Criminger - Gilreath Secure Win on Clark's Hill

May 20, 2023 - McCormick, SC - The 2023 American Couples Series South Carolina Division tournament season, presented by American Bass Anglers, concluded with an exhilarating event. Mike Criminger and Kinzie Gilreath from Bessemer City, NC emerged as the champions of the 10th and final tournament. Taking place near McCormick, SC at Hickory Knobb State Park, the duo showcased their angling prowess by bringing back an impressive five-bass limit weighing 13.68 pounds, including a 4.01-pound kicker. In recognition of their victory, they received a $900 cash prize.

Reflecting on their success, Mike and Kinzie expressed their admiration for the picturesque Clarks Hill lake and their enjoyment of fishing there. Opting to target largemouth bass around points and creeks using topwater baits proved to be a winning strategy. The couple credited their triumph to a combination of favorable conditions, excellent tournament organization by trail directors Tom and Missy, and the support and responsiveness of the American Bass Anglers community.

JB and Tammy Wicker secured the second-place position, weighing in a total of 9.50 pounds for their five-bass limit. Their catch earned them a well-deserved $450 cash prize. The Wickes shared their strategy, explaining that all their fish were caught in Georgia Little River. After encountering a rainstorm on their way to the fishing spot, they persevered and targeted submerged trees in three to four feet of water. Their dedication paid off, and they caught several keepers using shaky head worms and a Carolina rig.

Bob and Debbie Brown claimed third place, with a total weight of 8.48 pounds for their five-bass limit, earning them $338 in prize money. The Browns primarily focused on fishing shakey heads on points and humps in the open water. They also expressed their appreciation for the friendships forged over the years and the lively camaraderie among fellow anglers.

Ryan and Cherie Shoaf secured fourth place, weighing in 8.21 pounds for their five-bass limit, earning them $225 in prize money. Their strategy involved targeting points and blowthroughs, predominantly using crankbaits. They expressed their fondness for the South Carolina Couples trail, highlighting the supportive and family-oriented atmosphere fostered by the directors and participants.

Fifth place was clinched by Billy and Jerri Beam, who brought in a total weight of 8.13 pounds for their five-bass limit. Their achievement earned them $180 in prize money. Additionally, Billy and Jerri serve as the Georgia North Division 2 Couples Directors, and they expressed their gratitude for the warm welcome they consistently receive from Tom, Missy, and all the anglers in the South Carolina Couples division.

The tournament also awarded Mike Criminger with the Men's Biggest Bass prize for his impressive 4.01-pound catch, earning him an additional $150. Tammy Wicker secured the Ladies Biggest Bass prize with her 2.86-pound catch, earning her the same amount.

Top 20 Teams
PL Angler Fish Big Bass Total Points Payout
1 Michael Criminger-Kinzie Gilreath 5 4.01 13.68 200 900
2 J B Wicker-Tammy Wicker 5   9.50 199 450
3 Bob Brown-Deborah Brown 5 3.19 8.48 198 338
4 Ryan Shoaf-Cherie Shoaf 5   8.21 197 225
5 Billy Beam-Jerri Beam 5   8.13 196 180
6 John Mills-Susan Mills 5   8.06 195 158
7 Tim Gamble-Tracy Gamble 5   8.03 194  
8 Jim Collins-Julie Collins 5   7.94 193  
8 Robbie Hoover-Debbie Hoover 5 2.47 7.94 193  
10 Bill Beard-Kathy Beard 4 3.11 7.84 191  
11 Dolton Wiggins-Bertie Wiggins 5   7.78 190  
12 Craig Sahms-Mary Ann Sahms 5   7.73 189  
13 Zach Waddell-Sophie Gibson 5   7.71 188  
14 Harry Johnson-Kimberly Johnson 5   7.44 187  
15 David Sutton-Ashley Sutton 5   7.12 186  
16 Abraham Greyling-Joanne Greyling 5   7.11 185  
17 John Branstetter-Donna Branstetter 5   7.05 184  
18 Darren Taylor-Amy Taylor 5   6.11 183  
18 Robert Young-Sally Young 5 1.90 6.11 183  
20 Chris Seigler-Wanda Seigler 5   5.99 181

The excitement continued to build at the year-end awards banquet of the American Couples Series, as participants gathered to honor the achievements of the 2023 season. This highly anticipated event brought together anglers from all divisions and showcased their dedication to the sport of bass fishing.

One highlight of the evening was the recognition of Billy and Jerri Beam, who claimed the G-Line $100 Bounty for being the highest finisher utilizing a G-Line Lithium Battery to power their trolling motor. Their exceptional performance demonstrated the effectiveness of this innovative equipment.

