MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Showers over the New River blanketed the surface of the water with splashing droplets. The hissing sound of reels was heard repeatedly, as lures were cast with hopes of hooking one of the creatures lurking in the murky water. Fishermen endured the endless rain, but die-hard anglers embraced it as a challenge.
Service members and patrons arrived with poles and an arsenal of lures and tackle to participate in the first of a series of annual team bass fishing tournaments, hosted at the Gottschalk Marina aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, March 23.
“It’s the first tournament of the year, and we had a pretty good turnout, even with the rain,” said Cameron Brooks, manager of Gottschalk Marina. “Bass usually don’t feed when it rains, and when it’s cold they’ll stay in deeper water to stay warm. But that’s not going to stop them from being caught.”
There were 19 teams that participated in the event, which started at 6 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m. Bass tournaments will continue to Nov. 3, and registration is $70 per person, and $85 on the day of the event.
Anglers are required to have a boat and a team of two to participate in the event. They are also required to follow North Carolina fishing and boating rules and regulation, and need to have saltwater and freshwater fishing license. Fishing was permitted anywhere on the New River, which included all creeks flowing into it.
“Each fisherman has their own little spot that they like to go to,” said Brooks. “We have professional anglers who participated, and everyone has their own tactic to catching a fish, such as constantly changing their bait. But when it comes down to it – it’s all up to the fish.”
The fishermen were limited to using artificial lures. Live or prepared bait was not allowed, with the exception of pork rind. Each team was allowed a total of seven bass, but the fish had to be 14 inches or above.
At the end of the day all the teams returned and weighed-in their catches. A total of 14 fish were caught and weighed-in totaling 29.6 pounds. Prizes were paid to the four teams with the highest total of weighed fish.
The first place team caught three fish with a total weight of 5.24 pounds and won a $753 prize, second place team caught two fish with a total weight of 5.04 pounds and won a $565 prize, third place team caught one fish that weighed-in at 3.87 pounds and won a $376 prize and fourth place team caught two fish with a total weight of 3.85 pounds and won $188.
Teams could also pay $10 to compete for the largest bass and win $180, which was won with a fish that weighed 3.87 pounds.
The fishermen joked, shared tips and talked about where and how they caught their fish. However, those who were short on luck and didn’t catch a single bass kept more to themselves.
“Bass fishing is an art,” said Brooks. “If anyone could do it, then everyone would be competing in tournaments.”
Upcoming tournaments are scheduled for May 3, Sept. 8 and Nov. 3. The rules and regulations are the same for all of the tournaments.
“I see a lot of familiar faces at our tournaments,” said Brooks. “If they didn’t love doing it, they wouldn’t come back. We’re happy to be able to hold the bass tournaments for the service members and (patrons), because it’s a way of giving back to them. Some of these young Marines didn’t even know that the base had a marina. I just hope that they hear about what we have to offer and join in our upcoming tournaments.”
For more information on the bass tournaments, call 451-8307 or 451-8345.