Three teams entered the final National Bass West Tournament of the season with a chance at finishing atop the season long points race, and claiming the “Anglers of the Year” title for the 2015 season. Two-time defending champions Tom Leedom and Keith Gunsauls trailed leaders Martin Keppeler and William Larson by 6 points while 2012 series champions Kevin Norling and Marco Fenelli were only 1 point from the top spot.
With each point representing a single finishing position, a couple ounces could have potentially decided who would be crowned with the title.
With Kevin Norling out of town, Fenelli was left with a tough task of fishing alone in a team tournament and trying to keep Leedom and Gunsauls behind, and out performing Keppeler and Larson by at least 2 positions.
The tournament featured 24 teams, and with El Capitan kicking out a ton of 2 pound cookie cutter fish, the Angler of the Year title would be decided by less than a pound. 7th through 18th in the standings was separated by only 1.25 pounds, but represented a difference in 11 points.
Ultimately, Leedom and Gunsauls brought in a 5 bass limit weighing 12.44 pounds to finish 6th, getting ahead of that log jam of 2 pound clones and beating the 7th place team by over a pound.
Keppeler and Larson had a 5 bass limit totaling 10.17 pounds, which put them at the end of that log jam and giving Leedom and Gunsauls an 11 point advantage in the event and a 7 point cushion in the season standings.
That left Fenelli, who was able to get 5 keepers and finish toward the top end of that aforementioned log jam with 10.89 pounds and an 11th place finish. But 11th wasn’t enough, and Leedom and Gunsauls had a 2 point win in the season long points race for “Angler of the Year.”
The tournament was won by Bob Palashewski and Dennis Kolender who had a 16.23 pound limit anchored by a 5.41 pound fish. Right behind them with 16.04 pounds was Mike McLernon and Jerry Hobart who had the biggest single bass of the contest, a 7.59 pounder.
Ted Holverson and George Pernicano rounded out the top 3 with a 14.03 pound limit.
The top local NBW teams will be invited to compete against the top teams from other western regions at the National Bass West Lake Havasu Classic in October. Tom Leedom and Kevin Norling partnered up to win the National Bass West Lake Havasu Open this last March – so either of those guys will have a shot to win the Classic with their regular team partners this fall.