Williamson, who works at the Sportsman's Warehouse in Columbia, and his fishing partner, Justin Kijack, an assistant manager at the store, were running late April 5 getting to the National Bass Circuit tournament on Lake Murray. By the time they got to the landing, the other boats had already launched, and the teams were out fishing.
"It was a beautiful morning, and I was in a great mood," Williamson said. "My partner asked me where we were going to fish, and I said, 'I don't know. I haven't practiced, so we'll just go fishing.'"
They started out in the back of a creek, and Williamson caught a nice bass on a buzzbait. Then, Kijack caught a 4-pounder on a jig. In the next creek, Kijack caught another 4-pounder on the jig.
"He was whopping me pretty good from the back of the boat, so about 11:30, I put the buzzbait down and picked up a jig, too," Williamson said.
He flipped the jig into a little pocket, and a big bass picked it up. While he was re-tying, Kijack boated another 4-pounder.
"We needed one more, so we went to fish some cypress trees. I flipped the jig out, and a fish loaded up on it. It was the smallest fish we had at about 3½ pounds. We didn't catch any more quality fish, and we ended up with 21 pounds, 5 ounces and won the NBC tournament," he said.
Williamson and Kijack split the first-place prize of $1,275.
"We were catching post-spawn fish that were lingering in the pockets because the water was dingy and the wind was blowing the bait back into the pocket. They were feeding up to recuperate from being on the bed."
Fast forward one week, and Williamson and Kijack were back on Lake Murray to fish in the annual Kyle Page Tournament. This time, the weather was not so nice, and the day did not turn out near as sunny as the previous Saturday.
"The wind was horrible, gusting 30 to 40 miles per hour. It was extremely tough for us to go flipping," Williamson said.
Going with the waves, Williamson's boat rode over one wave and landed between the next one. The impact was so severe Kijack's glasses were knocked off - but that was the least of their problems.
"The impact broke the hook on the right side of the deck that straps the rods down and I lost two rods. My nice G- Loomis rod was wrapped around the big motor and broken. It knocked all but one of the bolts out of the trolling- motor mount, knocked the bracket loose from the cowl on the outboard motor, and my depth finders were off."
With their equipment scattered or broken, the two decided to come back into Crystal Lake and just go fishing.
"I had to keep one foot on the trolling motor to hold the mount to the boat and run the trolling motor with the other foot," Williamson said.
Fishing under those extreme circumstances, they managed to boat three bass that weighed about 10½ pounds, far out of the money.
But, said Williamson, philosophically, "It was a respectable weight for what we had gone through."
Kyle Page tournament benefits many families
The Mid-State Kyle Page Foundation was formed in 1998 to help the families of children in the Midlands born with medical needs. The tournament is named after Kyle Page, who was born with spina bifida, a birth defect. It is run by the Mid-State Bass Club, whose members include Kyle's father, Joel Page.
The tournament has provided nearly one-half million dollars to 49 families at $10,000 per family.
The top five teams in the tournament were: 1. Wyman Brannon and Jacky Singleton (Chapin), 25.85 pounds, $5,000; 2. Michael Stribble (Newberry) and Jody Self (Greer), 21.8, $3,000; 3. Randy Hall (Batesburg) and Kevin Fulmer (Prosperity), 21.23, $1,000; 4. Chris Daves (Columbia), and Darryl Starkey (Little Mountain), 21.15, $900; and 5.Tom Hamlin (Lizella, Ga.) and Troy Grant (Chapin), 20.18, $800.
The two big-fish awards went to Lee Hurlong of Saluda and Jimmi Jo Matthews of Leesville (8.35 pounds, $1,000), and Robert Godfrey III of Little Mountain and Steve Smith of Chapin (7.04 pounds, $700).
Smith leads SC team to Federation victory
Will Smith of Moncks Corner called his strategy "junk fishing," but his junk produced the winning catch in the BASS Federation Nation Southern Divisional tournament on Santee Cooper on April 4.
Smith weighed in a 3-day total of 63 pounds, 1 ounce, to win top individual honors and lead South Carolina to the team championship. The 12-member team had a cumulative weight of 348 pounds, 14 ounces, more than 10 pounds ahead of runnerup North Carolina, which finished with 338-2.
Smith will join the leaders of the other six state teams in advancing to the BASS Federation Nation Championship, which offers a chance to advance to the 2009 Bassmaster Classic.
"It's tough to win at home, because all these guys have their spots, and it is tough to share them," said Harry Wallace, S.C. BASS Federation Nation president. "This group did get together, though, and shared information, and that is what you get out of that."
Smith said he fished areas he had fished before, but he was just running and gunning and looking for dark spots - stumps in deeper water that he thought other anglers probably were overlooking. Most of his fish were holding two to three feet deep along stumps on points leading into the spawning flats.
"I keyed on the darker targets a little bit away from the bank," said Smith, 37. "If you could find a stump off to the side of some green vegetation, there was usually a fish in it."
