The Balls Creek Bassmasters Fishing Club has been raising money for cancer research since 1986, when Jim Ledbetter started the charity fishing tournament.
That tradition continued March 14, when 140 teams roared out of Queens Landing, trying to win a new Ranger bass boat. It was raining and cool but actually a great fishing day.
The 29th Annual Jim Ledbetter Cast Out Cancer Tournament is named for the television announcer and bass angler who died in 2002.
Jeff Queen and his son, Kristopher, or K.J., from Catawba, weighed a huge bag of bass to take home the grand prize. Their five bass weighed 21.5 pounds, which is very large for Lake Norman.
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Their big largemouth bass was 8.72 pounds and worth $980. Previously, the biggest bass in this event weighed 7.49 pounds. The team also had a 5-pound bass and three spotted bass.
Jeff Queen caught his monster on a crawl worm, he said. “I saw her cruising by and threw right to her, and she hit it hard. She was the biggest bass I (have) caught in Lake Norman.”
K.J., 18, is a freshman at Bethel University in McKenzie, Tenn., and is on a partial scholarship as a member of the school’s fishing team. His sister, a junior, also is on the fishing team.
Their prize was a Ranger Z118 bass boat powered by an Envinrude E-tech 150, with a trailer.
Second place went to Jason Wilson and Kelly Logan, with a solid 19.64 pounds and a check for $2,000. Third was taken by Jerry Goble and Kenneth Hoyle, of Sherrills Ford, with 17.82 pounds. The team also won the senior division and took home a total of $2,100.
The adult-child division was claimed by Thomas Vickers and his son, Zach, 15. The husband-wife top team was Chris Vallant and Angela Landis of Lincolnton.
Several years ago, the tournament aligned with the V Foundation, and all the proceeds go to fund cancer research. The foundation was named for Jim Valvano, N.C. State basketball coach who died from cancer in 1993.
Ranger Boats, Evinrude and Denver Marine have been the big sponsors of this event for the last three years.
Lou Mintzer is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lou? Email him at email@example.com.