Well, another season has come to a close and the Leesville BASSMasters family gathered this past Saturday to celebrate the holidays with our wives, fiances, and significant others at Farina Italian Restaurant in North Raleigh. After enjoying a delicious meal and a highlights reel for the season, year-end awards were handed out to our top anglers.
Taking 1st place as club champion for the second consecutive year was Mark Cannon. Mark also won the annual Money Tournament on March 2 & 3 at Buckhorn Reservoir with a two day total of 31.01 lbs. Additionally, during that tournament Mark caught what would wind up being the big fish for the year a 7.18 lbs tank. With all of the plaques, someone in the crowd remarked that Mark's new nickname should be "Hardware". Coming in 2nd place was Wes House and 3rd place went to Duke Bevard, the second consecutive season for both (they're nothing, if not consistent).
2019 was a great year for Leesville BASSMasters, but also brought some sadness. We all took a moment to remember our departed friend and colleague Jim Simons, who lost his long, hard-fought battle with Parkinson's Disease on April 6th of this year. Mark expressed how he felt honored to have fished with Jim in what ended up being his last tournament with the club in early March. Tom recalled how some combination of he, Duke, and Craig spent most Wednesday evenings with Jim during his last six months so his wife, Pat, could relax and enjoy an evening out. We all miss him dearly.
We also bid a fond farewell to long-time Leesville member Duke Bevard who recently relocated to Charlotte. During Duke's 16 years in the club, he served as club Secretary for 11 years (ten of those consecutively), club President for seven years consecutively, and club webmaster/statistician for 4 years.
In recognition of his service, the club presented Duke with a BPS gift card and a plaque acknowledging his years of dedication to the club. Duke said a few words, and acknowledged that he had good partners in his fellow club officers over the years. He also felt that this past year was one of the best years for the club as a whole, if not THE best. As a final surprise and unbeknownst to Duke at the time, Mark detailed Duke's boat while it was stored at Mark's place during the month Duke was getting his affairs straight in Charlotte. The final surprise was revealed when Duke picked up his boat the Sunday morning after the dinner.
While Duke was certainly surprised, it's really no surprise because that's just how the Leesville BASSMasters family rolls. It's not just about the fishing, it's also about fellowship and family. We're already looking forward to next season. New officers have been elected, and Wes House (TD) & Gray Williams (Asst. TD) are putting the 2020 trail together to present to the membership at the January meeting. We'll see you next year!
Annual Club Christmas Dinner
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 BASSMasters capped off our 2017 season with our Annual Christmas Dinner, which was held at Winston's Grille in Raleigh. After a great meal with our spouses or significant others, 2017 Tournament Director Jim Simons handed out year-end trophies.
First place went to Craig Koefler, followed by Tom Robertson in second, and Duke Bevard in third. Tom also took big fish for the year with a 6.98 lb Harris Lake hawg at our first event in early March.
We're looking forward to the 2018 season. Tournament Director Wes House and Asst. Tournament Director Sheldon Godfrey will be laying out the 2018 schedule over the next several weeks, and will present the final schedule at our January meeting.
From all of us at Leesville BASSMasters, we wish you and your families a joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year. We'll see you in 2018!
2016 Christmas & Awards Dinner
Leesville BASSMasters held our Annual Christmas & Awards Dinner this past Saturday to close out the 2016 season, and ring in the holidays. After cocktails and a great meal at Winston's Grille & Bar, Tournament Director Jim Simons awarded trophies to the top anglers for the 2016 season:
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