Acknowledging that not every fishing day yields trophy catches, Berkeley Outdoors, one of the generous sponsors, offered a unique opportunity for couples. Even if they didn't land a massive haul, couples still had a chance to earn a payday by weighing in the smallest 5-fish limit. Daniel and Melissa Brown emerged as the recipients of the Berkeley Outdoors $50 Smallest Limit Award, showcasing their determination and skill.

The year-end awards banquet also celebrated the outstanding accomplishments of individuals throughout the season. Ben and Ashley Sutton were recognized as the Anglers of the Year and received the prestigious AOY Crystal, along with a $200 Kissel Krafts Custom Rod gift certificate and a Lew's reel. Their consistent performance and dedication set them apart as true champions.

Bill Beard's remarkable catch of a 5.99-pound bass on Santee Cooper earned him the Men's Big Bass of the Year title. In recognition of his achievement, Bill was presented with a plaque and an ALX rod $160 gift certificate. Similarly, Martha Goodfellow's impressive 6.35-pound bass caught on Lake Murray earned her the Ladies Big Bass of the Year award. She was honored with a plaque and an ALX rod $160 gift certificate for her remarkable feat.

The banquet also featured drawings for various categories, adding to the excitement of the evening. Couples who referred a new team were entered into the Referral drawing, with a chance to win a Lew's reel. The Hard Luck drawing acknowledged teams that faced challenges during the season, awarding a NOCO GENIUS10 6V/12V 10A Smart Battery Charger and Maintainer valued at $99, generously sponsored by Bryan and Sharon Waddell.

Recognizing the commitment and participation of all couples, the Participation drawing offered an array of prizes. Couples who competed in five or more events were eligible, and the prize pool included items from multiple sponsors. The participants were thrilled to receive hats from Berkeley Outdoors, G-Line Batteries, and Phantom Outdoors, as well as tackle packs from Five Bass Tackle, Yo-Zuri, Berkley Baits, Choo Choo Custom Baits, and Strike King. Additionally, a Lew's spinning combo rod and reel, as well as a Phantom weigh bag from McElveen, added to the excitement. For the teams that participated in five or more events, exclusive sponsor items such as the G-Line 110h battery, Lew's reels, spinning combo, and rods, and the Berkeley Outdoors sponsored $550 in entry fees for the 2024 season were eagerly awaited.

The generous support of sponsors made it possible for each team in attendance to receive at least two valuable sponsor items. The banquet featured a wide array of prizes, including a second Berkeley Outdoors sponsored $550 in entry fees for the 2024 season, Lew's reels and rods, gift certificates from Choo Choo Custom Baits and JC's Outdoors, performance wear from Phantom Outdoors, and tackle packs from Berkley Baits, Choo Choo Custom Baits, Five Bass Tackle, Strike King, and Yo-zuri. The collective generosity of the sponsors contributed to the success and enjoyment of the event.

As the tournament season came to a close, the participants eagerly anticipate the National Championship scheduled for October 25-27, 2023, launching from Leesburg Landing on Weiss Lake.

Awards Photos

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on this event or division please get in touch with your local directors Tom Bancroft at (843) 697-6232 or Missy Bancroft at (843) 697-3441 or visit www.americanbassanglers.com

In the American Couples Series, anglers pair up for a team effort. Most teams consist of a husband and a wife, but that’s not a rule. Teams can consist of a boyfriend and girlfriend combination, a father and daughter duo, or any combination of one male and one female.

The teams compete in several regional or state divisions throughout the year. Once a pair forms a team, however, the two must fish together as a team throughout the season to be eligible to accumulate points and qualify for the annual national championship.

The entry fee for the American Couples Series one-day events is $100, and the top teams are invited to compete in the championship each fall.

American Bass Anglers is sponsored by Caymas Boats, Mercury Marine, T-H Marine, RT Outdoors, Atlas Hydraulic Jackplate, Power Pole, Optima Batteries, HotelPlanner.com, and LurePartsOnline.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, offering each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression.

For more information about American Bass Anglers, the Open Series, the American Fishing Tour, the American Couples Series, the annual Military Team Bass Tournament, and the Top 150 Solo Tour, all presented by Caymas Boats, visit www.americanbassanglers.com or call (256) 232-0406

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© 2018 American Bass Anglers MBAA Since 1975 - All Rights Reserved American Bass Anglers, Inc Logos and other data within this website is the property of American Bass Anglers, Inc and may not be copied or reproduced without express permission of American Bass Anglers, Inc. American Bass Anglers, Inc PO Box 475 Athens, AL 35612 email: call us 256-232-0406. This web site is provided by ABA and resides on a server with 99.99% up time.