A huge weather front blew through the Midlands in late October, the night before the 18th annual Tours For Tots Tournament on Lake Wateree, spewing hard winds out of the southeast. Although the day of the tournament dawned with good cloud cover, Dearal Rodgers felt the bite would be tough, and it was - for a while.

"My partner, Ray Cox (of Lumberton, N.C.), blasted off out of Clearwater Cove and headed down the lake. At our first stop, I had a fish swirl on a Chatterbait next to a dock, but the fish missed the bait," said Rodgers, a guide and veteran tournament fisherman.

After fishing another 100 yards of bank, the pair decided they needed to look for dirtier water in the backs of creeks and coves, so they high-tailed it 10 miles up the lake. They picked an area on the west side, since the wind had come out of the east the night before.

"Ray caught a fish on a Buckeye Lures buzzbait on our first stop at a boat ramp, and as soon as he got that one in the boat I caught another one on a Hawg Caller spinnerbait off a dock," Rodgers said. "After that we just put the trolling motor down and kept fishing."

They caught more than 15 keepers on the spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and the Chatterbait - all from either boat ramps, docks or grass beds.

"The bites came in groups. After fishing a half-mile, all of a sudden you'd catch two," Rodgers said.

"I kept telling Ray (that) the Chatterbait was going to catch a big one, and about 9 o'clock, I caught a 5.45-pounder on it from the side of a dock. We ended up with 13.60 pounds and also won big fish."

Rodgers and Cox won $825 for first place and big fish, but the big winners were the children who got Christmas presents they would not have had without the Toys for Tots operation conducted by the Shaw Bassers.

The club collected 35 toys and $110 in cash for the Toys for Tots program.

Andy Lake and Phillip Anderson of Saluda weighed in five bass at 13.45 pounds for second place and won $405. Josh McGregor of Timmonsville and Randall Driggers of Turbeville finished third with five bass that weighed 12.10 pounds and won $270.

"Hats off to the Shaw Bassers. I'm already looking forward to next year," Cox said.


Anderson, Berry win Jamey Patrick Benefit

The turnout was good, but the fishing was tough at the 11th annual Jamey Patrick Benefit Bass Tournament Oct. 25 out of Billy Dreher Island State Park on Lake Murray.

Only a few boats weighed in a 5-fish limit, according to Scott Gardner, the tournament director.

Sean Anderson of Saluda and George Berry of Batesburg took first place with 11 pounds even, collecting a check for $1,250. Anderson and Berry caught one fish on a buzzbait; the rest fell for Zoom Ol' Monster worms.

The seven teams who weighed limits included: 2. Darryl Starkey of Columbia and Chris Daves of Little Mountain, 10.63 pounds, $500; 3. Brent Pearson of Johnston and Kevin Lyles of North Augusta, 10.02 pounds, $400; 4. Howard Stephens of Irmo and Mark McCormick of Chapin, 9.65 pounds, $300; 5. Russ Padgett and Cody Cockrell of Saluda, 8.57 pounds, $200; 6. David Schneider and Tim Harmon of Columbia, 6.94 pounds, $150; and 7. Regi Floyd and Herman Vining of Gilbert, 6.93 pounds, $100.

Floyd and Vining donated their check back to the Newberry College endowment fnd in the name of Jamey Patrick.

Derek Schlotterback of Simpsonville and Steve Kimling of Boiling Springs had the big fish at 4.329 pounds, winning $250. Pearson and Lyles won $125 for second big fish at 4.25 pounds.

Tyler Clark of Newberry won $50 for the biggest fish weighed by an angler 16 or younger, at 1.25 pounds. Jerry Micnick and Scott Cogswell won $50 for the smallest 5-fish limit at 6.03 pounds.

Proceeds from the tournament go towards an endowment for the men's basketball program at Newberry, Gardner said.

"Jamey was my best friend. He died when he was 32 years old from a rare virus that affected his heart," he said.

Both Gardner and Patrick played basketball at Newberry, and Patrick served as an assistant coach under Gardner, the athletic director and head boys basketball coach at Newberry Academy.

Gardner said the $700 raised by the tournament will go to the $10,000 endowment. So far, $7,000 has been raised.


