Like father, like son. MCL Construction employees Ralph Leonard and AJ Leonard share a love for construction and, outside of work, competitive fishing.
AJ is a laborer with MCL and his recent performance at the state fishing tournament at Truman Lake in Missouri on September 26th and 27th landed him a spot on the Nebraska Bass Federation Regional Team. He will be one of ten in his category from the state competing against nine other states in the region.
AJ competes in the non-boater category meaning he does all his fishing from the back of the boat. On day one of the state tournament, he took his spot in the boat with seven different fishing rods. AJ says he uses each one to “test the waters.” Each rod is prepared differently or has varying lures to attract fish; however, per regulation, you can only have one rod in the water at a time.
“Tournament fishing is all plastic lures; you can’t use any live bait,” AJ said. “I have about seven rods on the boat at a time. Once I dial in what is working and what is not, I narrow it down and usually end up with about two to three rods by the end of the tournament.”
Day one didn’t go as planned. AJ ended up reeling in one 2-pound bass and was sinking on the leader board.
“You have a pretty good idea on how you think fish are going to act but come tournament day, it can be a different ball game,” said AJ. “Lake temperature and how much fishing has been happening that day can play into how well you are going to do on any given day.”
Day two was a different story. Again, AJ loaded up his rods and cast out hoping for the best. That day, he caught five fish totaling almost 15 pounds and finished first in the non-boater category and 6th overall out of 111 competitors. He also placed first for best overall two-day weight. He was selected to compete on the regional team.
AJ credits his success and love for fishing to his father, the man responsible for getting him hooked on it. He says his dad jokes about bringing him on the boat while he fished when AJ was just a few weeks old.
Their long-time hobby turned into competitive fishing when AJ joined his father in the Midwest Bass Anglers Fishing Club. The team competes in one tournament a month together to get ready for state.
When they are not competing, AJ just likes to be on the water spending quality time with his family. When given the option, he will typically choose to fish with a baitcaster rod and five-inch senko stink bait. His tackle box necessities are a good pair of needle-nose pliers, fingernail clippers to trim his line, and a scented spray for plastic bait called Bang Garlic.
AJ will move on to compete in the Regional Championship Tournament as a non-boater. The location and date have not been determined.
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