A member of the Goose Creek Bass Club, he relied on Texas-rigged junebug and green pumpkin Gambler Flappy Daddy plastic craws and watermelon Zoom Craw worms to catch most of his fish.
When he spotted a dark spot, Smith pitched his lures as close as he could to the stump and let it fall straight down.
"I would shake it a couple of times, and if the fish was there, it was going to eat it," he said.
The top five finishers included: 1.William Smith (Moncks Corner), 15 fish, 63.01 pounds; 2. Larry Cahan (East Palatka, Fla.), 14, 60.01; 3. Ray Winans (Manning), 14, 52.01. 4. Jeff Hager (Alexis, N.C.), 12, 51 pounds; and 5. Phil Bain (Youngsville, N.C.), 15, 49.04 pounds.
Winans had the Purolator Big Bass of the Tournament at 7.15 pounds, winning $1,000.
The South Carolina team included: Smith, Winans, Stanley Gunter (Saluda), 11 fish, 42.10 pounds; Tony Holliday (Piedmont), 12, 34.07; Mitch Driggers (Olanta), 11, 31.09; Scott Platt (Andrews), 7, 22.12; Michael Carson (Gastonia, N.C.), 7, 19 pounds; Carl Wilson (Varnville), 6, 18.04; Justin Lord (Summerville), 5, 17.01; Dustin Powell (Lake City), 8, 17-0; Tony Jackson (Little Mountain), 8, 16.02; and Ted Kyle Bailey (Greer), 6, 14.15.
Moon wins at Hartwell
Travis Moon of Belton won the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Savannah River Division tournament April 7 on Lake Hartwell with a 5-bass catch that weighed 17 pounds, 14 ounces, earning $3,823.
Moon caught his bass on secondary points near Hartwell Dam throwing a Rat-L-Trap and crankbait.
Rounding out the top five boaters were: 2. David Vaughn (Royston, Ga.), 5, 17.03, $2,249; 3. Michael Hughes (Greenville), 5, 17.02, $1,498; 4. Cole Hyder (Landrum), 5, 16.13, $1,050; and 5. Brandon Cobb (Greenwood), 5, 16.03, $900.
Pete Sherbert of Boiling Springs, won the boater big bass award with a 6-pound, 13-ounce fish to earn $645.
Vince Smith of Walhalla won $2,249 as the co-angler champion with five bass that weighed 16.04 pounds. He caught his fish in six to 20 feet of water on a spinnerbait.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers were: 2. David Cunningham (Summerville), 5, 14.07, $1,125; 3. Kevin Landreth (Seneca), 5, 13.04, $752; 4. Keith Thomasson (Abbeville), 5, 13.02 $525; and 5. Nathan Turbyfill (Hendersonville, N.C.), 5, 12.14, $450.
Tommy Kimbrell of Eastanollee, Ga., won $322 for the co-angler big bass, a 7-pounder.
Defoe wins at Santee
Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn., caught a 5-bass limit weighing 24 pounds, 2 ounces on April 19 to win the Stren Series Southeast Division tournament on Santee Cooper, finishing with a 4-day total of 20 bass weighing 93-14. For his victory, Defoe earned $25,000 cash.
Defoe caught his fish by throwing a green pumpkin Berkley Power Bait 7-inch Shaky Worm on 8-pound-test line around trees.
Rounding out the top five were: 2. Greg Pugh (Cullman, Ala.), 20 fish, 84.08 pounds, $7,677, plus $5,000 Ranger bonus; 3. Brett Mitchell (Timmonsville), 20, 81.13, $6,909; 4. Lex Costas (Daniel Island), 18, 79-0, $6,142; and 5. Ken Ellis (Bowman), 20, 74.03, $5,374.
Williamson thrives in BASS 'Texas Two-Step'
Jason Williamson of Aiken had a great time in the BASS Elite Series Lone Star Shootout in April, finishing eighth on Falcon Lake and fifth at Lake Amistad a week later.
At Falcon Lake, he finished with a 4-day total of 20 bass that weighed 118.02 pounds, winning $14,500. Paul Elias of Laurel, Miss., broke all four-day BASS tournament records with 20 bass that weighed 132.08 pounds.
Casey Ashley of Donalds finished 10th at Falcon with 20 fish that weighed 113.03 pounds and won $14,500.
Williamson led in the second day at Lake Amistad tournament but slipped to fifth with a 3-day total of 15 bass that weighed 39.12 pounds. He won $17,000.
OTHER BASS TOURNAMENTS
National Bass Circuit,Cooper River, March 22
1. Edward Cox (Goose Creek) and Cecil Wolfe (Hanahan), 5, 26.18, big bass 6.65 pounds, $480; 2. Bill Holmes and Will Smith (Goose Creek), 5, 18.82, second big fish 4.46 pounds, $220; 3. Jason Reinke (N.Charleston) and Ferris Jennings (Charleston), 5, 10.40; 4. Tom Bancroft (Goose Creek) and Jim McClure (Charleston), 3, 6.88 pounds; and 5. Gary Arnold and George Murdock, 2, 3.81.
