Leesville BASSMasters returned to Roanoke Rapids Lake for the first time in several years, and RoRap has changed little since our last visit. It's still loaded with grass, but the recent unsettled weather seemed to have dulled the bite a bit. Several members had pre-fished prior to derby day and reported much better success than what the scales showed on Saturday.
After all fish were weighed, rookie Mark Cannon buzzed his way to his second win of the year (3 fish - 8.05 lbs) and also took big fish for the day with a solid 4.60#. Finishing in second was Sheldon Godfrey (1 fish - 2.12 lbs), followed in third by Mike Lee (1 fish - 1.43 lbs). Mark reportedly caught all of his fish on a buzzbait.
Our next tournament takes us to the Steel Bridge launch in the upper reaches of Lake Gaston on August 18. Water temps in that region of the lake tend to be significantly cooler due to the outflow from Kerr Lake directly upstream. Hopefully, they'll be pulling water at some point during the day to get some current flowing.
Leesville BASSMasters tournament trail hit the halfway mark in our 2018 season today on Lake Gaston, launching out of Salmon Landing. A very early 5:30 launch time greeted us with partly cloudy skies, upper 60s, and no water scheduled to be pulled through the dam. Water temps ranged from 78 to 83, and it was close to 90 by the time we weighed in.
After all fish were brought to the scales, Craig Koefler came away with the win (3 fish, 5.19#), followed by Mike West (1 fish, 2.68#), and Mark Cannon (2 fish, 2.20#). Mike West also took big fish honors for the day.
While the day presented tough conditions, all members weighed in fish including rookie non-boater Mike Langer, who brought his first fish to the scales this season in the form of a nice spotted bass. Second place finisher Mike West also celebrated his return to the Leesville trail by weighing in his first first of the year after being sidelined since early March due to illness. Last place finisher Duke Bevard recounted losing a 5+ at the side of the boat within inches of the net early in the morning.
At the halfway point, it's still a horse race heading into the second half of the 2018 season. Mark Cannon and Wes House are tied for the lead with 99 points each, followed by Duke Bevard in third with 87 points. Since only the Top 10 tournament finishes for the year count towards final scores, some twists and turns in standings are likely in the lead up to our final tournament at Kerr Lake in early November.
Our next tournament is on July 21 at Roanoke Rapids launching from the Thelma ramp.
Leesville BASSMasters enjoyed a two-day out of town tournament at High Rock Lake near Lexington, NC. Most members arrived Friday during the day, with many taking the opportunity to pre-fish. The weather forecast was for sunny to partly cloudy skies for all three days. That was a much welcomed change from earlier in the week when rain and thunderstorms were forecast to be highly probable. While some fish were caught Friday pre-fishing, fishing overall was tough for most with High Rock's waters muddy to stained. Depending where you were on the lake, visibility ranged from 3" to 12".
We launched Saturday morning from a private ramp in Swearing Creek. The day brought mostly sunny skies with temps in the low 80's, and water temps at blast off in the upper 60s. After a long day on the water, Mark Cannon led the pack (3 fish, 5.78 lbs) followed by Wes House (3 fish, 3.83 lbs). Mark indicated that he'd lost several good fish early in the day to line breaks, and eventually discovered one of the guides on his brand new rod was missing an insert. After returning to the house, Tom Robertson prepared his signature spaghetti dinner, and several members were spotted having seconds (we're not absolutely sure, but we think someone may have even had thirds).
Sunday was nearly a repeat of Saturday's conditions, although temps were slightly warmer and there was a good deal more cloud cover, especially in the morning. At the Day 2 weigh-in, Mark shut the door on 1st place with four more fish weighing 6.63 lbs, for a two-day total of 12.41 lbs. Mark also took big fish honors for the tournament with his 3.06 lbs big fish from Day 1. Wes weighed in one more fish at 1.61 lbs to cement 2nd place with a two-day total of 5.44 lbs. Duke Bevard also weighed in one fish to take 3rd place with 1.38 lbs.
A couple of our anglers had trouble keeping fish buttoned up on Day 2. Rookie non-boater Mike Langer lost a 5 to 6 lbs fish at the boat on a crankbait, and Wes passed along that he'd also lost a 4 pounder at the boat early on. While he didn't bring any bass to the scales, Tom Robertson did catch a 1.87 lb slab crappie, which Mark took back home for a swim in the hot grease jacuzzi! One last interesting fact about this tournament...aggregate weights for all fish weighed in on Day 1 and Day 2 were exactly 1/100 lb difference (9.61 & 9.62 lbs, resp.)
Our next tournament on June 16 takes us to Salmon Landing at Lake Gaston, which should be getting well along into the summer transition from post-spawn.
Leesville BASSMasters arrived to fish our fourth tournament of the 2018 season at Jordan Lake in Apex, NC. The lake was four feet above normal pool, bushes flooded, water temp 66-68 degrees for what looked to be a great day for a tournament...except the fish forgot to show up. Significant rainfall events over the past couple of weeks reduced visibility to less than one foot (and less than six inches in some areas), the water level has been up, down, and up four feet twice in the past two weeks, and we're on the cusp of a full moon which means many shallow fish are locking down to bed. To say it was an epic grind would be an understatement. And to top it all off...we forgot to take pictures of the fish we DID catch!
Of eight members participating, only two brought fish to the scales, and several members didn't have a bite all day. Taking first place was Wes House who won our opener at Kerr in early March with two fish weighing 5.41 lbs, including the big fish of the day at 3.12 lbs. Mike Lee, who's won the last two tournaments, came in second with one fish at 2.42 lbs. Congratulations to both on what was certainly a challenging day for everybody.
Our next tournament is a two day at storied High Rock Lake in Lexington, NC on May 5 & 6. Most members plan to fish, and in what's become a ritual to look forward to for our away tournaments, Leesville BASSMaster's unofficial Food & Beverage manager, Tom "That's Italian!" Robertson, will be cooking his signature spaghetti dinner for everyone on Saturday night. We're looking forward to a fun filled, hopefully livewells filled weekend.
Some of the big girls finally came out to play at Leesville BASSMaster's latest tournament at Buckhorn Reservoir in Bailey, NC. We arrived to a light breeze and a comfortable 60 degrees at blast-off. Water temps were in the low 60s. Clear skies reigned for the day, and the early-morning light breeze was replaced by a steady 10-15 mph wind that blew out of the SSW for the majority of the day.
When all fish had been called to the scales, rookie Mike Lee took home his second consecutive 1st place finish (2 fish, 10.18 lbs), followed closely by Mark "Connections" Cannon in 2nd (2 fish, 9.55 lbs) who also took big fish for the day with a 6.19 lbs chunk. Finishing in 3rd was Wes House (1 fish, 6.06 lbs). Duke Bevard was the only other member to bring fish to the scales (1 fish, 3.42 lbs).
Our next tournament is in two weeks on April 28 at Jordan Lake in Apex, NC. We're expecting fish will be hitting the beds hard over the next two weeks, and it should make for an interesting tournament.