Lee Livesay undoubtedly anticipated to do effectively; he simply by no means anticipated his second consecutive victory on his dwelling waters to be fueled by a “junk” spot.
However that’s precisely what occurred, because the Longview, Texas, professional turned in a four-day whole of 113 kilos, 11 ounces to win the Simms Bassmaster Elite at Lake Fork.
Livesay caught 32 kilos on Day 1 and completed simply 5 ounces out of the highest spot. A second-round restrict of 28-10 then gave him the lead with a 4-pound margin over Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho.
Livesay added 27-5 on Semifinal Saturday and entered Championship Sunday with a 3 1/2-pound benefit over Palaniuk. Then his ultimate restrict of 25-12 sealed the victory and pushed him previous Palaniuk and Gerald Swindle of Guntersville, Ala. — each with 102-2 — by a margin of 11-9.
Ties are damaged by the heaviest single-day weight. Palaniuk’s 30-1 restrict on Day 2 topped Swindle’s Day 1 restrict of 29-7.
“This week is probably the most hectic week ever for me as a result of I wish to do good for each single individual on this crowd that helps me — buddies, household, sponsors, everyone,” Livesay mentioned. “This place is particular to lots of people, nevertheless it’s particular to me as a result of it’s dwelling.
“It’s laborious to win on your private home lake, however I’m a really blessed man.”
It marked the third Elite title for Livesay, who received at Lake Fork in 2021 and Chickamauga Lake in 2020. Along with the $100,000 first-place prize, Livesay claimed his second Century Membership belt for breaking 100 kilos in a four-day occasion. His first was for final 12 months’s Lake Fork profitable whole of 112-5.
Regardless of intimate Lake Fork data earned by means of a lifetime of fishing and a number of other years of guiding, Livesay lamented a tricky match. The lake is down 5 1/2 ft for dam repairs, so most of the spots he fished final 12 months have been inaccessible, if not excessive and dry.
With a number of of his fishable areas failing to impress, Livesay turned to an unlikely possibility that ended up producing a lot of his weight. Positioned on the west aspect of the Lake Fork Creek arm, Livesay’s major goal comprised a 40-foot by 40-foot excessive spot reaching into close by timber in about 13 to 17 ft of water.
Devoid of canopy, the spot had a tough backside the place massive gizzard shad have been congregating. Massive bass would periodically pull as much as feed and after they did, Livesay may count on aggressive bites.
“I caught each fish right now and each one however one yesterday on a spot I discovered in apply that I by no means checked out in my life,” Livesay mentioned. “I’ve coated each piece of water on this lake one million occasions over and that’s what’s loopy. I didn’t catch something the place I usually do.”
Finding this spot was extra by default than intent. Nonetheless, Livesay is grateful he discovered it.
“I solely went trying (for brand spanking new spots) as a result of the primary day of apply there was one other match right here and I didn’t wish to be seen on something good. I simply went junk and junk became 100 grand.”
Livesay anchored his ultimate restrict with an 8-3 at 2:38 p.m. He caught most of his Day 4 bass on a 3/4-ounce sixth Sense Divine Hybrid Jig with a Netbait Paca Craw and a Hog Farmer Magnum Shaky Head with a Netbait C-Mac worm. His greatest fish ate a 5-inch sixth Sense Flutter Spoon.
He grew to become the 14th angler with three Elite wins and the fourth to win Elite occasions in three consecutive seasons. Livesay, 36, can also be the second youngest (behind Palaniuk) to succeed in his third Elite title.
All of it occurred for the Texas professional lower than a month after he received his first St. Croix Bassmaster Open introduced by Mossy Oak Fishing at Ross Barnett on April 30.
Palaniuk, who turned in each day weights of 26-9, 30-1, 27-13 and 17-11, earned his first Century Membership belt. Spending his match on two major spots within the lake’s decrease basin, he focused shallow factors in 10 to 25 ft. The less-obvious spots have been his desire.
“These have been locations that I in some way managed to should myself that didn’t have any stress,” Palaniuk mentioned. “I feel that allowed these fish to arrange and keep there. They weren’t continually getting beat on, so I may form of cycle forwards and backwards and get these bites.”
Palaniuk caught most of his fish on a Rapala DT-16 and a flutter spoon.
Swindle, who added a Century Membership entry to the one he earned on California’s Clear Lake in 2007, turned in each day limits of 29-7, 22-5, 29-2 and 21-4.
For a lot of the match, Swindle caught his fish by working a Zoom Magnum Trick Worm on a 3/4-ounce shaky head amid bushes within the Lake Fork Creek arm. When that chunk fizzled on Day 4, he transitioned to flipping a 1/2-ounce Boss jig with a Zoom Z-Craw trailer.
Swindle had earlier seen bream rising to eat bass fry subsequent to timber, so he tipped the trailer in chartreuse dye to match the panfish tails. After catching a restrict this manner, he upgraded with two bass — one a 6-13 — by fishing a giant worm over a bream mattress.
Late within the day, Swindle was caught at 99 kilos, 15 ounces when he stopped on a dock en path to the weigh-in. With about 12 minutes left, he swam the Boss jig down the dock perimeter and caught a 4-pounder that pushed him over 100.
“That was the one jig that I had in my hand so I simply threw it over there and began swimming it,” he mentioned. “I used to be operating by that dock and my intestine was telling me ‘Do it, do it, do it,’ so I circled and went again to it. If nothing else, it’s a reinforcement to at all times belief my intestine.”