Fall floating big money for tournament anglers on Lake Wylie

Anglers who catch biggest bass can get hefty payday

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comOctober 15, 2012 

— The king of Lake Wylie won’t be crowned Saturday, Oct. 20. Instead, he’ll have to wait three weeks for a shot at $5,000 and bragging rights.

The inaugural King of the Lake bass tournament series was originally set Oct. 20 for the championship, a five-angler fight for one payout following six qualifying events. Mike Stone, tournament organizer and one of the five remaining, has a son in the Air Force who will be getting married Saturday, causing the championship to be postponed.

“I’ve kind of got to be there,” he said of both obligations.

The tournament will now be held Nov. 11. The extra time adds to the buildup for top finishers Mike Stephens, Mike Brehm, Hunter Hicks, Stone and Ron Farrow.

“The Mikes did pretty well,” Stone said.

Anglers blast off at safe light based on season ranking, but all five start fresh in the finale. Weigh-in will be at 3 p.m. at Lake Wylie Bait & Tackle, series sponsor. King of the Lake began in January and included tournaments in each of the natural and fish spawn seasons, day and night. Anglers could drop one low score in qualifying.

“It was designed to say that guy was the best all year, not just in one tournament,” Stone said.

More than 30 anglers competed, though just a handful competed in every event or all but one. Organizers hope to continue the series based on sponsor interest and grow it into an annual tradition. Stone says the final event could go a long way toward that goal. Five anglers fishing for $5,000 or nothing should be noticed in the fishing community, he said.

“That’s a pretty good payday,” Stone said. “It’s a winner-take-all kind of deal.”

King of the Lake began this year as one of several ways for sponsor Lake Wylie Bait & Tackle to promote new fishing competitions. The shop began a big bass pool in March where, for $5 each month, anglers can weigh in their heaviest catches for a shot at a $100 gift certificate.

The store also helps promote tournaments run by others, including the 29th annual CS Motorsports Fall Classic on Oct. 27 and a Nov. 3-4 bracket tournament with four weigh-ins whittling the field down to a top five. A 40-boat field in that event would pay out a $2,000 top prize.

“We fish tournaments all the time,” said Farrow, organizer of the bracket event. “We just got together and thought we’d come up with a little different way to spend a weekend.”

As Farrow prepares to participate in both events, he’s looking for a better biting situation come November than what anglers are seeing now.

“It’s terrible right now,” he said. “It’s probably not the end of the world that they moved (King of the Lake) back.”

For information on upcoming fishing events, visit lakewyliebaitandtackle.com.

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