Winning team hooks the big ones
LAGRANGE – They didn’t see any reason to switch strategies.
A week ago at an event on the West Georgia Bass Club series, Danny Lavoie and Todd Mahoney ran away with the win by pulling in five bass weighing more than 20 pounds.
Seven days later, the two men were back at West Point Lake, this time for the Rod Benders Bass Club Homecoming tournament.
They stuck with the same game plan, and it was just as successful.
Lavoie and Mahoney brought in five fish to the weigh-in station at Pyne Road Park, and they weighed a total of 21 pounds, 13 ounces, and that was plenty good enough to take the top spot.
Ryan Lloyd and Ray Buchanan finished second, more than three pounds off the pace set by Lavoie and Mahoney.
Lavoie said “we had every one of them by 9 a.m.,” and they did it by sticking to the same patterns that helped them achieve such great success the previous week.
“We did the same thing today,” Lavoie said. “They weren’t exactly in the same spot, but they were pretty close.”
Lavoie said sometimes you can get stuck in a rut by not willing to change things up on a familiar body of water, but if something’s working, there’s no reason to change it.
“Sometimes local knowledge is a bad thing because you go to the same places over and over again,” Lavoie said. “We just got lucky. Well, not really luck, just good timing. We probably have six places we go this time of year. If you don’t get it in the right rotation, it’s going to mess up. So we just got lucky the last two weekends with the rotation.”
Despite some shaky weather early in the morning when it was cool and rainy, it was another successful tournament.
The Rod Benders Bass Club has been holding its Homecoming tournament for 11 years now, and nearly 200 competitors turned out to fish for the $6,000 first-place prize.
While Lavoie and Mahoney took home the $6,000 check, the day’s biggest fish was brought in by Kenny Carroll and Ricky Carroll.
They caught a bass that was weighed in at 6.59 pounds, and that was just a fraction bigger than Trey Eslinger and Keith Mayfield’s big fish of 6.57 pounds.
Kenny Carroll said they were fortunate to keep their big one on the line.
“When we got the fish, we unhooked him, and he was barely skin-hooked down in his mouth,” Carroll said. “If he had opened his mouth, we would have lost him. We probably lost 10 fish today. But we got the big one.”
Carroll spends plenty of time on the water of West Point Lake, and he went to a familiar location to land the big fish.
“It was just a little spot we’d caught the big one before,” he said. “We learned. We came back.”
While some of the anglers had plenty of good fortune, success was more difficult to come by for some others.
They all had a good time, though, including Steve Walker, a regular participant on the Rod Benders tour.
Walker is an active member of the United States Air Force, and he always enjoys getting out on the water whether he’s hooking the big ones or not.
“I love getting out,” he said. “We fish quite a few tournaments a year, and we support them every year. They do a good job out here. We love the area. It’s a beautiful lake.”
Walker will have a lot more time for fishing soon, since he’s closing in on his retirement date with the Air Force.
“I’m about to retire,” he said. “It’s time to go. I’m just kind of waiting on that day.”
One angler who did have some success on Saturday was Tony Campbell, and he said “we had a ball.”
Campbell said conditions were “a little bit tough” because of the weather, but he and his teammate hooked one that weighed more than five pounds, and that helped them finish 13th.
“We got the biggest one on the rock,” Campbell said. “We lost another big one like the one we had.”
Here are some results from Saturday’s tournament:
TOP FIVE FINISHERS
1st – Danny Lavoie/Todd Mahoney (21.13 pounds)
2nd – Ryan Lloyd/Randy Buchanan (17.95)
3rd – Eric Dearing/Dean Garner (17.68)
4th – Rick Gasaway/Tom Howell (17.23)
5th – Trent Adams/Nathan Scruggs (17.22)
Kenny Carroll/Ricky Carroll (6.59)
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports