Jul. 21—The 2021 season has ended for the pro fisherman that compete on the Bassmaster Elite Series, and Lee Livesay can look back and say it was his best season yet during his short time on the tour.
Livesay, a guide at Lake Fork who was once a student-athlete at Kilgore High School, really was a rising star in Bassmaster this season. He won one of the biggest events on the tour — the Guaranteed Rate Classic at Lake Fork here in East Texas — and finished sixth in the entire tour in for the angler of the year award.
This past weekend, way up north as a part of the last event of the season, the Farmers Insurance Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River, Livesay got off to a rough start, but typical Lee: he was in place 73 after day one on Thursday, rose quickly to place 28, and fell as low as 40 before finishing at 16 overall. Not a win, but a great comeback, and fine way to end the season.
Livesay's total for the four-day trip to New York for the St. Lawrence was a catch of 57 pounds, six ounces.
Livesay couldn't immediately be reached for this story, but he took to social media not long after his victory.
"We finished the 2021 Bassmaster Elite season strong, with a 16th-place finish at the St. Lawrence River," Livesay wrote, "and most importantly, we finished up in the top six in AOY (Angler of the Year). What an amazing year. I can't thank everyone enough, top to bottom, all of my friends, family, fans and sponsors. Thank you all!"
One of Livesay's fellow fisherman, Chiba, Japan's Taku Ito, got his first win on the tour at the St. Lawrence. Ito took the win with a four-day total of 90 pounds.
Earning $100,000 for his Elite win, Ito anchored his third and fourth days' limits with 6-pound smallmouth, both of which earned $1,000 daily awards for Phoenix Boats Big Bass.
Justin Atkins of Florence, Ala., finished second with 88-12. Atkins tied Gerald Swindle of Guntersville, Ala., for eighth place on Day 1 with 21-6, then added 22-14 and rose to fifth. He caught 23-10 on Day 3 and moved into second before settling at that position with Sunday's limit of 20-14.
Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, finished third with 88-10.
Here's Livesay's overall career numbers after this season has concluded. In 43 tournament appearances, he's got two wins, has 38 finishes in money, 10 top-10 finishes, 17 top-20 finishes and 22 top-30 finishes. He's caught a total weight of 1,510 pounds and 12 ounces, and has $505,356 in career winnings.
He also was presented with a commemorative belt, the Bassmaster Century Belt, for going over the 100-pound mark in winning Lake Fork back in April. Shortly after Livesay won the Lake Fork event, it was named the best fishing lake in the U.S. by Bassmaster Magazine's annual ranking of 100 Best Bass Lakes.
As for the angler of the year award, that honor went to Livesay's friend Seth Feider, from New Market, Minn. Chris Johnston was second with 726 points; Brandon Palaniuk was third (708); Patrick Walters, Livesay's rival in the Lake Fork tournament, was fourth (668); Cory Johnston was fifth, and then Livesay was sixth (664).
Emily Hartley of Bassmaster.com contributed to this story.