Faircloth Wins Burlington Bash


Carolina Kayak Anglers’ 2024 season began with a throwback event: the Burlington Bash. The tournament was invented by former director Larry Anderson, prior to his move to Tennessee. Anglers love fishing the Haw River basin’s fertile (and overlooked) lakes, and when announcing a smaller CKA trail footprint for 2024, it was the perfect fit.

The weather leading up to the event was also perfect – almost. At mid-week, it seemed like the event would produce a wild bite and big limits. While it produced a few of the latter, a Friday rain hung around the area a bit longer than predicted.

CKA anglers Joey Sullivan, Cory Dreyer and Drew Blair at the check-in. Photo by Hank Veggian.

High pressure and blue bird skies followed the rain, and CKA competitors launched on a beautiful morning. Weather – it’s the wild card in every tournament. The Burlington Bash presented by Faircloth Wildlife Removal and Powered by Dakota Lithium batteries definitely matched expectations, even if the bite was a bit slower than predicted.

However, there were only 16 limits submitted in a field of 71 competitors. Additionally, 13 registered anglers did not submit a scoreable fish. In between, there were 42 anglers who caught something, and something was sometimes pretty good. As is typical of early season bites, many large bass were caught, quality can outnumber quantity. In all, thirteen bass of 20” or longer were submitted, meaning nearly one-fifth of the field landed a big one.

But in tournament fishing, anglers have to pair quality with quantity. When it was over, only a handful – three to be exact – broke the ninety-inch mark. One of them also added his name to the CKA hall of Champions.

And they each fished a different lake – and that’s the reason why the Burlington Bash is so popular with anglers.

Three Lakes, Three Patterns

Three lakes contributed to the top three places. Teng Vue fished one of them with a swimbait, targeting suspended bass. He finished third overall with 94.5”.

Dontrell Sullivan worked his lake with a flat-side crankbait – the famed “Frittside”, catching his fish along a bank and on deep points. His 21.50”, which tied for biggest, was caught on a main lake point. The Old Town team member told CKA “ That big one was a 10” cull.” It was the fish that briefly gave him the overall lead, and anchored his second place bag of 98”.

Event champ Justin Faircloth fished a third lake, and landed his fish primarily on a bladed jig bite and a crankbait. “The water where I fished was dirty and shallow. It was 68 degrees, and I caught them primarily around logs,” he told CKA.

Suspended bass, points and shallow bites. Three lakes, three patterns.

That’s the Burlington Bash.

To find out which lakes the anglers fished, look up their social media profiles and give them a follow, too!

Big Bass

CKA paid out $550 on average for big bass in 2023. If the current rate continues, 2024 will break that club record. Winning a three way tie-breaker with the earliest fish caught, Virginia angler Sean Boorsma took home the big bass prize of $710 with a 21.50”. For the time being, his 21.50” has the early lead for the annual Duff Digital marketing Big Bass prize, to be awarded at the end of the season.

Lessons Learned

Most mistakes are made at the start of the year, when anglers who have not been fishing for a few months make mental errors. CKA has always told anglers that a mistake is a learning opportunity. We all make errors, and when we do it’s important to have them explained so anglers won’t repeat them, and also explain the rules to other competitors.

CKA directors review rules at Captains Meetings. We ask anglers to do the same every season. Whether ou are new to CKA and kayak fishing, or a seasoned veteran of the sport, please review CKA Tournament Rules here: https://www.carolinakayakanglers.com/?page_id=38

Additional Info

Click here for complete standings from the 2024 Burlington Bash.

Up next: High Rock Lake on April 20th. Register here: https://app.fishingchaos.com/tournament/qWQOOnUq0mJX5yeMIMkJ

CKA’s 2024 Season is brought to you by Dakota Lithium Batteries

Click here to see the full 2024 schedule.

Click here to become a member.

All content and photos © Carolina Kayak Anglers LLC, 2024.

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