Bentley, McCall win Rotary Benefit

Roger Bentley of West Union and Gene McCall of Walhalla teamed up on Nov. 1 to take first place in the Seneca Rotary Bass Tournament on Lake Keowee with a 5-bass limit that weighed 13.32 pounds. The first prize was $1,000, and they won another $180 for the big fish , which weighed 4.1 pounds.

Chris Baxter of Winder, Ga., and Toad Goade of Lawrenceville, Ga., won $500 for finishing second with a limit that weighed 11.92 pounds. Fishing solo, Michael Tidwell of Walhalla finished third with a limit that weighed 11.38 pounds, including second big fish at 3.43 pounds. He won $250. Roy Stuart of Anderson and Jerry Hart of Pendleton finished fourth with a limit that weighed 10.89 pounds, including third big fish at 2.65 pounds. They won $100.


Saluda anglers tie for first place in ABA

With modern scales reading weights to the 100th of a pound, there is little chance of a tie in a fishing tournament these days.

But that's exactly what happened in the American Bass Anglers D-96 contest Nov. 23 on Lake Murray.

Phillip Anderson and Curtis Temples, both of Saluda, weighed in 5-fish limits at exactly 14.60 pounds to share first place. Temples' stringer included the big fish at 5.46 pounds.

Temples and Anderson split first- and second-place prize money and the $90 option money for $462.50 each, and Temples added $95 for big fish.

Bob Lingenfelter of Gilbert finished third with a limit that weighed 13.30 pounds, winning $91.

"The fish seemed to be caught on almost everything - crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jigging spoons, jigs, Shakey Heads and soft plastics," said Phil Morris, the tournament director.


Childers finishes 10th at Bass Weekend Championship

Randy Childers of Anderson weighed 5-fish limits all four days for a total of 29.97 pounds to finish in a tie for 10th place in the Bassmaster Weekend Series National Championship Nov. 12-15 on North Carolina's Lake Norman.

David Williams of Maiden, N.C., won the tournament with better than 40 pounds, gaining a berth in the 2009 Bassmasters Classic that will be held in late February.

Ray Winans, an Santee-Cooper guide, was the only other South Carolina fishermen who finished in the top 30, winding up 29th with 19.18 pounds.

Tony Hudson of Liberty finished 23rd on the co-angler side with a 4-day total of 12.24 pounds.


Jeffords cashes check in Stren Series championship

Steve Jeffords of Sumter was the only South Carolina angler to finish in the money in the Stren Series Championship Nov. 5-8 on Table Rock Lake at Branson, Mo.

In two days, Jefford weighed in nine bass at 21 pounds, 14 ounces. He won $3,750, plus a $1,500 Ranger Boats contingency award.


Murphy joins FLW's National Guard team

The National Guard has added Michael Murphy of Gilbert to its angling team that will compete in FLW Outdoors tournaments in 2009.

Murphy began his career in the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, but he has spent the last two seasons fishing the FLW Tour, FLW Series and the Stren Series.

"I am humbled to joining the National Guard team this year," said Murphy. "I am joining one of the elite teams within FLW Outdoors, and I, along with all my teammates, am proud to represent the more than 350,000 men and women serving their country in the Army National Guard."


Team Fogdon wins striper finale on Lake Murray

Team Fogdon tackled 30 mph winds and high waves to win the Midlands Striper Club's Nov. 15 tournament on Lake Murray - the second win in a row for James "Fogman" Lindler of West Columbia, the team's captain.

Lindler and Don Jackson of Leesville weighed in four stripers at 14 pounds, 13 ounces, the only 4-fish catch of the tournament.

Joby Wetzel of Columbia (Team WWII) weighed in two stripers at 12 pounds, 12 ounces, for second place. Wetzel also had the event's largest striper at 8-13.

Team Catchall, which included Lee Thomas of Leesville, Michael Spires of Chapin, Kreg Frady of Leesville and Adam Ledford of Batesburg, finished third with 10 pounds, 2 ounces.

The tournament was the final team event of 2008. Team Catchall's third-place finish solidified its hold on Team of the Year, edging Team Wildman, the defending champions whose crew includes Donnie and Justin Christopher and Skip Morgan, both of Rock Hill, and Danny Young of Sumter. Team Buckwell - Louis and Lorainne Buckwell of Greenville - finished third in the season standings.



