Connestee Falls (2022) Bass Fishing Tournament Results

Stu Davidson

The weather forecast for Saturday May 7th was like a roller coaster ride.   It changed daily during the week with a tremendous storm including hail predicted for Friday which might carry over into Saturday.  At 6:30 AM, with my 10’ pelican boat loaded in the back of my Colorado we drove to the park launch in 53 degree clear weather.   Over the next hour, the Lake Atagahi ramp serviced a Red Glitter Bass Boat, a Bass Tracker, a large metal camouflaged flatbed, plus a canoe and my boat.  Other boats were already in the water from their slips at the water’s edge.

We had eleven teams participating this inaugural year; the three single person entries paid the same $10 fee as the eight teams of two, some would fish from  shore.    At 7:30 AM, after introducing the participants the rules were reviewed.   If possible, four Bass greater than 12 Inches caught on artificial lures were to be brought alive to the noon weigh-in at the Atagahi Beach area dock.  The prizes totaling the $110 had already been divided into envelopes, first (heaviest Bass) $50, second (heaviest stringer of three) $40 and third (next stringer) $20.  I yelled Go Fish and the tournament began.

My fishing partner for all of my 20 plus tournaments, Daron Strub and I headed toward the causeway and Little Atagahi.  We skipped a Zoom Trick worm with a barbless hook towards shore/docks along the way.  For the first hour fishing was wild, many fish hooked, the sun was still low, and it was cool.   Daron caught a “keeper” Bass; into the cooler it went, filled by a pitcher with lake water.    We both caught Bass, most less than 12 inches.  Some of them did not make it into the boat, referred to as a quick release.  As reported by other anglers, we hooked and lost some larger bass.  The other teams were scattered across the lake, the glitter boat towards the dam, Matthew in the canoe fighting the wind crossing the lake.  The sun rose high, it got warm, so I took my hooded sweatshirt off.  That’s when the fishing frenzy turned into a struggle, about an hour into the morning.

We grabbed the girders as we pulled the boat under the causeway’s wooden bridge.   The Stroup brothers were already in that lake extension.   They were standing in their boat, sight fishing, casting lures towards shore.   We two boats fished the perimeter there for about an hour, Daron caught another keeper.  Back on the big basin, we used our technique on the far shore down to the dam.  I used my ultralight rod with a Ned Rigged small plastic crawdad, releasing one small Bass.  Daron tried a large plastic lizard which was similar to the purple creature bait that Tim Brown was throwing.  We maneuvered around other boats fishing, pausing our casting briefly for a Chris Wunder photo.  At the Dam, we found Rick Hybil fishing from shore.  Same story, just small bass.  With 45 minutes left we tired the interior side, looking for a lunker bass that had been caught the Saturday before.   As we neared the wide channel across from the park, we saw a large Bass submarine two feet deep, which ignored our offerings.

At noon, the beach dock had a record turnout for spectators compared to my past events.  The big tournaments can have big results as they are held for days.   Small morning only tournaments like this one are at the immediate mercy of the weather and the mood of the fish.    Less than 20 tournament eligible Bass appeared at the Noon weigh-in this year.     Daron Strub took first prize with his 1.36 pound non-lunker.  Ryan and Zack Stroup had the heaviest stringer at 2.67 pounds, Tyler Greer and Nathan Pressley’s threesome took third place at 2.55 pounds.  Out of the money were Chris and Tim Brown‘s pair at 1.6 pounds, Matthew Cawley’s two weighing 1.54 pounds then Linda Grambow & David Hepburn’s duo at 1.49 pounds.  Runners up for the Big Bass were a fraction under a pound in weight.  Also fishing were Robin Loggie, Bob Clark, Zane Metcalf, Chester Chappell, Buddy Marines, and Bobby Rader.  Fly Fisherman Dave Madea had expected to fish but could not.  Other observations were a banded water snake, grazing deer, walkers, one nice perch, Canadian Geese, Mallard Ducks and a million fish beds. 

Thanks to all who participated, spectators at the weigh-in, photographer Chris Wunder, the CFPOA for their announcements and the Fishing Club for its support!   Special thanks to the twenty or so Bass that were kept alive and swam away to grow up!  

These results, pictures, rules and past results are available via the Connestee Falls Fishing club website or  my site,  
Good Fishing, Stu Davidson