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 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!
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.
Even the remnants of Hurricane Florence couldn't keep the Leesville BASSMasters from hitting Falls Lake in Raleigh, NC for our ninth tournament of the season. Air temps were around 70 at blast off, and water temps were around 80. A persistent rain dogged the anglers for most of the day, along with a steady ENE wind as the back side of Florence made her way through the Triangle, Moderate rains at weigh-in prevented us from getting any pictures.
After a soggy day, Duke Bevard came away with the win (5 fish, 11.18 lbs), followed by Mark Cannon in 2nd (3 fish, 5.25 lbs), and Sheldon Godfrey in 3rd (4 fish, 4.97 lbs). Sheldon would have edged Mark out by two hundredths, but he unfortunately had a gut hooked fish that didn't make it. The best part is that all but one of our anglers caught fish today. Duke caught all of his winning fish on watermelon seed Trick Worm rigged on a shaky head.
With three tournaments left in 2018, Mark Cannon has pulled away in the points lead, and would have to zero in two of the three remaining tournaments for Wes House or Duke Bevard to have any chance of overtaking him for first place. Wes and Duke are separated by only three points in 2nd and 3rd respectively, so that one's still a horse race.
Our next tournament takes us to Mayo Lake on October 6 which is known for its gin clear water and grass beds. It's unclear what impact Hurricane Florence has had on Mayo, and we'll just have to see when we get there in a couple of weeks. Stops at Jordan and Kerr Lakes round out our 2018 season, and we'll find out who will be crowned our champion for 2018. Tight lines and stay tuned!