Carolina Anglers Team Tournaments

Lake Murray, Nov. 1, 2008

1. George Berry (Saluda)-Sean Anderson (Batesburg), 5 fish, 15 pounds, 14 ounces, including second big fish, 4. pounds, 12 ounces, $700; 2. Phillip Anderson (Saluda), 5, 13-11, $300; 3. Darryl Starkey (Little Mountain)-Chris Daves (Columbia), 5, 13-4, $150; 4. Joey Sabbagha (Little Mountain)-Gary Metts (Chapin), 7-12, $100. Big Fish: Dean Stribble-Lisa Stribble (Prosperity), 6-2, $140.

Carolina Anglers Team Tournaments Lake Murray, Nov. 8, 2008

1. Sean Anderson (Batesbuug)-George Berry (Saluda), 12-1, including 6-12 big fish, $699; 2. Ryan Raley-Charles Wilkie (Lexington), 11-4, $240; 3. Phillip Anderson-Russ Padgett (Saluda), 10-11, $100; 4. Joey Sabbagha (Little Mountain)- Charlie Metts (Chapin), 10.08; 5. David Hines-Josh Koening (Columbus), 9.12 pounds, including second big fish, 5-2, $51.

Carolina Anglers Team Tournaments Lake Murray, Nov.22, 2008

1. George Berry (Saluda)-Sean Anderson (Batesburg), 5, 15-6, $400; 2. Joey Sabbagha (Little Mountain)-Charlie Metts (Chapin), 15-1, including second big fish, 5-8, $239; 3. Phillip Anderson-Russ Padgett (Saluda), 14-15, 4. Roger Medlock (Sullivan's Island), 5, 13-8, including big fish, 5-11, $191; 5. Ryan Raley-Charles Wilkie (Lexington), 10-8.

Carolina Anglers Team Tournaments Lake Wateree, Nov. 8, 2008

1. Craig Haven-Tim Haven (Lugoff), 5, 14-7, including big fish, 5-14, $833; 2. Andy Owens (Camden), 5, 13-1, $300; 3. Alan Richardson-Timmy Squire (Conway), 5, 10-11, $125. Second big fish: Randal Driggers-Bobby Driggers (Turbeville), 3-11, $57.

Carolina Anglers Team Tournaments Lake Wateree, Nov. 15, 2008

1. Andy Owens (Camden), 5, 12-9, $556; 2. Dearal Rodgers (Camden)-Carlton Thompkins (Conway), 11-13, $195. Big Fishz; Alan Fletcher-Danny Johnson (Hartsville), 4-4, $84.

Carolina Anglers Team Tournaments Lake Wylie, Nov. 1, 2008

1. Bill Grier (Charlotte, N.C.), 5, 12-1, $440; 2. Gene Webster (Gastonia, N.C.), 5, 11-11, $100; 3. Ronald Moss-Mark Adams (Gaffney), 9-11, including big fish, 4-11, $60. Second Big Fish: Nathan Williams- John Isenhower, (Lake Wylie), 4-4, $30.

Carolina Anglers Team Tournaments Lake Wylie, Nov. 22, 2008

1. Brian Holder-Daniel Whitesides (Charlotte), 5, 12-9, $440; 2. Donnis Hanshaw-Todd Moss (Gaffney), 5, 10-11, $80. Big Fish: Parks Jones-Gavin Jones (York), 3-11, $50; Second Big Fish: Gordon Smith-Mike McKinney (Lake Wylie), 3-8, $30.

CS Motorsports Fall Classic Lake Wylie,

Oct. 25, 2008

1. Parks Jones (York)-Daniel Hill (Lake Wylie), 18.65, $4,250; 2. John Schon (Lake Wylie)-Todd Moss (York), 18.26, $1,090; 3. John George (Rock Hill)-Todd Auten (Lake Wylie), 18.08, $600; 4. Jay Adams-Greg Clayton (York), 16.19, $1,500; 5. Nathan Williams-John Isenhour (Lake Wylie), 14.75, $400; and 6. Brett Collins-Van Collins (Ridgeway), 14.72, $350.


American Bass Anglers Couples Division 11 - South Carolina

Feb. 14, Clarks Hill, Dorn; March 7, Lake Murray, Dreher Island; April 11, Greenwood, Greenwood State Park; May 16, Lake Russell, Russell State Park; June 13, Lake Hartwell, Broyles Landing.

Directors: Steven & Heather Broom, 828-586-1670, 828-508-0288 or 828-508-8091.


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: patrob@upthecreek.net.