Lake Norman & Mooresville

N.C. team wins southern division championship

Joshua Queen, Lincolnton, receiving his award from Phillip Sain, Raleigh, for winning the Bass Federation Southern Regional Championship.
Joshua Queen, Lincolnton, receiving his award from Phillip Sain, Raleigh, for winning the Bass Federation Southern Regional Championship. LOU MINTZER

Consistent daily fishing and a three-day total weight of 39.09 pounds by Joshua Queen of Lincolnton led the North Carolina Bass Federation League team to victory in the Bass Federation Southern Division Championship on June 10-12 at Blythe Landing in Cornelius.

The North Carolina team edged out the last year’s champion team from South Carolina, while Queen and his team’s captain, Brian Fritts of Raleigh, won a berth in the TBF Federation National Tournament, which will be held in April 2016.

Other members of the North Carolina team were Mike Edwards of Marshville, Brian Travis of Conover, Jeff Hager of Alexis, Rob Griswold of Lincolnton, David Kuykendall of Fletcher, Gary Abernethy of Skyland, Steve Hilderbran of Mount Holly, Dale Luckey of Charlotte and David Ginther of Stokesdale.

Twelve teams and 84 anglers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee competed in the three-day event. The team won $5,000 for first place. Queen took home $1,000 for the Ranger Cup Bonus.

The fishing was tough, and the limits were small, even for Lake Norman. Topwater baits were working until the sun was up. Shakey-head and other jigs skipped around docks were the favored baits the rest of the days. The spawn season for largemouth and spotted bass is over, and big bass were hard to find.

A total of 952 bass were weighed for a total of 1,844 pounds.

Twelve other anglers – two from the each of the other six states also won a spot in the big show. The anglers had to earn a spot by fishing in many local club tournaments.

The tournament was a three-fold event: Each angler was trying to win the tournament, each team was trying to win the team title, and the top two anglers – a boater and nonboater on each team – were fishing for the spots in the national event.

Each day, the nonboaters, anglers who fish from the back of the boat and do not control it, fished on a different boat, and each day the boats left and returned at a different times to give all the anglers a fair chance.

The tournament was hosted by the North Carolina team. “Lake Norman has become a great fishing lake, but this week was tough,” said Phillip Sain of Rutherfordton, president of the the North Carolina team. “Spawning is over, and the big fish are scattered.”

Tournament director and emcee Randy Sullivan said, “the club members are older, and the reason is that with the development of college and even high school competitive bass fishing, many young anglers are trying to reach the pro levels without working their way up in the local clubs.

More than 600 colleges have bass teams, he said.

Lou Mintzer is a freelance writer, email story ideas to him,