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!
Leesville BASSMasters returned to Lake Gaston for the second time in three months, launching from the Steel Bridge ramp in the riverine section at the far western end of the lake. Temps were in the low 70s at launch with a hint of a breeze and some intermittent cloud cover. Temps reached around 90 by weigh-in. Water temps were around 80. From the looks of the trees, dock pilings, and shoreline water marks, Dominion Power had likely pulled water for generation on Friday, dropping the lake level around 1 foot while Kerr had apparently released no replenishment water upstream. With no water being pulled through the dam on Saturday, everyone reported a slow grind.
When all fish had been called to the weigh-in, Tom Robertson walked away with 1st place with a single 5.84 lb toad, which also took big fish honors for the day. Duke Bevard followed closely in 2nd (4 fish, 5.44 lbs), with Mark Cannon coming in 3rd (3 fish, 4.28 lbs). All but two members brought fish to the scales, and a couple of members reported losing some nice fish at the boat.
Our next event will be a two-day tournament at Falls Lake on September 15 & 16. Falls has been fishing a little slow lately, but that's par for the course in August. With September 15 & 16 on the cusp of autumn, we're hoping to see some quality fish brought to the scales as the shad begin to move toward the backs of the creeks with the bass close behind.
Leesville BASSMasters enjoyed a two-day out of town tournament at High Rock Lake near Lexington, NC. Most members arrived Friday during the day, with many taking the opportunity to pre-fish. The weather forecast was for sunny to partly cloudy skies for all three days. That was a much welcomed change from earlier in the week when rain and thunderstorms were forecast to be highly probable. While some fish were caught Friday pre-fishing, fishing overall was tough for most with High Rock's waters muddy to stained. Depending where you were on the lake, visibility ranged from 3" to 12".
We launched Saturday morning from a private ramp in Swearing Creek. The day brought mostly sunny skies with temps in the low 80's, and water temps at blast off in the upper 60s. After a long day on the water, Mark Cannon led the pack (3 fish, 5.78 lbs) followed by Wes House (3 fish, 3.83 lbs). Mark indicated that he'd lost several good fish early in the day to line breaks, and eventually discovered one of the guides on his brand new rod was missing an insert. After returning to the house, Tom Robertson prepared his signature spaghetti dinner, and several members were spotted having seconds (we're not absolutely sure, but we think someone may have even had thirds).
Sunday was nearly a repeat of Saturday's conditions, although temps were slightly warmer and there was a good deal more cloud cover, especially in the morning. At the Day 2 weigh-in, Mark shut the door on 1st place with four more fish weighing 6.63 lbs, for a two-day total of 12.41 lbs. Mark also took big fish honors for the tournament with his 3.06 lbs big fish from Day 1. Wes weighed in one more fish at 1.61 lbs to cement 2nd place with a two-day total of 5.44 lbs. Duke Bevard also weighed in one fish to take 3rd place with 1.38 lbs.
A couple of our anglers had trouble keeping fish buttoned up on Day 2. Rookie non-boater Mike Langer lost a 5 to 6 lbs fish at the boat on a crankbait, and Wes passed along that he'd also lost a 4 pounder at the boat early on. While he didn't bring any bass to the scales, Tom Robertson did catch a 1.87 lb slab crappie, which Mark took back home for a swim in the hot grease jacuzzi! One last interesting fact about this tournament...aggregate weights for all fish weighed in on Day 1 and Day 2 were exactly 1/100 lb difference (9.61 & 9.62 lbs, resp.)
Our next tournament on June 16 takes us to Salmon Landing at Lake Gaston, which should be getting well along into the summer transition from post-spawn.