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 returned to Roanoke Rapids Lake for the first time in several years, and RoRap has changed little since our last visit. It's still loaded with grass, but the recent unsettled weather seemed to have dulled the bite a bit. Several members had pre-fished prior to derby day and reported much better success than what the scales showed on Saturday.
After all fish were weighed, rookie Mark Cannon buzzed his way to his second win of the year (3 fish - 8.05 lbs) and also took big fish for the day with a solid 4.60#. Finishing in second was Sheldon Godfrey (1 fish - 2.12 lbs), followed in third by Mike Lee (1 fish - 1.43 lbs). Mark reportedly caught all of his fish on a buzzbait.
Our next tournament takes us to the Steel Bridge launch in the upper reaches of Lake Gaston on August 18. Water temps in that region of the lake tend to be significantly cooler due to the outflow from Kerr Lake directly upstream. Hopefully, they'll be pulling water at some point during the day to get some current flowing.
Leesville BASSMasters tournament trail hit the halfway mark in our 2018 season today on Lake Gaston, launching out of Salmon Landing. A very early 5:30 launch time greeted us with partly cloudy skies, upper 60s, and no water scheduled to be pulled through the dam. Water temps ranged from 78 to 83, and it was close to 90 by the time we weighed in.
After all fish were brought to the scales, Craig Koefler came away with the win (3 fish, 5.19#), followed by Mike West (1 fish, 2.68#), and Mark Cannon (2 fish, 2.20#). Mike West also took big fish honors for the day.
While the day presented tough conditions, all members weighed in fish including rookie non-boater Mike Langer, who brought his first fish to the scales this season in the form of a nice spotted bass. Second place finisher Mike West also celebrated his return to the Leesville trail by weighing in his first first of the year after being sidelined since early March due to illness. Last place finisher Duke Bevard recounted losing a 5+ at the side of the boat within inches of the net early in the morning.
At the halfway point, it's still a horse race heading into the second half of the 2018 season. Mark Cannon and Wes House are tied for the lead with 99 points each, followed by Duke Bevard in third with 87 points. Since only the Top 10 tournament finishes for the year count towards final scores, some twists and turns in standings are likely in the lead up to our final tournament at Kerr Lake in early November.
Our next tournament is on July 21 at Roanoke Rapids launching from the Thelma ramp.
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.