Livesay claims $100,000 prize as Bassmaster Elite champ

Lee Livesay landing some of the fish that helped him claim $100,000 as champion of the Bassmaster Elite event on Lake Fork, Texas. (Photo courtesy of BASS)
Lee Livesay landing some of the fish that helped him claim $100,000 as champion of the Bassmaster Elite event on Lake Fork, Texas. (Photo courtesy of BASS)

When pro bass fisherman Lee Livesay moved from his home in Sterlington, Louisiana, to live near big bass factory Lake Fork in Texas, he knew it would help develop increased skills and further his angling career.

It did. This past weekend, Livesay turned in a four-day total of 113 pounds, 11 ounces to win the Simms Bassmaster Elite event at Lake Fork in Quitman, Texas.

Livesay added 27-5 on Semifinal Saturday and entered Championship Sunday with a 3 1/2-pound advantage over Palaniuk. Then his final limit of 25-12 sealed the victory and pushed him past Brandon Palaniuk of Idaho and Gerald Swindle of Alabama — both with 102-2 — by a margin of 11-9.

“This week is the most stressful week ever for me because I want to do good for every single person in this crowd that supports me — friends, family, sponsors, everybody,” Livesay said. “This place is special to a lot of people, but it’s special to me because it’s home. “It’s hard to win on your home lake, but I’m a very blessed man.”

It marked the third Elite title for Livesay, who won at Lake Fork in 2021 and Chickamauga Lake in 2020. In addition to the $100,000 first-place prize, Livesay claimed his second Century Club belt for breaking 100 pounds in a four-day event. His first was for last year’s Lake Fork winning total of 112-5.

Despite intimate Lake Fork knowledge earned through a lifetime of fishing and several years of guiding, Livesay lamented a tough tournament. The lake is down 5 1/2 feet for dam repairs, so many of the spots he fished last year were inaccessible, if not high and dry.

With several of his fishable areas failing to impress, Livesay turned to an unlikely option that ended up producing much of his weight. Located on the west side of the Lake Fork Creek arm, Livesay’s main target comprised a 40-foot by 40-foot high spot reaching into nearby timber in about 13 to 17 feet of water.

Devoid of cover, the spot had a hard bottom where large gizzard shad were congregating. Big bass would periodically pull up to feed and when they did, Livesay could expect aggressive bites.

“I caught every fish today and every one but one yesterday on a spot I found in practice that I never looked at in my life,” Livesay said. “I’ve covered every piece of water on this lake a million times over and that’s what’s crazy. I didn’t catch anything where I normally do.”

He caught many of his bass on a 3/4-ounce 6th Sense Divine Hybrid Jig with a Netbait Paca Craw and a Hog Farmer Magnum Shaky Head with a Netbait C-Mac worm. His biggest fish ate a 5-inch 6th Sense Flutter Spoon.

He became the 14th angler with three Elite wins and the fourth to win Elite events in three consecutive seasons. Livesay, 36, is also the second youngest (behind Palaniuk) to reach his third Elite title.

Louisiana had one other angler finish in the top 10, Derek Hudnall of Denham Springs. His ninth place finish earned him $16,000.

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