New tourney season begins in South Carolina
ATHENS, Ala. – With several major enhancements for the weekend bass angler the 2014 Weekend Bass Series season opens Jan. 18, 2014 on Lake Murray in Columbia, SC.
The South Carolina Division 9 begins its new season at Dreher Island State Park, located at 3677 State Park Road in Prosperity, S.C. The competitors may begin fishing at 7:15 a.m. or safe light. The weigh-in will begin at 3:15 p.m. Registration begins at 4 p.m. Jan. 17, 2014. To register for this tournament, see www.americanbassanglers.com/proddetail.php?prod=803.
To enter, anglers fishing the Boater Division pay $200 with co-anglers paying $100. For a limited time, anglers making package registrations will receive several benefits including a one year free membership and a free Freedom Pass, a prize worth $50 in savings. In addition, anglers will not have to pay processing fees on tournament entries.
Anglers fishing the Boater Division may weigh in up to five bass, each at least 14 inches long. Co-anglers may weigh in up to three bass. Anglers competing in this tournament will need a South Carolina fishing license. For South Carolina fishing license information, call 866-714-3611 or see www.dnr.sc.gov.
In addition to cash prizes for top finishes, boater and co-angler competitors fishing this tournament and WBS events throughout the season may also win hefty bonuses from such sponsors as Triton Boats, Mercury Outboards, Royal Purple, MotorGuide and HT Marine Atlas. See www.americanbassanglers.com and click on “Contingency” for details on how to qualify for these bonuses.
At the end of the season, the best WBS anglers from across the nation will compete in the 2014 Weekend Angler Bass Classic, slated for Nov. 15-18 at Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala. At that tournament, the champion boater will receive $100,000 and up to $105,000 in sponsor bonuses. The co-angler champion will win $50,000 and possibly up to $52,250 in sponsor bonuses.
In addition, the WBS Boater Division season champion will receive a sponsorship and entry fees into one of two professional bass tournament circuits of his or her choice. By entering one of these professional tournament circuits, that person will also enjoy an opportunity to earn a coveted slot in that circuit’s world championship with the chance to possibly win more than a million dollars in prize money and sponsorships.
Dating to the 1920s, Lake Murray covers about 50,000 acres near Columbia, S.C. Fed by the Saluda River, the lake offers anglers more than 525 miles of shorelines. When it reached full pool stage in 1930 with the completion of the Dreher Shoals Dam for hydroelectric power, the lake was the largest man-made reservoir in the world. It stretches about 41 miles long by 14 miles at its widest point.
One of the best bass lakes in the nation, Lake Murray ranks Number 78 on the 2013 list of the top 100 bass waters in the United States. A perennial largemouth bass producer, Lake Murray holds many bass in the 4- to 7-pound range with some breaking into double digits. The lake contains abundant deep-water structure such as humps, ledges, rock piles, brush piles, stump fields and channel drops with some vegetation in a few coves and along the shorelines where bass feed.
The lake typically produces the biggest bass in late winter or early spring. Before the spawn, females swollen with roe frequently hold tight to deep structure such as ledges or rock piles. In the winter, fish slowly. Drag jigs sweetened with soft plastics over the bottom around deep structure or vertically jigging a chrome spoon in deep, cold water. After it hits bottom, reel it up a few feet and bounce it up and down. Run deep-diving crankbaits or slow-roll heavy spinnerbaits parallel to channel drops. As the season progresses, the relatively clear highland reservoir can offer excellent sight fishing opportunities during the spawn.
During a Feb. 16, 2013, tournament on Lake Murray, Larry Martin of Anderson, S.C., won the Boater Division with a five-bass tournament limit weighing 20.90 pounds for a 4.18-pound average. He anchored his bag with an 8.04-pounder that earned the tournament lunker title. He caught his fish on spinnerbaits and a rattling lipless crankbait.
In the Co-Angler Division during that tournament, Brian Tucci of Surfside, S.C., finished with two bass weighing 10.99 pounds for about a 5.50-pound average. His biggest bass weighed 6.95 pounds, enough to take the division lunker honors. Tucci caught his fish in the back of a cove on an Alabama rig tipped with 4-inch swimbaits.
For more information on this tournament, call Billy Benedetti, tournament manager, at 256-230-5632 or ABA at 256-232-0406. On line, see www.americanbassanglers.com.
About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers is committed to providing low cost, close to home tournaments for the weekend angler and at the same time offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers, the Weekend Bass Series, the American Fishing Tour or the American Couples Series, visit www.americanbassanglers.com.