Nordbye surges to the win on Kentucky Lake

CALVERT CITY, Ky. – Leading with 22 pounds, 12 ounces on Day 1 of Stop 3 Presented by Phoenix Boats on Kentucky Lake, Andrew Nordbye took a step back to second on Day 2 and could have continued the slide. Instead, he sacked up the biggest bag of the final day — 21 – 14, including a near 6-pounder — to earn the win in the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals event. With a 63-5 total, Nordbye finished almost a pound ahead of Dakota Ebare and earned $80,000 and a berth to REDCREST 2025 for his efforts.

The win is Nordbye’s first with MLF, and he did it with his wife, Codi, and their newborn twins, Andi Mae and Zeal, on hand.

“Incredible, just amazing,” he said of the win. “I’ve been in first multiple times, second multiple times. But I’ve never been able to put all three days together to finish out and get a victory.”

Spawning smallmouth, big bites earn Nordbye the win

Anglers fished offshore on Kentucky Lake, as they always have, but things looked a little different this week. Photo by Rob Matsuura

Like many in the Top 10, Nordbye targeted smallmouth spawning on the flats of Kentucky Lake. For his part, he focused on stumps in 9 to 11 feet of water.

“I marked 1,500 waypoints in practice using side-scan,” he said. “We had long, 14-hour days in practice, so I probably idled six to eight hours a day and fished six to eight. But, when I would find a flat with stumps, maybe 300 stumps, I would graph them all first, and then I would pull up.

“I think the key was finding a niche stump row that probably had 100 stumps a little bit spread out that nobody else found,” he said. “I had my own water on about 100 stumps, and I caught my bag Day 1 there except for one, and Day 2, three of them came from there, and today, two of them came from there.”

Relying heavily on Garmin LiveScope, Nordbye used Lew’s rods and Lew’s Custom Lite SS Series reels to present a variety of finesse offerings. His primary baits were a 5-inch Strike King Z-Too in Arkansas shiner, a Mach Skooler and a Strike King Ned Ocho.

Finessing the spawning smallies off stumps was standard issue for the pros on the week, but Nordbye separated himself by moving fast, refusing to get hung up on fish that wouldn’t bite.

“The fresh ones, they would bite right off the bat,” he said. “But honestly, I didn’t work a bed fish more than 5 or 10 minutes. I heard a lot of guys say they sat on one for 20 minutes and finally got it to bite. I felt like that was a waste of my time unless I knew it was a giant. I caught a 3-pound male today that was the size of a 6-pounder, and it would look like a 6-pounder on LiveScope. I really tried to make the most of my time, and if they wouldn’t bite, I had a plethora of stumps to fish.”

He narrowed his stump selection to the north end of the lake and ended up having a rough idea of what he wanted out of his stumps as well.

“I went south of the first bridge, almost all the way to Paris, in practice, and I found some stump fields and fished them and didn’t do any good,” Nordbye said. “The stump fields up here were a lot more productive in practice. Out of the current but still on the main lake, where there is current, seemed to be the deal. And a hard bottom. I caught a few right on the break of the channel, but 2-pounders, mostly; the better quality was more on the flat.”

Andrew Nordbye was joined by his family on stage. Photo by Rob Matsuura

In the end, it wasn’t just stumps and spawners for Nordbye – he needed to make the sort game plan adjustment that wins tournaments. Doing so produced his kicker, a 5-15 brute with just a couple hours left before weigh-in.

“The whole tournament, I fished stumps with spawning smallmouth, and today at like noon, I decided to go fish an area where I caught a 4 1/2-pound largie and some 2-pound smallies by a barge tie,” he said. “I went in there, and there was a school of 6-pound smallies sitting on the barge tie. There were like 20 of them. I got one to eat, and I couldn’t get any more to eat, but that was all I needed.”

Top 10 pros 

1. Andrew Nordbye – 63 – 5 (15) – $80,000

2. Dakota Ebare – 62 – 2 (15) – $50,000

3. Colby Miller – 61 – 1 (15) – $20,000

4. Alec Morrison – 59 – 2 (15) – $18,500

5. Brody Campbell – 57 – 13 (15) – $17,300

6. Jacob Walker – 56 – 9 (15) – $16,000

7. Kyle Hall – 56 – 6 (15) – $15,500

8. Kevin Meunier – 56 – 1 (15) – $14,000

9. Jaden Parrish – 55 – 12 (15) – $13,000

10. Drew Gill – 55 – 9 (15) – $12,000

Complete results

Gill stays on top for Fishing Clash Angler of the Year

With his third Top 10 of the season, Drew Gill stayed in the lead of the Fishing Clash Angler of the Year race. However, there was some shuffling behind him, as Alec Morrison moved into second, while Brody Campbell edged up to third place. Heading into Eufaula, the race is super tight and promises to go down to the wire.

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