Connestee Falls (2023) Bass Fishing Tournament Results - Lake Atagahi

Stu Davidson

Despite the weatherman’s damp forecast for Saturday May 6th, we had a perfect day for the 2nd annual Connestee Falls Bass Fishing tournament.    It was sweatshirt and jeans temperature with no wind and overcast.  We kept a poncho handy to ward off any rain.  Four boats shared the launching ramp at Lake Atagahi, and then gathered at the beach pavilion for the 7:30 start.  After introductions and rules review, I announced “Go Fish”.  As I wondered where team five was, two anglers appeared from the parking lot, asking if there was a “check in”, my buddy Daron said “you just did”.    Off us all went, in search of four Bass over the 12 inch minimum. 

We scattered, the 16 foot Bass boat maned by Chris and Tim Brown motored across the lake and was later seen down toward the Dam.  Nathan Pressley and Tyler Greer went around Atagahi Park catching a Keeper Bass on a Whopper Topper plug early.  Brothers Ryan and Zach Stroup disappeared to a secret spot, their john boat moved pretty quickly with a front mounted trolling motor.  Fly guy Dave Madea entered but had a family obligation and sent “tight lines” from Raleigh.  Steve Seelinger and George Goyette started near the boat storage area.   Daron Strub and myself headed towards little Atagahi working the docks and shore with Zoom brand plastic worms.   Each team had their preferred fishing weapons, all artificial of course.  Some used diving plugs but most fish with plastic worm setups.   My backup favorite was a Bill Roehrich weed-less Wacky rig.   Daron had a few top water hits on a Zara Spook lure.

Daron and I had two dozen bass boated by noon, with another dozen quick releases.  We had a large water filled cooler with a pitcher to refresh and oxygenate  the Bass we caught  Eight Bass were just over the 12 inch minimum; we released bass as larger ones (by a fraction) were caught.  We watched for wildlife, did not see any deer or furry aquatic animals but saw a fox scamper into the woods and observed a white squirrel drinking from the lake.   

Prizes for the tournament are determined by the total $10 per boat entry fees.   We had $60; the plan was $30 for the biggest bass, then $20 and $10 for the heaviest stringers of three.  There was no large Bass brought to the weigh-in so prizes were for three “stringers” of three.  The Stroup team’s  trio weighed right a 3 pounds, they took 1st prize.  Nathan and Tyler were close behind at 2.90 pounds, Father/Son Tim/ Chris Brown’s threesome tipped my scale at 2.62 for 2nd and 3rd prizes respectively.   Out of the money were Daron and myself (2.56 lbs.) and, then Steve and George (2.41 lbs.).    All participating Bass swam away to grow and inch or two for next year’s event.

Everyone caught Bass; my estimate is over one hundred with about thirty tournament eligible keepers.  There are many small Bass in our lakes, just like every other lake.   Daron spotted a bass, estimating four pounds near a small “buck” bass that was guarding a bed.   Tim Brown took a picture of a six pounder that was submerged in the water and was not hungry to inhale any artificial bait.  We saw lots of fish beds at various depths as we had seen three weeks earlier practicing. 

I really enjoy organizing the tournaments and have done so almost annually since 1995 at the lakes we’ve lived on.   The results have varied, always dependent on the weather and fishing,   we’ve had some lunkers caught and many, many small bass.  My goal is to have some fun with other fisher folk and promote fishing by bringing some fish to the weigh-in for spectators to see.  The crowd at both Connestee weigh-ins have been great.  This year, Chris Wunder took pictures and Ray Tuers jotted down details for the fishing club columns.   Thanks to the fishermen who participated, the CFPOA for their announcements and the Fishing Club for its support!   Special thanks to the Bass in Lake Atagahi.

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

Good Fishing, Stu Davidson