GROVE – As soon as Keith Honeycutt finished with Friday's weigh-in at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Grand Lake, he jumped in the car and took off.
“I drove as far away as I could so I didn't have to talk to anybody,” he said, trying to avoid letting the pressure of carrying the lead into the final day of the co-angler competition. “I got me a room … I don't even know where I ended up, to tell you the truth. I GPS'd it so I could get back.
The strategy paid off as Honeycutt coasted to a win here Saturday, giving him the $25,000 first place co-angler prize.
“I like to get away and do my own thing, not have to talk to a lot of people,” he said. “I like to be by myself and air out a little bit.”
Honeycutt finished the three days of competition with 45 pounds, 13 ounces, which was some 4 pound better than runner-up Anthony Goggins of Auburn, Ala.
“I really haven’t fished that well this year up until this point,” he said. “I have won some checks. But I really got them today. I caught three fish flipping early and then I went shallow cranking and culled two or three more times. Once I caught that 5 ½-pounder around noon, I started to feel pretty confident. Then when I was able to cull those two fish later in the day, I had a feeling that I had a good chance.”
Honeycutt fished with Brandon Coulter on Thursday, netting 17 pounds, 11 ounces. Then on Friday, when paired with David Fritts, his total slipped to 12-13, but still maintained a semi-comfortable lead with 30-8.
Saturday, he was teamed with pro division frontrunner Jason Christie of Park Hill.
“Besides being a great fisherman and a hometown boy, he (Christie) is really a great person,” Honeycutt said. “I had those three really nice fish around 1 o'clock. I kinda made a loud sigh in the back of the boat. He turned around and goes ' I've got some crank bait fish.' I started smiling and said 'I would love to go for them,' so we go off on about a 25-mile run. I caught three or four more keepers to finish out my limit and here we are.
“He left where its going to be won to help me. If he helped himself it was going to be a bonus. But I tell you, I really appreciate it.”
He won the 2007 EverStart Series championship and captured two other EverStart Series titles in Texas in 2012 and 2010.
“It really feels good,” Honeycutt said. “I’ve won some EverStart Series titles before, including the 2007 EverStart Series Championship, but to get my first (FLW) Tour win is really special because there is a whole different caliber of anglers here.”