Rhyne won $4,800 for first place, and he also took home the boater division big-bass award of $750 for a 5-pound, 15-ounce largemouth. Rhyne said he caught the majority of his fish on a soft plastic crawdad in mid-lake areas around 6-foot drop-offs.
Rounding out the top five boaters were: 2. Keith Hutto of Evans, Ga., 9 bass, 21 pounds, 1 ounce, $2,824; 3. Paul Hanley of Hull, Ga., 9, 18-12, $1,882; 4. Wesley Story of Clarks Hill, 10, 17-4, $1,318; and 5. Lonnie Fulmer of Batesburg, 8, 17-2, $1,130.
Eric Mora of Evans, Ga., won $2,824 with eight bass that weighed 15-10 to take first place on the co-angler side. He caught his bass fishing a Buckeye Lures Wakebait over grass in the mid-lake area.
The top five co-anglers included: 2. Laura Gober of Pendergrass, Ga., 8, 15-6, $1,412; 3. Don Kohli of Lincolnton, Ga., 6, 13-14, $940; 4. Todd McAlarney of Elberton, Ga., 6, 12-8, $659; and 5. Charles Harbin of Anderson, 7, 10-15, $565.
Jason Woodring of Hendersonville, N.C., caught a 6-pound bass on a Shakey Head rig to take Co-angler big bass honors and win $375.
A week later, Rusty White of Rock Hill took fifth place in the Wal-Mart BFL North Carolina Division Super Tournament on Lake Norman with 10 bass that weighed 19-15, winning $1,238.
Hank Cherry of Maiden, N.C., won the tournament with a 2-day catch of 10 bass that weighed 23-5. He won $5,259 plus a $928 Ranger contingency bonus.
Gunter is top dog at Skeeter Owners event
Stan Gunter of Saluda won the 2-hour Skeeter Bug Shoot Out at the Skeeter Owner's Tournament Series at Lake Murray on Sept. 20, weighing in a limit of three fish that totaled 11.68 pounds.
Skeeter owners from across the Southeast visited Lake Murray for the second event in the Owner's Tournament Series for 2008, breaking the Lake Murray record for the largest tournament held at Dreher Island State Park, with 302 Skeeter boats and 613 anglers participating in the weekend competition.
Gunter won a VIP trip to the 2009 Bassmaster Classic in Shreveport, La., including airfare for to two, ground transportation, four nights lodging at Sam's Town Casino, VIP credentials, a behind-the-scenes tour and $500 cash.
"My fishing partner and I had a blast fishing the Skeeter Owner's Tournament, and the company certainly knows how to treat its owners," Gunter said. "We had a great time both on and off the water."
Roger Jernigan of Dana, N.C., brought in a 6.74-pound bass to win a 2009 Skeeter ZX200 bass boat, powered by a Yamaha VZ200 outboard and an EZ Loader trailer, valued at more than $43,000. Jernigan barely beat out junior angler Shane Cantey of Elgin, who weighed in a 6.72-pound. bass.
Skeeter owners also stepped up for a great cause, donating 270 toys and $500 for the Boat Load of Toys program. The toys were turned over to the Newberry County Shrine Club, which will distribute them to children at the Shriner's Hospital in Greenville.
Sacora wins shortened Santee Weekend event
The high winds that cancelled the first day of the fifth and final tournament of the Bassmaster Weekend Series divisional championship at Santee Cooper on Sept. 7 didn't faze Robby Sacora of Summerville, who won the event with a bag of four bass that weighed a whopping 18.93 pounds.
With Tropical Storm Hanna making her presence known through the night and morning - and more high winds in the forecast - the first day of the event was cancelled for safety reasons.
Sacora's win was worth $5,000, plus an entry into the Southeast Regional Tournament on Georgia's West Point Lake. He added another $1,500 by winning Mercury/Motorguide contingencies, bringing his total pay for the weekend to $6,710.
Sacora ran to several spots on both lakes Marion and Moultrie to land the hefty bag that was anchored by the big bass of the tournament, a 7.83-pound fish. All of his fish came from structure in about 10 feet of water, and they were tricked into into biting a 10-inch Zoom Magnum Worm fished on a Texas rig.
The top five boaters included: 2. David Heatherly of Buffalo, 4, 11.41 pounds, $1,288.50; 3. Greg Wyrick of Hickory, N.C., 4, 11.32 pounds, $858.50; 4. Tommy Driggers Jr. of Olanta, 5, 9.07 pounds, $601.50; and 5. Jason Burroughs of Hodges, 2, 8.58, $516.50.
Co-angler Joel Wood of Union captured the top spot from the back of the boat by landing two bass that weighed 4.84 pounds, taking home $1,059.00 for his efforts. He won an additional $79.50 for the co-angler big bass at 3.98 pounds. He caught his fish on a Shaky Head rig with a black Zoom U-Tail worm.
The remaining top five co-anglers included: 2. Robert Chapman of Montmorenci, 2, 4.62 pounds, $529.50; 3. Barry Sowers of West Columbia, 2, 4.50 pounds, $352.50; 4. Steve Meyer of Lexington, 1, 3.81 pounds, $247.50; and 5. Christopher Malone of West Columbia, 3, 3.48 pounds.
