The way Gene Webster is fishing, opposing anglers may want to find him a new hobby.
Webster won the April 21 King of the Lake event, days after the second of consecutive Thursday night tournament trail wins. The same strategy, covering lots of water and deep cranking to catch fish moving out of beds post-spawn, led to all three results, he said.
“It’s been a good two weeks for me,” Webster said.
Webster brought in the big fish at 4.14 pounds and the big bag at 17.18 pounds. Trailing were David Winters at 15.23 pounds and Mike Bremm at 12.14 pounds in the 11-boat field. Though Webster cleared the field by nearly 2 pounds, boats finishing third through ninth weighed in with less than a pound and a half between them.
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“There’s a bunch of people close together,” said Mike Stone, series organizer who finished fifth.
Stone also could’ve been referring to the overall standings, where the top three boats are just three points apart and 11 anglers still have a reasonable shot at the series title using the one-drop format. Without factoring in possible drops, the leaderboard now begins with Mike Brehm, Mike Stone and Mike Stephens.
A total of 30 anglers have participated in King of the Lake, which began in January and culminates with an October championship for the top finishers. The lower turnout at the most recent event could’ve been the result of a competing fundraiser tournament for Shriners Hospitals the same day, also hosted by King of the Lake sponsor Lake Wylie Bait & Tackle. Anglers were allowed to compete in both.
“We’re going to keep it going,” said bait shop co-owner Ken Ponder of the new benefit event that drew 13 boats. “We’re going to grow it and add it to everything else we’re doing (to raise money for Shriners).”
Webster’s win in King of the Lake was his first entry in the series, which organizers also hope will grow next year as anglers acclimate to the format. Webster is a local angler who generally prefers June fishing, though the bites are ahead of schedule with warm weather this year. Meaning, he hopes, even better bites are coming.
“I hope so, but it’s hard to get better than this,” he said.
The next King of the Lake event is May 26. For more information, visit lakewyliebaitandtackle.com.
King of the Lake: April 21
1. Gene Webster, 17.18 lbs.
2. David Winters, 15.23
3. Mike Bremm, 12.14
4. Mike Stevens, 12.12
5. Mike Stone, 11.91
6. Matt Aery, 11.69
7. Hunter Hicks, 11.06
8. Ron Farrow, 10.94
9. James Tuttle, 10.69