Steve Gardner

After almost two years of elimination tournaments. North Carolina’s top TBF (The Bass Federation) anglers squared off for what may have been NC’s (weather wise) toughest TBF tournament in history.

The tournament taking place while hurricane Joaquin pummeled North Carolina’s South Carolina’s and Virginia’s country sides dropping literally trillions of gallons of water into their lakes and rivers.

The contestants at times were battling 7 to 10 inches of rain per day, wind gusts in the 30+ mph ranges, 3 and 4 foot waves. On Kerr Lake’s 50,000 acres of water whose level rose over 5 ft. in four days.

It was as much a test of endurance as it was a fishing tournament. It was so rough that some of the contestants forfeited the event after day one refusing to go back out the second day.

But in the end 12 weather worn contestants qualified to become the State’s twelve man team. They will go on to compete against 6 other state’s 12 man teams in the TBF’s multi state Southern Divisional tournament, on their quest to qualify for the chance to compete for Bass Fishing’s top prize, FLW’s Forest Wood Cup championship bass tournament.

In the Midst of this battle another historic event was taking place. To our knowledge, for the first time in NC TBF history, 3 contestants from the same club (Sandhills Bass Masters of Moore County) qualified for the State team.

Two of which use Vibronics Custom Rods featuring Batson Components.
Steve Gardner, member of Batson Enterprises “Team RainShadow”, custom rod builder, and owner of Vibronics custom rods. Said that he had the chance to blow the tournament wide open the first day, but lost and missed several key fish including one in the six pound range and another close to 9 lbs. ending up the day with only 2 fish.

Steve Gardner Switches to his Vibronics Custom Rod Using RainShadow Eternity Rod Blank and Catapults to Top 10 TBF Finish!He started the tournament using a rod that he had built on an Alstar blank several years back. Using it to throw heavy spinner baits long distances, but said that after losing so many fish on it the first day he switched the bait over to a rod he built this year with Batson Enterprises new Eternity 2 ETEC76MH. Blank.

Gardner said the difference was absolutely amazing! Fishing in the wind with 3-4 ft waves it was almost impossible to feel what was going on with the bait that first day. “I thought it was due to the wind and waves. But after switching to the Batson blank before the start of the second day. I realized that what I was NOT feeling was due to the difference in the quality of the blanks.”

The second day (in the same weather conditions) I felt everything, every rock, every grass edge, every stump, and most importantly EVERY SINGLE BITE and never lost or missed another fish.

That blank cast further, had the sensitivity to feel what was going on, and the back bone to drive the hooks home.

Weighing in a limit on day 2, all of which but one were caught with a spinner bait using the Vibronics rod with Eternity2 blank. Catapulted Gardner from 19th to 8th place, Troy Short also part of the Vibronics Custom Rod team came in 6th, and the other club member Justin McBrayer finished 2nd.