Stingy. That's the word that comes to mind after Leesville BASSMasters ground out two days from the Wittenberg ramp at Lake Hickory in Hickory, NC on October 5 & 6. Most of the Leesville BASSMasters arrived during the day or evening Thursday to pre-fish with temps well into the 90s both Thursday and Friday. Saturday, an overnight front brought overcast, temps nearly 30 degrees cooler with a high in the 60s, intermittent drizzle, and a stiff breeze at times. Water temps were in the low 80s at launch.
All of our anglers brought fish to the scales on Saturday, although sacks were light. After weighing all fish, our Day 1 leader was Gray Williams with 3 fish weighing 5.19 lbs, followed by Jeffery Kinney (2 fish, 3.89 lbs) and Duke "Woody" Ellis (1 fish, 3.57 lbs). Woody had the big fish for Day 1. Afterwards, we headed back to the house for some college football, Texas Hold 'Em, and Tom "Chef Tell" Robertson's traditional away-tournament Saturday night spaghetti dinner. Needless to say, no one walked away hungry.
Day 2 brought an overnight low in the upper 50s, a much lighter breeze, and a somewhat lower water temp that ranged from the upper 70s to low 80s depending on where you were. All of our anglers brought fish to the scales on Sunday. After all fish were weighed, Duke Bevard emerged as the come-from-behind winner, weighing in three fish for a Day 2 total of 5.88 lbs and a combined two day total of 4 four fish weighing 8.81 lbs. Tying for 2nd place were Jeffery Kinney and Gray Williams, both with a combined two day total of five fish weighing 8.55 lbs. Dukester caught all of his fish cranking a SPRO Little John on secondary points in Gunpowder Creek. Woody held on to big fish for the tournament with his 3.57 lb fish caught fishing on the Dukester's back deck on Day 1. Hickory was certainly a grind, but it was apparently a pretty consistent grind. As a club, we weighed in a total of 17 fish both days. Our Day 1 & Day 2 aggregate weights were also within 0.42 lbs of each other, at 28.09 lbs and 28.51 lbs, respectively.
Our next tournament takes us to the Upper Barton's ramp at Falls Lake on October 19, and we've got us a real horse race going for 2020 Money Tournament eligibility. While the top 3 slots are already locked in, the three bottom spots are all up for grabs. Woody, Sheldon Godfrey, and Tom Robertson are all tied for 4th place with 103 points each, while Craig Koefler, Gray Williams, and Jeffery Kinney are all tied in 7th place with 102 points each. Scoring points in the next two tournaments will be crucial to securing eligibility for the money tournament. While we fish twelve tournaments, only the Top 10 finishes contribute to each angler's overall score for the season. Stay tuned!
Leesville BASSMasters held the ninth tournament of our 2019 season at crystal clear Mayo Lake near Roxboro, NC. Temps were in the low 50s with a light variable SSE wind at blast-off. Needless to say, it was a perfect early fall morning for a derby. Temps rose to the mid-80s by weigh-in with the breeze blowing for about half the day, diminishing to near calm by the time we arrived back to the ramp (and all of a sudden, it was hot!). Water temps were in the mid to upper 70s.
All but two of our anglers brought fish to the scales today, and everyone noted that the day had been a grind. After all sacks had been weighed, Leesville rookie Gray Williams picked up his second win in as many tournaments with a five fish limit weighing 10.94 lbs, anchored by a 3.80 lb'er, which also took big fish for the day. Following in second place was Mark Cannon (4 fish, 8.95 lbs) and Jeffery Kinney took third (4 fish, 7.98 lbs). Gray caught his fish using a fluke and a drop shot.
Our next tournament takes us out west to Hickory, NC for a two-day derby at Lake Hickory, marking the first time Leesville has fished the lake in recent memory. The fall bite should be starting to pick up, and we're looking forward to spending a couple of days fishing what will be new water for many of our members. We're also looking forward to Tom "Chef-Tell" Robertson's signature Saturday night spaghetti feast, a tradition for most of our out of town tournaments over the last ten years or so when our lodging will accommodate it. See you in a couple of weeks!
