Other Sports

Santee-Cooper yields big catch in bass tourney

Gracen Melhorn, 9, with a 10-pound striped bass he caught Saturday while fishing at Lake Wateree with his father, Dieter. Gracen is a third-grader, home-schooled in Cramerton by his mom, Tonia. The Melhorns boated a limit of stripers while trolling near docks with live gizzard shad under planer boards.
Gracen Melhorn, 9, with a 10-pound striped bass he caught Saturday while fishing at Lake Wateree with his father, Dieter. Gracen is a third-grader, home-schooled in Cramerton by his mom, Tonia. The Melhorns boated a limit of stripers while trolling near docks with live gizzard shad under planer boards. Photo courtesy of Dieter Melhorn

Two fishermen from the Charleston/Summerville area teamed Saturday to score an outstanding catch in a Carolinas Bass Challenge Series tournament on the Santee-Cooper lakes.

Bryan Cook and Steve Harmon weighed in five largemouth scaling 32.5 pounds for a victory worth $10,500. Included was a bass of 9.53 pounds, the largest single fish in an event that drew 130 two-person teams to the big S.C. Lowcountry reservoirs, Lakes Marion and Moultrie.

“I’d guess that winning weight ranks pretty high among the best ever for a one-day tournament in the Carolinas,” said Series director Brett Collins of Ridgeway, S.C.

Collins said Cook and Harmon caught their bass while casting jigs and spinnerbaits to shallow, stained water around the bases of cypress trees in Moultrie.

“Being from pretty nearby, those fellows fish those waters pretty often and know them well,” Collins said. “I’m sure local knowledge helped them a lot.”

Mike Watson and Craig McFadden finished second with 29.60 pounds and won $8,000. Ray Walsh and Mark Deshanes took third with 29.32 pounds, good for $2,500.

The top seven teams had bass weighing over 25 pounds and 13 more duos had weights over 20 pounds.

The tournament produced three largemouth in excess of nine pounds, three more in the 8-pound range. “And we weighed a bunch of 7-pounders,” said Collins. “It was just an incredible overall catch.” Tom Higgins

Briefly

▪  The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has scheduled a series of five public hearings across the state for hunters’ comments on proposed temporary rules for bear season. Included is a 7 p.m. meeting in Morganton on April 6 at Leviton Auditorium at Western Piedmont Community College, 1001 Burkemont Ave. The focus will be on potentially extending the time that bears can be taken with the aid of unprocessed food as bait.

▪  The outlook for the upcoming wild turkey season in South Carolina is only fair, according to a high ranking wildlife biologist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Earl Ruth, the agency’s deer and wild turkey program coordinnator, said this week his prediction is based on generally poor reproduction among the wily birds.

Catches of the week

▪  Two 8-pound largemouth bass and a 6-pounder at Union County’s Lake Monroe by local angler Chris Whitley. A day later he caught largemouth of 7-4 and 6-12 at nearby Lake Twitty.

▪  Five largemouth weighing a total 21.6 pounds at Lake Monroe by local fisherman Mike Love.

▪  Five largemouth weighing a combined 18 pounds at Lake Monroe by Todd and Justin Moore, both of Monroe.

▪  Blue catfish of 40, 38, 36 and 25 pounds at Badin Lake by Robert Tomasek of Charlotte.

▪  A 34-pound flathead catfish at Lake Wylie by Mark Follett of Charlotte.

▪  A 45-inch red drum in the Ocracoke Island surf by Daphne Bennink.

▪  A 5-pound speckled trout in backwaters near Ocean Isle by local angler Clay Morphis.

▪  Two stripers weighing 56 pounds by a Brian Baire-led team to win an Open Striped Bass Tournament Trail event Saturday at Lake Murray, earning $10,100. Second through fourth were teams led by Dwayne Brandon (30.26 pounds, $4,000), Jody Powell (28 pounds, $3,000) and Mike Dillon (26 pounds, $2,500). Forty-five teams competed.

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