Kerr Lake was host to Leesville BASSMaster's second tournament of the season. Given the heavy rains we've had late winter/early spring, Kerr had been swollen as much as 10 feet above normal pool of 300 for several weeks. However, a let up in the rains allowed the Corps to bring the level back down to just short of 302, which is perfect for this time of year. We launched from the Hibernia ramp with partly cloudy skies, a moderate NW wind, and temps in the low 50s rising to near bluebird conditions and temps near 60 at weigh-in. Water temps at blast-off were just over 50 degrees and members reported water temps ranging from 53 to 57 degrees by weigh-in.
After all fish had been brought to the scales, Duke Bevard scored his first win for the year with a five fish limit of 9.22 lbs. Following closely behind in second was Wes House (3 fish, 8.82 lbs) who took big fish honors for the day with a 6.05 lbs chunk. Third place went to club rookie Duke Ellis (2 fish, 6.95 lbs). Duke Bevard caught most of his fish shaky heading a Watermelon Seed trick worm in shallow water in the backs of coves.
Our next tournament brings us back to Kerr Lake again, this time launching from Henderson Point. We're expecting to find fish in all modes of the spawn, and look forward to another great day on the water.
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!
Leesville BASSMasters gathered for our annual Christmas dinner at Winston's Grille in North Raleigh to celebrate the conclusion of our 2018 season. Normally, we hold our celebration in December, but Mother Nature had other plans and scuttled our plans with a December 9 snowstorm that led Winston's to close their doors that day. But getting together with the Leesville family is what's truly important, not necessarily when it happens.
After a great meal with our spouses and significant others, end of year trophies for the 2018 season were handed out to our Top 3 finishers along with the Big Fish for the year.
Coming in 1st place, our Champion for 2018 was Mark Cannon who was one of our rookies for 2018. Mark won three tournaments during the season and consistently finished in the Top 3 in the majority of the derbies. Mark also took Big Fish honors in more than half of the tournaments as well. Second place for 2018 went to longtime Leesville member Duke Bevard, who finished the season strong winning three of the last four tournaments of the year. Rounding out the Top 3 in third place was Wes House, who also took home Big Fish for the 2018 season with a 6.53 pound hawg caught at our first tournament at Kerr Lake in early March.
While we celebrated the 2018 season tonight, it's hard to believe that the 2019 season is set to kick off in just a few short weeks. At our February meeting, we'll draw the location for our annual Money Tournament. The Top 6 finishers from 2018 will each submit their choice from our regularly scheduled 2019 trail stops and one entry will be selected at random for a "tournament within a tournament" format. We'll also be drawing for our first tournament of 2019: a two-day tournament at Buckhorn Reservoir in Bailey, NC on March 2 & 3. Buckhorn is a small lake, but it has tons of potential to produce some big sacks.
2018 was a very good year for Leesville, and we're looking forward to the start of yet another season of fishing, fun, and friendship.
Leesville BASSMaster's 2018 season has finally come to an end. Along the way, we had a lot of great times together as well as some good fishing. We started our season with three rookie additions to the Leesville family: Mark Cannon, Mike Langer, and Mike Lee.
We kicked off our twelve tournament season at Kerr Lake, where Wes House brought nearly 10 pounds to the scales, including what turned out to be the big fish for the season, a 6.53# chunk. During our second and third stops, rookie Mike Lee won back to back tournaments at Buckhorn and Falls Lake, while Wes reeled in his second win at our fourth stop at Jordan. Mark came away with his first of three wins for the year at stop number five, a two-day at High Rock that ended up being a mud derby following some heavy spring rains that churned the waters of the Yadkin into that High Rock orange that it's known for. Longstanding member Craig Koefler rounded out the first half of the season with a win at Lake Gaston in June.
As the second half of the season got underway, Mark Cannon chalked up his second win at Roanoke Rapids while Tom Robertson won a sweltering tournament number eight at Lake Gaston with a single, nearly six pound tank. Duke Bevard started his streak of late season wins with a top finish at Falls, a two-day event that saw the first day cancelled due to Hurricane Florence. Mark checked off win number three showing us how to get it done on Mayo Lake, while Duke finished strong with wins at Falls (rescheduled from Jordan due to high water) and our final competition at Kerr Lake.
A couple of other highlights from the 2018 season...rookie Mike Langer caught his first spotted bass ever (1.87#, and his first fish brought to the scales for the season). From there on, he caught at least one fish in four of the five remaining tournaments he was able to fish. Rookie Mark Cannon took big fish honors in seven of our twelve tournaments.
All in all, we had a great 2018 season. We added three new members to the Leesville family, and all of our tournaments were safe and uneventful. We look forward to building on our success in 2018, and having an even better 2019. Stay tuned!
Leesville BASSMasters finished out our 2018 season where it all started: Kerr Lake. Just a couple of weeks earlier, Kerr had been nearly 14 feet above normal pool due to the passage of Hurricanes Florence and Michael. By the time we arrived, however, the Corp had slimmed Kerr back down to a much more normal 301 and change. Temps were in the upper 40s at blast-off, rising to around 60 at weigh-in. Water temps were in the low-mid 60s with a building, gusty WSW wind.
After all fish had been called to the scales, Duke Bevard (4 fish, 7.81#) took 1st place, capping off a run of three wins in the last four tournaments of the season. Wes House (3 fish, 7.12#) came in second, followed by Sheldon Godfrey (4 fish, 6.09#) in third. Mark Cannon took big fish honors for the day with 3.14#. Duke caught all of his fish on squarebills and a Bandit 300.
With the last tournament, points scores are finalized and the field for our 2019 money tournament is set: Mark Cannon, Duke Bevard, Wes House, Sheldon Godfrey, Mike Lee, and Craig Koefler. Site selection will be determined in February 2019, when the competitors put their selection of one regular season tournament during the 2019 season in a hat, and one entry is drawn at random. The money tournament is fished at the selected site in "tournament within a tournament" format.
With our 2018 season at a close, we're looking forward to our annual Christmas Party/Awards Dinner on December 9th where we'll enjoy an evening together with our spouses and significant others, hand out awards to our top finishers for the season, and crown our 2018 champion. We're also looking forward to 2019 and another season of fishing, fun, and fellowship. See you in 2019!