympics athletes (all ages). Rods and reels are available for use, but youth are encouraged to bring their own if they own one. The 1st and 2nd place anglers that catch the biggest fish will be recognized Saturday on the FLW Tour stage, just prior to the pros weighing in.

Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing. The 2018 Forrest Wood Cup will be on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aug. 10-12 and is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.

Television coverage of the FLW Tour at Kentucky Lake presented by Costa Sunglasses will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) June 27 from Noon-1 p.m. EST. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the sport’s top anglers on the FLW Tour on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.

About FLW

FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2018 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct 286 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.

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Brian Johnson Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) (218)-428-9641 brian.johnson@flwfishing.com