Before Hurricane Michael showed up in early October, Leesville BASSMasters was scheduled to fish Jordan Lake on October 20. But with Jordan over 10 feet high a week before derby day and other lakes similarly swollen from Michael, we decided to change location to Falls Lake which was only 3 feet high. Fast forward one week later, and we made the right move: Jordan was still 6+ feet high, but Falls was only about 1 foot above normal pool.
When we arrived at the ramp, temps were around 60 and would only rise a few degrees more by the end of the day. Spotty clouds in the morning would give way to rain around lunchtime (heavy at times!), which settled in and finally dissipated when we got back to the ramp. Water temps were in the low 70s.
After calling the fish to the scales, Duke Bevard (4 fish, 5.45#) eeked out his second win of the year at Falls, edging out Craig Koefler (3 fish, 5.36#) by less than a tenth of a pound. Craig did, however, take big fish for the day with 2.80#. Sheldon Godfrey (4 fish, 4.89#) took third place.
With our final tournament at Kerr Lake in two weeks, the last derby looks to be a barn burner on a number of fronts. Mark Cannon still leads the pack by 14 points. Duke could still mathematically take 1st if Mark doesn't weigh any fish at Kerr AND Duke finishes in at least 4th place, but Mark can seal it up by catching just one fish. Current third place holder Wes House won't be fishing Kerr, which means Michael Lee could potentially vault past Wes into third place with a fourth place or better finish at Kerr. Lastly, the final positions for the money tournament are also still in play with Tom, Sheldon and Craig in contention for the final two slots. Stay tuned! It looks like the end of our 2018 season could be a photo finish!
With the passage of Hurricane Florence, Leesville BASSMasters wasn't sure what we'd find at Mayo Lake near Roxboro, NC. Mayo's waters are typically crystal clear, and with all the rain and runoff, we weren't sure whether we'd find it gin clear or more like chocolate milk. We arrived to a light mist and cloudy skies with temps in the upper 60s at blast-off, rising to around 80 at weigh-in. Those overcast skies gave way to intermittent sunshine later in the day. Water temps were near 80, and water clarity was still pretty good.
When all of the fish were called to the scales, Leesville rookie Mark Cannon won his third derby of the season with a four fish sack of 9.16 lbs, anchored by a 3.95 lbs which also took big fish for the day. Duke Bevard followed in 2nd (4 fish, 6.30 lbs) with his partner, Sheldon Godfrey, taking 3rd (3 fish, 5.63 lbs). All but one of our anglers caught fish, and Mark caught all of his winning fish on a buzzbait that's no longer in production.
With two tournaments left, Mark is still solidly in first place, and he'd have to falter badly to relinquish the top spot. Duke has firmly locked up second place, but third is still up in the air: current third place angler Wes House is unable to fish the remaining tournaments for the season, and fourth place angler Mike Lee will miss our next tournament at Jordan. Craig Koefler could wind up in third place for the year if he finishes first in our remaining two tournaments (Jordan, Kerr) and Mike Lee zeroes at Kerr. While first through third place often get the glory, don't forget that our top six anglers in 2018 qualify for a TWT money tournament fished during the 2019 season and a couple of those final slots are still up in the air!
Our next tournament takes us to Jordan Lake which was swollen by Hurricane Florence and stood over 15 FEET above normal pool following the storm. The Corps has been rapidly releasing water and we expect Jordan to be at or near normal pool when we arrive to fish on October 20.