HENDERSON, N.C. – To say fishing on Kerr Lake during the first EverStart Northern Division event of the year was tough would be putting it lightly. Out of 101 pros during the first day of competition, only 50 five-bass limits were weighed in. On the final day only six limits of bass were brought to the scales.
The man who had dominated the first two days of the event managed to slip today, but that didn’t matter. Chris Carmell of Moyock, N.C., brought in three bass that weighed a total of 5 pounds, 2 ounces. Luckily he had put enough distance between himself and the other anglers on the first two days of competition. He ended up with a three-day total weight of 36 pounds, 1 ounce which gave him the win by only 7 ounces.
“I was feeling pretty confident coming into today,” said Carmell. “I had caught two nice limits early on the first two days, and that is kind of what I expected to do today. But when I pulled up to my starting spot I realized that the fish were gone. I knew then that I would have to run around and fish history basically, places I knew I could catch keepers.”
Carmell switched up his game plan and though he only caught a few fish, it showed having history on this lake was a life saver.
“I figured I needed to catch about 8 pounds today. And when I couldn’t catch that I never lost my cool or focus on the water. I just stayed patient and luckily the bite was tough for some of the other guys too.”
Coming into this event Carmell felt like the lake owed him after he suffered a loss back in 2005 during the BFL regional event on Kerr, which he lost by ounces. Today’s win was a much need weight of his shoulders.
The first two days he relied heavily on a 10-inch Reaction Innovation Big Unit in watermelon/green pumpkin color. A Dave’s Tournament Tackle Jig also helped put a few fish in the boat for Carmell. Today, however, he had to switch it up and downsize. His baits of choice today were a 3/8-ounce football head jig with a green pumpkin Yamamoto Senko. He also mixed in a Carolina rig that he pulled a Zoom Baby Brush Hog on, also green pumpkin in color.
Carmell currently leads the BFL Shenandoah Division in points for the year and this victory on Kerr Lake is one more reason to keep him smiling.
“I leave Wednesday for the next BFL on the Potomac River and I couldn’t be more excited. This has been an exceptional year for me so far. And you know, when you are on a roll you might as well roll, cause it’s not gonna last forever.”
Gainey slips into second
Ranger pro Nick Gainey was one of few anglers who managed to stay consistent in his weights this week. On day one he only brought four fish to the scales for a total of 10 pounds even. He followed that up with a day two weight of 12 pounds, 15 ounces to put him in third. Today the Charleston, S.C., native weighed an impressive 12 pounds, 12 ounces take over second place. His three-day total was 35-11, just ounces shy of a win.
“This week I definitely was the definition of insanity, I did the same thing over and over expecting different results,” said the Ranger pro.
“In practice I fished a few different creeks and marked different laydowns that I got bites on. During the tournament I fished the same creek mostly over and over and over.”
To tackle these creeks, Gainey threw a Owner shaky head rigged with a Zoom Trick Worm. “Color didn’t make a difference as long as it was green pumpkin, watermelon, red or a combination,” Gainey chuckled. He switched weights between 1/8 and a 3/16 ounce depending on depth and wind.
“I have no regrets about this tournament, I fished as hard as I could. Really, I went into today with the mindset I was fishing for second. I caught a 4-pounder in the first 10 minutes today. Then shortly after that I caught a 3-pounder. It really helped boost my confidence, unfortunately, I had to grind it out to finish my limit.”
Gainey now has his sights set on winning the points race this year for the EverStart Northern Division. Second place on Kerr Lake has given him the confidence to carry throughout the rest of the season.
“I’m not that good, I’m not that lucky, but I sure am blessed.”
Gainey walked away with a check worth over $9,000 in prize money.
Lambeth drops to third
Thomasville, N.C., pro George Lambeth fished an excellent tournament. He averaged around 11 pounds per day and stayed in the top 10 from the start. Lambeth finished the event with a total weight of 34 pounds, 13 ounces.
“I focused on 12 feet of water the whole time,” said Lambeth. “I had one really good point which is usually kind of a community hole but not many guys fished it. I managed to catch limits early every day which helped take the pressure off. When I started there today I got no bites and had to start moving to find new fish.