Lake Gaston hosted Leesville BASSMaster's 8th tournament of 2019, launching from the Steel Bridge ramp at the far western end of the lake. The temp was 65 at blast-off, rising to an unseasonably cool 73 degrees by weigh-in with solid clouds, scattered, intermittent light rain, and a steady, sometimes gusty north-northeast wind. The day's conditions kept most pleasure boats and jet skis off the water for the majority of the day, which was a pleasant change for a typical August day on Gaston. Water temps ranged from 78 to 82 degrees.
All but one of our anglers brought fish to the scales today. After all fish were weighed, Leesville rookie Gray Williams chalked up a strong first win with a five fish limit of 13.89# after being the runner-up in the previous two tournaments. Second place went to Mark Cannon (5 fish, 9.22#) who also took big fish honors with a 5.02# chunk, and just squeaked past Mike Heitzman (5 fish, 9.21#) in third place by one-hundredth of a pound!
Our next stop takes us to grassy, gin-clear Mayo Lake on September 21. We're expecting the bass will be following the shad as the cooling water temps draw them toward the backs of the creeks and cuts. Mayo should provide the perfect backdrop to our first tournament of the fall, and we're looking forward to some full sacks of bass.
Roanoke Rapids Lake hosted Leesville BASSMaster's seventh tournament of the 2019 season, with temps in the low 70s at blastoff, rising to the low 90s at weigh-in with a heat index over 100. Water temps were in the upper 70s to low-mid 80s. Dominion Power began releasing water from Lake Gaston into RoRap around 9AM, and the flow continued until weigh-in time.
All but one of our anglers brought fish to the scales. When all fish had been weighed, Duke Bevard scored his second win in 2019 with a five fish limit of 11.17 lbs. Following in 2nd place was Leesville rookie Gray Williams (5 fish, 8.41 lbs), and Wes House in 3rd (2 fish, 6.70 lbs). Wes also took big fish with a 4.99 lbs chunk, his fourth big fish win of the season. Duke caught most of his fish after the water started flowing, keying in on surface boils near weedline edges signaling underwater cover deflecting the current. A weightless wacky worm cast upstream and drifted past the underlying cover did the trick.
We're back to Lake Gaston on August 24 for the next stop on the second half of the 2019 season, launching from the Steel Bridge ramp. The upper part of Gaston usually provides some good summertime action, especially if the Corps releases water during the day, and we're looking forward to another great day on the water.
Leesville BASSMasters arrived at the Upper Barton’s ramp at Falls Lake for our fifth tournament of the 2019 season. Falls was just short of normal pool with water temps in the mid 80’s. The air temp was a very comfortable, almost chilly 62 degrees at blast-off, a nice change given the muggy overnight lows in the upper 60s to low 70s and daytime temps near 100 in the days leading up to the tournament. By the time we arrived back at the ramp to weigh-in, temps had climbed to around 80.
The Piedmont trail’s final qualifier of the year was fishing out of the Ledge Rock ramp at the northern end of the lake. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of fishing pressure and Falls Lake’s famous summertime boat traffic increased throughout the day as the jet skiers and pleasure boaters finally got out of bed around 10AM.
All of our anglers caught weighable fish during the day. When all the fish were brought to the scales, Mark Cannon chalked up his third win of the season with a five fish limit of 9.07 lbs. Wes House followed in 2nd place (3 fish, 6.74 lbs) and Duke Bevard took 3rd (3 fish, 5.94 lbs). Big Fish honors for the day went to Mike “Coppertone” Lee’s 3.32 lb anchor fish.
Our next tournament takes us to Lake Gaston on June 15, and marks the midpoint for the 2019 season. Docks with deep water nearby should play big at Gaston this time of year, with other offshore structure coming into play, especially if Dominion is pulling water