Leesville BASSMasters arrived at Buckhorn Reservoir near Bailey, NC on a chilly March 2nd for our first tournament of the season. After a really wet late winter/early spring, we were greeted with cloud cover on Day 1 with temps around 45 at blast-off rising to around 60 at weigh-in with mostly sunny skies Water temps were around 48 rising to around 52 to 54 depending on where you were on the lake.
Most who stopped to BS with each other during the day all reported a slow bite on Day 1. We’d been hearing rumors here and there that 2018 champion Mark Cannon had been sitting on the same spot most of the day and had a solid bag of fish, but nobody was prepared for what he pulled out of his livewell when we weighed in.
Leesville rookie Jeffery Kinney weighed in first (1 fish, 3.17 lbs), and was the only angler besides Mark to bring any keepers to the scales for Day 1. Mark then unloaded his livewell, a five fish limit tipping the scales at 26.94 lbs and anchored by a 7.18 lb toad. Talk about football season in March! Long time member Craig Koefler couldn’t remember the last time a one day sack of fish like Mark’s has been weighed in at a Leesville tournament.
Day 2 was a different story with dense cloud cover, a damp ESE wind, and temps in the upper 30s at blast-off. While air temps rose to near 50 by weigh-in, water temps hardly budged from 49 early to around 50 to 51 degrees by weigh-in. A steady rain was forecast to move in later in the afternoon, so weigh-in was moved up to 1PM.
After all fish were weighed, it was no surprise that Mark Cannon maintained the top spot, weighing in one additional fish at 4.07 lbs, to bring his two day total to 31.01 lbs. Mark also took big fish for the tournament with his 7.18 lbs tank from Day 1. Jeffrey Kinney brought another fish to the scales on Day 2 (1 fish, 5.78 lbs) to take 2nd place with a two day total of 8.95 lbs. Sheldon Godfrey, who went fishless on Saturday, brought a single 6.34 lb chunk to the scales to take third. Tom Robertson tried to weigh in a beer can he caught early on Day 2 slow rolling a spinnerbait, but the catch was DQ'd because it only measured 12 oz and Buckhorn has a 16 oz limit.
Our next tournament is on March 16 at Kerr Lake. We’re hoping that we’ll finally catch a break in the rain and some milder temperatures over the next couple of weeks. The near constant rainfall has had Kerr several feet higher than normal in recent weeks, and a number of ramps have been closed periodically due to high water. We also look to have about a week of frigid weather with nighttime lows down in the mid to low 20s, which isn’t going to help with the water temps. But, you can pick the date but not the conditions, so as long as we can fish safely, the show must go on. See you in a couple of weeks!