“I ran to another ‘community’ hole that also didn’t have anyone on it and caught some nice fish. I actually caught two fish on my crankbait at the same time today which was pretty cool.”
Lambeth threw one bait the entire week. That was a modified Rapala DT-10 body with a DT-16 bill on it. The bait was customized by a man named Calvin Johnson. He matched that with 10-pound Shooter Sunline and a 6-foot, 10-inch Gator crankbait rod.
“I was trying to get a reaction bite. I would grind the bait into that bottom and when I would run into something – wood or rocks- I would stop the bait and that is when I got my bites. The other big part of my presentation was making long cast.”
For his efforts, Lambeth took home a check for over $7,600.
Divito holds onto fourth
To make a top-10 cut on your first time fishing an EverStart event is one thing. But to finish in the top five is even more amazing. That is exactly what Trafford, Pa., pro Brian Divito did this week with a three-day total weight of 33 pounds, 3 ounces that put him in fourth place.
Throughout the week Divito adjusted to the conditions that were given to him. He started on a deep pattern, but when that produced only 5 pounds, 5 ounces on day one he knew he had to change. Divito decided to go shallow and fish his strength. That change-up had him sitting in fourth place after day two. It also helped him land one of the biggest bags of the tournament – a 16 pound, 8 ounce sack of fish.
“Today I went back to the same creek that I caught my fish in yesterday,” said the Pennsylvania native. “The fish weren’t really there today so my co-angler and I made a move to a point. In about the first 10 minutes on the point I caught my biggest fish of the day on a Rapala DT series crankbait.”
He fished mostly a Strike King Coffee Tube and a homemade jig during the event. The tube was green pumpkin and the jig he made to resemble a crawfish he saw under a rock near his campsite. It was mostly green pumpkin with a few strands of orange in it. He tipped the jig with a summer craw colored creature bait. When he did throw the Rapala crank it was a perch color.
“I just kept my head down and kept pounding the bank today to catch what I did. I caught a fish off of a tree in the last three minutes, it happens to be the same tree I did the same thing on yesterday.
“I wanted to cash a check this week, that’s really what my goal was,” Divito said.
Despite his four fish he brought to the scales it was still good enough to bring home a check worth over$6,800.
Powroznik rallies up to fifth
After traveling straight from the Walmart FLW Tour on Kentucky Lake last weekend, Snapple pro Jacob Powroznik came straight to Kerr Lake. He barely got a day of practice on the lake before the first day of competition.
The Prince George, Va., pro managed to put a pattern together in the final hour of competition and ended the day in 23rd place. He stuck to his pattern on day two and brought in 11 pounds, 2 ounces, good enough to jump him into ninth place.
Powroznik kept up with his deep pattern and knowledge of the lake to put together his best bag of the tournament – 12 pounds, 4 ounces – that brought him up the leaderboard into fifth place.
“I like fishing here this time of year,” said the Snapple pro. “The fish can really get grouped up deep, but this cold front came through and messed them up. I just wish I would have made the adjustment I did sooner.”
Powroznik focused on isolated rocks in deeper water. He threw a Texas-rigged Berkley 12-inch power worm. When he realized that the cold front made the fish suspend more, that is when he made the change to a drop-shot. He would wait until he could mark the fish on his sonar and then drop down to them. A Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper worm was the primary bait on his drop-shot.
For his efforts, Powroznik took home a check for over $6,100.
Rest of the Best
Rounding out the top-10 pro finalists:
6th: Chris Johnston of Peterborough, Ontario, 31-12
7th: Tom Wilkinson of Oxford, N.C., 29-7
8th: Bill Chapman of Salt Rock, W.Va., 29-1
9th: Calvin Young of Prince George, Va., 28-5
10th: Joseph Wood of Westport, Mass., 22-15
For a complete list of results click here.
The next EverStart Series Northern Division tournament will be July 19-21 at Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, N.Y. The City of Plattsburgh will host the event.