Leesville BASSMasters fished our fourth tournament at Jordan Lake near Apex, NC. Temps were in the mid 60s at blast off with partly cloudy skies, rising to the upper 70s by weigh-in with mostly cloudy skies. Water temps were in the low 70s. While rain was forecast, it held off for the day with sprinkles just starting to show up when we left for home.
All but one of our anglers brought fish to the scales today. After all fish had been weighed in, Mark Cannon chalked up his second win for the 2019 season with a five fish limit of 12.20 lbs. Following in second was Wes House (5 fish, 10.04 lbs) and Mike "Polecat" Pelchat (3 fish, 9.33 lbs) took third. Polecat also took big fish honors for the day with a 6.92 lbs tank, which regrettably arrived to the scales DOA. However, the big girl won't be going to waste...Polecat took her home for a swim in the hot grease jacuzzi.
Our next tournament takes us to Falls Lake on June 1. The fish at Falls should be emerging from the post-spawn and transitioning toward their typical summertime haunts. Falls also marks our transition from a 3PM to 2PM weigh-in during the summer months.
Leesville BASSMasters arrived at the Henderson Point ramp at Kerr Lake on April 13 to thunderstorms and rain. Temps were in the low 60s with light and variable winds and water temps in the low 60s. This morning was especially somber for our anglers. On April 6, 2019, fellow Leesville member Jim Simons passed away after a long, courageous battle with Parkinson's disease. Jim fought his condition with a strength and perseverance that belied his soft spoken nature, and he will be sorely missed. Before blast-off, we observed a solemn moment of silence and dedicated today's tournament to Jim's memory.
Several lines of thunderstorms blew through during the day, but Jim was apparently keeping watch over us on high because all of them seemed to go around. We did, however, have on and off rain throughout most of the day and quite heavy at times. All of our anglers caught fish today. When all fish had been brought to the scales, Wes House took first place with a five fish limit of 11.57 lbs and also took big fish honors with a 3.59 lb'er. Mark Cannon took 2nd place (5 fish, 9.78 lbs) closely followed by Duke Bevard in 3rd (5 fish, 9.38 lbs).
Our next tournament takes us to Jordan Lake on May 11, which recently hosted MLF Stage 3. We're expecting the fish will have the feed bag on as they come off the beds and run headlong into the shad spawn.
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.