Ashley scores in South Carolina
ATHENS, Ala. – Darren K. Ashley backed into victory during the American Bass Anglers Weekend Bass Series South Carolina Division 9 tournament, held March 22, 2014, on Lake Russell.
Running out of the Highway 72 Ramp near Calhoun Falls, S.C., the hometown angler caught five bass weighing 14.37 pounds. He anchored his bag with a 5.30-pound kicker.
“I caught my fish on a backup pattern,” Ashley admitted. “I fished a jig and a spinnerbait all day. I caught eight fish, but half the day, I was trying to force feed fish by doing something else that didn’t work. I didn’t lose any fish. I caught one of my best fish on a jig near a rock. With the spinnerbait, I just ran cuts, covering as much water as possible.”
In second for the boaters, Brian C. Gunn of Savannah, Ga., landed three bass going 13.11 pounds. He anchored his bag with a 6.04-pound kicker that set the tournament lunker standard.
“I caught all my fish shallow, mostly three to four feet of water,” Gunn explained. “I made a long run to a creek that had some good stained water in it. I stayed there most of the day. I slow rolled a spinnerbait around the banks or any cover I could find. A big one hit the spinnerbait right at the side of the boat, but I lost it. That fish would have made the difference.”
Andy Wicker of Pomaria, S.C., took third for the boaters with a five-bass tournament limit going 12.23 pounds. The current division points leader and defending champion earned $504 for third place.
“I fished the Rocky River,” Wicker revealed. “I pulled up to a bridge and caught one on a shaky head and one on a crankbait. I finally started catching some fish by flipping plastics around trees. I only caught six fish all day. I lost one, but it wouldn’t have helped much.”
Finishing fourth, Wade C. Dodgens of Easley, S.C., landed a five-bass limit for 11.41 pounds. Glenn “Punk” G. Gentry Jr. of North Augusta, S.C., rounded out the top five boaters with five bass at 11.34 pounds.
In the Co-Angler Division, David Faulkner of Greenville, S.C., won with three bass going 7.13 pounds. He sealed his victory with a 2.63-pound kicker.
“I used a chatterbait all day,” Faulkner said. “I worked down the banks and in the cuts just fishing parallel to the bank.”
Taking second for the co-anglers, George V. Baucom of Charlotte, N.C., brought in a three-bass division limit for 6.53 pounds including a 3.13-pound kicker.
“I caught one fish on a shaky head and two on a spinnerbait,” Baucom advised. “I only had one other bite. We fished deep with a shaky head and then fished flooded timber with spinnerbaits.”
Mark Osborne of Union, S.C., placed third among the co-anglers with three bass going 6.31 pounds. He anchored his catch with a 2.41-pound kicker.
“We fished the Rocky River,” Osborne said. “I caught most of my fish on lizards. I broke one fish off and lost another one. They were all about the same size.”
In fourth place among the co-anglers, Jason Smith of Richmond Hill, Ga., brought in three bass for 6.15 pounds including a 2.42-pound kicker. Jeff Stidom of Prosperity, S.C., finished in fifth place with three bass at 5.73 pounds. He topped his catch with a 3.27-pound kicker that won the Co-Angler Division big bass title.
“I fished main lake points,” Stidom said. “The big one hit a Carolina rig in eight to 10 feet of water.”
Slated for April 26, 2014, the next divisional tournament will be held on the Santee-Cooper Lakes out of John C. Land III Landing near Summerton, S.C. At the end of the season, the best WBS anglers from across the nation will fish the 2014 Ray Scott Championship, slated for Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala., from Nov. 15-18. The champion boater will receive $100,000 and possibly up to $50,000 in Triton Gold Bonus money. The co-angler champion will win $50,000 and possibly up to $25,000 in Triton Gold Bonus money.
As a special Ray Scott Championship bonus, the Boater Division and Co-Angler Division champions will each receive entry fees and sponsorship into the one of two professional bass fishing series of the angler’s choice. The sponsorship includes entry fees into three professional events and sponsorship support. This sponsorship will put the champion within striking distance of one of two professional bass fishing championships.
At WBS events throughout the season, boater and co-angler competitors may also win hefty bonuses from such sponsors as Triton Boats, Mercury Outboards, Royal Purple, MotorGuide and T-H Marine. See the manufacturer web sites for specific details on how to qualify for these bonuses.
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.