Fulmer wins American Fishing Tour on Murray
Kevin Fulmer of Prosperity worked soft-plastic jerkbaits and swim baits on schooling fish in the middle part of the lake to land a 5-bass limit that weighed 18.17 pounds and win the fourth tournament of the 2009 American Fishing Tour season on Lake Murray.
Fulmer, who won $598 for first place, also earned big-fish honors with a 6.38-pound largemouth.
Rounding out the top five were: 2. Mark McCormick of Chapin, 18.03 pounds; 3. Sean Anderson of Saluda, 12.95 pounds; 4. Andy Lake of Saluda, 11.97 pounds; and 5. Andrew L. Lake of Saluda, 10.65 pounds.
American Bass Anglers consolidate divisions
The American Bass Anglers organization has announced that four divisions will be combined in the 2009 Bassmaster Weekend Series, including two divisions in South Carolina.
The organization said that consolidation will allow more anglers to become involved in the new divisions as they work toward the goal of qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic.
Mike Whatley, tournament manager for South Carolina, said the 2009 schedules were created with an emphasis on reducing travel for the weekend angler.
"Looking at the economy and making that area more accessible to our anglers, we hope that by consolidating the two divisions, it would cut down on the travel those anglers were having to make, as well as from an economic standpoint on the business side as well," Whatley said.
ABA will continue to offer the $5,000 boater first place guaranteed at each divisional qualifying event. This guarantee payout is over and above the regular payout. ABA will be announcing very soon a new "Angler of the Year" program for the Bassmaster Weekend Series.
The South Carolina Division 7 schedule for 2009 includes: Feb. 7, Lake Murray, Dreher Island State Park; March 7, Clarks Hill Reservoir, Dorn Sport Fishing Facility; March 28, Santee Cooper, John C. Land III Landing; July 11, Lake Hartwell, Portman Marina; and Sept. 12-13, Lake Hartwell, Portman Marina.
All SC B.A.I.T. tourneys will be at Lake Keowee
Low water levels caused by severe drought over the past several years has moved the South Carolina B.A.I.T. Division I to put all its tournaments for the current season on one lake that has maintained solid water levels: Keowee.
"The main reason is that with the current drought conditions in the area, Keowee is the only lake we can be assured of having ramps open for access," said Tripp Thompson, the tournament director, who said all events will be held out of South Cove, and there will be no areas off-limits.
"That's right, fish the 'hot hole,' fish the dam, and even fish the skimmer wall. Nothing is off limits," he said.
S.C. BAIT tournaments will be held Nov. 15, Dec. 6, Jan. 17, Feb. 14, March 7 and April 11, with a Wild Card Tournament May 22.
For information, contact Thompson at 864-940-4485 or 864-444-1633, or Gary Rogers at 864-710-2461.
National Bass Circuit Pro Series Southern Division
Lake Wateree, Sept. 14, 2008
1. Steve Phillips, 5 bass, 14.42 pounds, including second big fish at 4.61 pounds, $844; 2. Jay Keith (Camden)-Donald Hinson (Lugoff), 5, 14.35 pounds, $586; 3. Brett Collins (Ridgeway)-Andy Owens (Camden), 5, 12.19 pounds; 4. Scott Peavy (Ridgeway)-Lee Royson (Blythewood), 5, 11.43 pounds, including big fish at 5.73 pounds, $110; and 5. Mark McDaniel (Forest City, N.C.)-Albert McDaniel (Rutherfordton, N.C.), 5, 10.71 pounds.
TBF of South Carolina
Lake Wateree, Sept. 13, 2008
Anglers: 1. Pete Brantley (Gaston), 5, 11.67 pounds, $892, plus big fish, 4.12 pounds, $100; 2. Nelson Walker (Manning), 5, 8.66 pounds, $535; 3. Bob Lingenfelter (Gilbert), 5, 8.53 pounds, $385; and Herman Vining (Gilbert) second big fish, 3.75 pounds, $70.
Co-anglers: 1. Tiawuan Phillips (Irmo), 5, 8.92 pounds, $412, plus big fish, 2.56 pounds, $100; 2. Tommy Webster (Pickens), 5, 6.72 pounds, $247; 3. Tommy Lindler (Lexington), 4, 5.41 pounds, $166; and George Upton (Irmo), second big fish, 1.96 pounds, $50.
American Bass Anglers
Clarks Hill, Sept. 13-14, 2008
1. Keith Hutto (Evans, Ga.), 8 fish, 21.39 pounds, including big fish at 5.09 pounds; 2. Jeff Coble (Manson, N.C.), 10, 15.81 pounds; 3. Bobby Stanfill (Greenwood), 10, 14.53 pounds; 4. Stanley Earl Harkins (Asheville, N.C.), 7, 9.53 pounds; and 5. Jerry Pelfrey (Laurens), 6, 9.2 pounds.
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: email@example.com.