When he was growing up in and around Kilgore, all Lee Livesay wanted to do was fish.

He’s getting his chance, and now people are taking notice.

Livesay, a rookie on the Bassmasters Tour, had his best finish ever over the weekend in the 50th Academy Sports & Outdoors Bassmasters Classic, at Lake Guntersville near Birmingham, Ala. – the former Kilgore High School Bulldog finished eighth in a 53-man field.

When final weigh-ins were announced at Birmingham’s Legacy Arena, Livesay was announced as finishing with 52 pounds, 12 ounces in three days, earning him a good purse of $21,000. The winning angler was Lincolnton, N.C.’s Hank Cherry Jr., who finished with 65 pounds, five ounces, and took home a whopper: a $300,000 purse.

What put Cherry Jr. over the top? It was a five-bass, 19-pound, eight-ounce day on Sunday, the event’s final day. Cherry Jr. led the event all three days.

The B.A.S.S. organization, which conducts the Bassmasters Tour, is based in Birmingham – this particular event would be to bass fishing what the Super Bowl is to the NFL, or what the World Series is to Major League Baseball.

Bassmasters canvases the country throughout the year, fishing at premier lakes and boasts that it has the best bass fishermen on the planet. That boast looks pretty accurate on the organization’s website, bassmaster.com.

Livesay played football here at KHS and is a 2002 KHS graduate. In addition, he’s a guide at Lake Fork.

He won’t be the Bassmasters rookie of the year, but Livesay’s eighth-place finish at Lake Guntersville was the best among all the rookie of the year candidates. The 34-year-old is regularly featured on bassmaster.com. Follow him every time he fishes here in the Kilgore News Herald, and on our Facebook page, where videos and photos of Lee’s career are regularly posted.

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