National Bass CircuitLake Wateree, March 9
1. Billy McIntosh (Wedgefield), and Gene DuBose (Sumter), 5, 20.57, $1,350; 2. Robert Ross (Dalzell) and Lee Morris, 5, 19.70; big fish 6.47 pounds, $1,265; 3. Randall Driggers (Turbeville) and Josh McGregor (Timmonsville), 5, 19.05, $811; 4. Brett Collins (Ridgeway) and Andy Owens (Camden), 5, 18.40, $419; and 5. Wayne King (Sumter), 5, 17.52, $320.
Carolina Anglers Team TrailLake Murray, March 22
1. Johnny Houser (Bishopville), and Derron Donohoo (Sumter), 5, 19-14, $1,160; 2. Jonathan Sexton and Boyd Duckett (Union), 5, 18-6; big fish, 6-3, $689; 3. Lee Herlong (Leesville) and Jimmy Joe Matthews (Columbia), 5, 17-14, $320; 4. Randall Driggers (Florence), 5, 17-9, $200; and 5. Regi Floyd (Gilbert) and Jeff Kersey (Lexington) 5,15-5, $140.
Carolina Anglers Team TrailLake Murray, April 5
1. Sean Anderson (Saluda) and George Berry (Batesburg), 5, 22-8, second big fish, 8-12, $780; 2. Darryl Starkey (Little Mountain), and Chris Daves (Columbia), 5, 20-11; first big fish, 9-11, $440; 3. Regi Floyd (Gilbert), and Jeff Kersey (Lexington), 5, 20-7, $150; and 4. Ryan Miles (Columbia) and Eddie Bundrick (Chapin), 5, 19-11, $100.
Carolina Anglers Team TrailLake Wateree, March 22
1. Walt Almond (McBee) and Chad Rabon (Camden), 5, 19.11, $1,500; 2. Colon and Butch Williams (Lancaster), 18.09, $500; 3. Joe Hunter and Rick Porter (Lancaster), 5, 18.07; second big fish, 6.01 pounds, $515; 4. Ray Dowey and Joey Outlaw (Camden), 5, 18.03; first big fish, 7-0, $605; 5. Rick Akers (Florence) Wayne Davis, 5, 17.11, $175.
Carolina Anglers Team TrailLake Wateree, March 29
1. David Canupp (Monroe, N.C.) Jason Torres (Waxhaw, N.C.), 5, 21.01, $1,440; 2. Larry Hastings (Matthews, N.C.) and Jack Gilmore (Kannapolis, N.C.), 5, 20.09; second big fish, 5.13, $703; 3. David Bradshaw (Hartsville) and Mike Tolsen (Florence), 5, 18.11, $420; 4. Colon and Butch Williams (Lancaster), 5, 18.08, $300; and 5. William Canzater and Lorenzo Portee (Ridgeway), 5, 16.08, $200. Big fish: Greg Sigmon/Brian Earl, 6.03, $357.
Carolina Anglers Team Trail
Spring Final, Lake Wateree, April 12
1. Walt Almond (McBee) and Chad Rabon (Camden), 5, 18.08; big fish, 6.05 pounds, $4,123; 2. David Ethridge and Mike Catoe (Lancaster), 5, 15.13, $2,160; 3. Calton and Timmy Thompkins (Conway), 5, 15.01, $1,000; 4. Greg Atkinson (Ridgeway), and Ron Catoe (Lugoff), 5, 14.07, $740; and 5. Scott and Angela Williams (York), 5, 14.06, $500.
Carolina Anglers Team TrailLake Wylie, April 12
1. Allen Gamble and Nick Beaver (Shelby, N.C.), 5, 17.96; big fish, 4.87, $772; 2. Louie Hull (Casar, N.C.), and Chuck Montgomery (Blacksburg), 5, 15.61, $230; and 3. Tony and Linda Hatten (Huntersville, N.C.), 5, 14.96; second big fish, 4.81, $138.CRAPPIE TOURNAMENTS
S.C. Crappie Association ClassicLake Wylie, March 29
1. Chris Metts (Prosperity) and Michael Livingston (Little Mountain), 16.45, $1,700; 2. Eddie Cannon (Chapin), 16.31; big fish, 2.34 pounds, $991; 3. Ray Koon and Mike Hufstetler (Chapin), 15.95, $600; 4. Tommy Slice Jr., Columbia, and Tommy Slice Sr. (Chapin), 15.69, second big fish, 2.18, $889; 5. Larry and Ricky Cannon (Chapin), 15.57, $200.
Tournament directors: Send your schedules and your tournament results in the format shown as soon as possible after your tournaments. Be sure to include names, hometowns, number of fish caught, total weight, prize money and big fish information. Email to Pat Robertson: firstname.lastname@example.org.